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Summerlea Community Primary School



In order to maximise children's learning, good attendance and punctuality at school is vital.

If attendance drops, not only does it affect the child's learning, but it can lead to friendship issues, a loss in confidence and self-esteem.

Obviously, there are times when children are unwell and need to be absent from school in order to recover fully as well as reducing the risk of the illness spreading.

The following is a guide for parents:

What do I do if my child is sick and cannot attend school?

Telephone the school as early as possible (before 8.30am) and leave a message on the answerphone giving details of the child's name and class, alternatively send an email to office@summerleaschool.co.uk 

If no message is received by parents, school office staff will telephone parents of children who are unaccounted for by 9.30am every day. However, this is a time-consuming and expensive process, as well as potentially delaying us raising the alarm for a child who has genuinely gone missing on their way to school.

The financial expense in time that telephoning parents causes us, could be much better used to improve children's learning, so we would prefer parents to telephone or email the school in the first instance.

What if my child needs to attend a doctor, dentist or other appointment?

We encourage parents to try, wherever possible, to arrange these out of school time, however we do appreciate that this is not always possible.

Parents will need to write a letter to the class teacher providing details of the appointment as soon as possible. We would expect the child to only take the time out of school that is required for the appointment. Children can be collected and returned to school via the main entrance.

What if my child is late to school in the morning?

The gates directly to the classrooms via the playground are closed at 8.30am.

Children arriving at school after this time must enter via the main entrance so that they can be signed in.

Will my child be punished if they arrive late in the morning?


There may have been many factors that caused the lateness that may have been out of the child's control. However, if parents would like us to speak to their child about improving their own punctuality by becoming more organised or getting up earlier in the morning, then we will be more than happy to support parents with this!

Does the school monitor child lateness?


The school keeps records of lateness, which is part of every child's individual record. Patterns of lateness are closely monitored and this is reported to the School Community Council every half term. We aim to work with parents to improve children's punctuality. Children arriving after 9.30am will be marked as Unauthorised Absence on their child record, as they have already missed a significant amount of learning for that day.

Does the school monitor child attendance?


The school keeps detailed records of attendance, which is part of every child's record. Patterns are closely monitored and this is reported to the School Community Council every half term. We aim to work with parents to improve children's attendance.

What happens if a child's attendance is low?

Parents will be informed by the school and we will aim to work with the parents to help them improve attendance.

If this is unsuccessful and there is no improvement then the school may involve the Education Welfare Service or Social Services to work with the family. A Fixed Penalty Notice may also be issued.

On average, what would you expect to be good attendance?

95% or above is good attendance.

Attendance at our school is generally good and normally averages around 95%, which is above the national average. Our target is to reach 96% attendance.  Last term (Autumn 2023) the attendance was 94.8%

What if my child's attendance is very low because they have persistent medical issues?

Talk to us.

We already have a number of children at our school who have serious medical issues.

We work closely with the families and the school nurse to ensure that the child and family are well supported. Adjustments can be made in school to best meet the needs of the individual, as well as many other strategies, for example part-time timetable or providing work to complete at home. It is vital that parents keep the school informed - Mrs Viney and Mrs Chandler are our Pastoral and Inclusion leads on this aspect.

What is a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)?

A FPN is a fine given for unauthorised absence from school, which are issued by West Sussex through the Education Welfare Service.

When are FPNs used?

These can be issued when a child has a minimum of 10 school sessions recorded as unauthorised in a 10 school week period.

A school day is two sessions - morning and afternoon. Late arrival to school after 9.30am will be recorded as unauthorised.

How much is the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)?

The FPN is £120 and 28 days are given to settle the penalty.

If the penalty is paid within the first 21 days, then the charge is reduced to £60.

Where will I get further information about Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)?

Further information about FPNs can be found below.

West Sussex Fixed Penalty Notice Leaflet

Attendance is important throughout the year, but are there specific times where it is even more vital that children attend school?

Yes. The following times are vital for children to attend school:

At the beginning of the academic year in September. The first few days are vital as this is when children make their initial bond with their new class teacher. By just missing the first day of term, already puts the child at a disadvantage. 

At the beginning of any other term. Again, it considerably disadvantages the child to miss the start of term when a lot of new introductions are made and puts the child considerably on the back foot.

In Year 6 during SATs week in May - this is normally in the penultimate week of the half term. All Year 6 children must attend to take their SATs tests - these cannot be retaken on any other day.

In Year 6 on the last day of term in the summer. It is very unfair for Year 6 children to miss their leavers' celebrations.

Requests for Absence

We want to take our child on holiday during term time, is this allowed?

From September 2013, the Government introduced new rules on term time absence, which restricts the authorising of absence unless there are Exceptional Circumstances.

If parents wish to take their child away during term time, it is more than likely that the absence will be Unauthorised by the Headteacher.

What are 'Exceptional Circumstances'?

These may be where there are significant issues for the family that the school is aware of or significant issues with the child.

Children whose parents are in the Armed Forces will normally have their absence authorised, where reasonable. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

I applied for annual leave for the school holidays, but my company have only issued my holiday time during term time so I have no choice but to take my child during term time.

The absence will probably be Unauthorised. We are very aware that these rules puts some parents in a very difficult position but we have to comply with Government policy. The exceptions to this include children whose parents are in the Armed Forces.

What if we take school work with us, will that help?

Of course that would help with the child's learning and we would encourage and support parents with that.

However, it will not alter whether the absence is authorised or not.

How do we make a request for absence from the school?

Write a letter to Mr Todd giving clear details of the absence.

You will then receive a reply within two or three weeks.

Does it actually make any difference if the absence is marked as Authorised or Unauthorised?

All absence is monitored whether it is authorised or unauthorised.

If children are absent from school, then they are missing out on their learning as well as other opportunities. Attendance forms part of a child's school record and a Fixed Penalty Notice could be issued if a child has a minimum of 10 school sessions recorded as unauthorised in a 10 school week period. A school day is two sessions - morning and afternoon.

Will my child be punished for taking Unauthorised absence?

No. Parents make the decision for a child to be absent, so it would be unfair to punish the child.

For a copy of our latest Attendance Policy see our Policies Page.