Attendance and Punctuality

At Whitby Heath Primary School we expect 100% attendance from our whole school community: pupils, teachers and support staff too. However, some absences can't be avoided, such as: serious illnesses or unavoidable hospital appointments. We may ask you to provide evidence of upcoming medical appointments or treatments.

The Attendance Team/Pastoral Team, along with help from the school admin, will be focusing on supporting you to ensure that your child's attendance is as high as possible this could mean:

* Increased attendance meetings in school with parents to track attendance and make improvements provide support.

* Local Authority Attendance Officer meetings to offer support to improve attendance and avoid Fast Track Prosecution.

* Home visits to provide support and strategies to improve attendance.

* School nurse/health visitor support.

* Early Help Assessments where needed/applicable.


Celebrating Good Attendance
We encourage good attendance in school. For example, 100% certificates are awarded to children who have had no absences at the end of each half term. We celebrate children who have 100% attendance for the entire year by presenting them with a certificate and a special reward. As well as celebrating those children who have achieved 96%+ with a certifcate and reward at the end of the year. 

We also celebrate weekly class winners during our celebration assemblies on Fridays. The top three classes receive certificates and this is shared with parents in our weekly newsletter.

Absence Procedure

It is expected that parents/carers will provide an explanation if their child is absent on every day the absence occurs before 9.30am, a telephone message is acceptable.

Contact number: 0151 3551781

All absences must be reported on a daily basis. In all cases of absence the parents/carers should:

  • only keep your child away from school if really necessary. The school will always call and send home an unwell child;

  • telephone the school at the earliest opportunity to let them know why your child is going to be absent. Please try and phone by 9.30am at the very latest. The office has an answer machine and messages can be left on here;

  • please call daily and keep the school informed if more than one day’s absence is necessary;

  • send a note to school explaining the reason for absence;

  • if medical appointments are absolutely necessary, please bring your child to school for the rest of the school day.

If your child fails to register or is absent and we have not received notification by 9.30am a call will be made to you. This only applies on the first day of absence. It is the parent’s/carer’s responsibility to call the school each day their child is off school and explain the reason why.

If a child is absent from school with no explanation offered by the parents/carers within two weeks, it becomes an unauthorised absence.

We are required to follow up any unexplained absences.

This will be followed up via a phone call to parents/guardians, or, in some instances, a home visit will be carried out.


Persistent Absence

The government has a persistence absence threshold of 10%. The absence threshold of 10% means that if a pupil is absent for 38 sessions (19 days) of school, they are classified as persistently absent. Schools are urged to inform parents of this threshold and to advise parents that fines will be made for persistent absence, unless there is evidence of a justifiable reason for such absence, for example, significant illness. Failure to make payment will result in legal action for failure to ensure regular attendance at school under Section 444 (1) Education Act 1996.

Mrs Parker and Mrs Altass monitor attendance and punctuality everyday; should you have any concerns about your child’s attendance please speak to either of them. They are available every morning on the school playground from 8.45am or telephone school for an appointment.

Do You Know Your Child's Attendance Figures?

How does your child compare?

Attendance during one school year Equals this number of days absent Which is approximately this many weeks absent Which means this number of lessons are missed
100% 0 days 0 weeks 0 lessons
95% 10 days 2 weeks 40 lessons
90% 19 days 4 weeks 80 lessons
80% 38 days 8 weeks 160 lessons
70% 57 days 11.5 weeks 230 lessons

Frequent absence can add up to a considerable amount of lost learning and can seriously disadvantage your child in adult life.

Leave of absence will be given for attendance at medical or dental appointments or for examinations in music, dance etc. However, where possible such appointments should be made outside of school.


A child arriving in school after 9:00am MUST sign in at the School Office, a late mark will be added, by the Learning Mentor or Admin Team.

Any child NOT IN SCHOOL AFTER 9:20am will be considered absent without authorisation ‘U’ unless contact is made by parents / carers giving a reasonable explanation before 9.30am of the day of absence when it will be authorised.

If there has been continued concern over the level of absence of a child, – absences will be marked as unauthorised –parents/ carers will be informed in writing that this will occur. The exception will be the provision of medical evidence which will be explained in the letter.

Why is punctuality so important?

Punctuality to school is crucial. Lateness into school causes disruption to that individual's learning and to that of the other children in the class. It is paramount therefore that all children arrive at school on time.

Pupils who are late are disrupting not only their own education but also that of others. School begins at 9:00am but children may enter from 8:45am, the register will be open between 8:45 to 9:00am, after which a late mark will be entered.

If your child arrives after this time they must enter via the school office where they will be signed in. After 9:20am, the register officially closes and a pupil will be coded as ‘U’ which statistically counts as unauthorised absence. 


5 minutes late each day = 3 school days lost

10 minutes late each day = 6.5 school days lost

15 minutes late each day = 10 school days lost

20 minutes late each day = 13 school days lost

30 minutes late each day = 19 school days lost


Holidays in Term Time
Following the recent High Court ruling regarding holidays in term time, the following is the Local Authority's position for all Cheshire West and Chester schools: 

'Holidays will be unauthorised  except for very few due to specific circumstances. The majority of requests will not be agreed by headteachers and so will be marked as an unauthorised absence.'

As a school, we fully appreciate the financial constraints that some families face when booking holidays. However, there is an expectation that all schools introduce stringent checks to ensure that there is a significant reduction in the number of absences during term time. Contrary to popular belief, there is NO entitlement to time off for family holidays. We ask that parents thinking about term time holidays consider the impact on your child's learning. In order for your child to have the best possible start in life, they need to make the most of every learning opportunity - Every day counts!

If you do take your child out of school, please ensure that you complete an Absence Request Form, in advance. This is available from the main office or or attached below.

For further help or advice on attendance issues please contact our Learning Mentor, Mrs Jill Parker - we may be able to offer support where there are barriers to good attendance and punctuality. 

0151 3551781 

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