Thornhill Primary School


Regular attendance at school promotes pupils’ well-being and gives them the best chance of learning and reaching their potential. Pupils should attend school every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.


Good attendance is important because pupils:

  • get on better with learning and other children;
  • cope better with school routines, work and friendships;
  • find learning easier because they do not miss out;
  • are more successful moving between primary school, secondary school, higher education and employment or training;
  • are known to be safe and well by us.


Research shows a direct link between high attendance and doing well at school.

All children have the right to an education. We encourage and expect 100% attendance for all pupils. We check that pupils join video lessons and/or complete tasks during any remote learning. 


Statement of Expectations

What the school expects of the pupils:

  • To attend regularly.
  • To arrive on time, appropriately prepared for the day. Gates open at 8.45am to 8:55am.
  • To report to the school office when late


What the school expects of the parents/carers:

  • To fulfil their legal responsibility by ensuring their children attend school regularly and on time.
  • For parents to inform the Attendance Officer or School Office of any reason that will prevent their pupils from attending school. It is preferred that parents make contact with the Attendance Officer via Class Dojo with messages regarding attendance and appointments.
  • To ensure that they contact the school on the first day their child is unable to attend and that their child returns to school with an absence note.
  • To ensure their child arrives on time and is well prepared for the school day.
  • To contact the Attendance Officer, Class Teacher or Head Teacher in confidence whenever any problem occurs that may keep their child away from school.
  • To inform the Attendance Officer of any forthcoming appointments and, where possible, arrange appointments outside of the school day.
  • Where appointments are booked for say 11 am the child must attend school first.

If the appointment is for example 9:30 am the child needs to return to school ASAP, where possible.

If a pupil leaves the School premises for any reason during the school day, staff will ensure that the pupil is signed out on Entry Sign together with being recorded on the fire register, complying with Health & Safety Regulations. This will also need to be adhered to if/when the child returns.

  • To ensure the continuity of all children’s education, taking holidays during the school holiday period is discouraged. Only in exceptional circumstances requests of leave in term time will require a completed application in advance of the holiday.

It is not an entitlement to take a holiday in term time.

The Education (Schools and Further Education) Regulations 1981 states that schools have a discretionary power for leave to be granted for the purpose of a family holiday or an annual holiday in term time. Such permission is granted in accordance with the arrangements made by the Governing Body of the School.


No parent can demand leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday by right.

Thornhill School will only acknowledge leave in “exceptional circumstances”. (Exceptional circumstances would be an event which cannot be planned e.g. bereavement.)

FPN (Fixed Penalty Notice) will be applied for in accordance with Section 444A of the Education Act 1996.

Please note that from Monday 24th November 2008 we will allow 1 school day for Eid Celebrations. (LA guidance does state that it is a 1 day celebration).

From September 2011, if taken this will be counted as authorised absence, as agreed by the Governing Body. Children/Families who opt to take the day will not qualify for the 100% attendance rewards.


What Parents and pupils can expect of the school

  • A broad and balanced education that is dependant on regular attendance at school.
  • The encouragement and promotion of good attendance.
  • Efficient and accurate recordings of attendances and punctuality.
  • For the pupils to be rewarded for good attendance.
  • First day contact with parents when a pupil fails to attend school.
  • Any barriers to attendance, dealt with efficiently.
  • Close liaison with the attendance team to assist and support parents and pupils where needed.
  • Regular notification to parents/carers of child’s attendance through regular reports home.
  • If poor attendance persists, the school will follow the procedures set out in the Rotherham Early Help Attendance Pathway for Schools.



Registration Procedure

  • Key Stage 1 registration begins at 8:55am each morning and at 1:00pm in the afternoon
  • Key Stage 2 registration begins at 8:55am each morning and at 1:00pm in the afternoon
  • Registers will be taken in each class at 8:55am promptly.
  • Class teachers should insert a mark on SIMS for every pupil if they are present in school.
  • Staff should be in their classroom at the start of the Registration period.
  • If pupils arrive after 8:55am and after 1:00pm they will be deemed to be late.
  • The morning register closes at 11 am after which it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. Unless a medical appointment has been attended, whereas a medical mark will be made.
  • The attendance will be monitored twice daily, immediately after morning and afternoon registration, where absences will be pursued accordingly by the Attendance Officer.


Responding to Lateness

  • Pupils arriving after morning or afternoon registration will report to the school office, where parents will need to sign children in on the Entry Sign - ensuring school lunch is booked and a dinner band given. The Attendance Officer will then ensure SIMS is updated. After 5 recordings of lateness letter 1 in a half term pupils will be invited to attend a catch up session during morning break.


Dealing with Absence Notes

  • Class Teachers will collect in notes and pass these on to the school office where SIMS will be updated by the Attendance Officer accordingly.
  • If no information is available or forthcoming regarding a pupil’s absence, it will remain unauthorised until a justifiable reason is obtained.
  • If no reason is given within 2 weeks an unauthorised absence mark will be made.
  • Home contact will be made by the Attendance Officer on the first day of absence.
  • On the third day of absence a safe and well visit will be made by the Attendance Officer.


The Schools Response to Attendance Issues

  • The school will identify and monitor pupils whose attendance gives cause for concern. This being 94% or less.
  • Appropriate strategies will be employed in order to address the attendance of individual pupils.
  • The Attendance Officer will pass on relevant information to the class teachers.
  • The Attendance Officer will endeavour to contact home on the first day of absence in cases where no satisfactory reason has been received to explain a pupil’s absence.
  • If poor attendance persists, the school will follow the correct procedures for attendance following the Rotherham Early Help Attendance Pathway.
  • After long periods of absence reintegration procedures will be followed.
  • School and year group attendance data will be collected, analysed and monitored. The school will respond to any areas of concern identified.


Rewards and Targets

  • Attendance targets will be set
  • The attendance target for the school year 2022-2023 is 96%


Where these aren’t met the Attendance Officer will work with the family to encourage change.

  • Positive daily contact with the Attendance Officer.
  • Incentives will be made available by the Attendance Officer to promote and maintain good attendance levels.
  • There are weekly Dojo updates on whole school attendance and attendance teds are given to classes with the best attendance. Children with full attendance are awarded Dojo points.
  • At the end of each half term certificates will be awarded to all those with 100% attendance.
  • Full term attendance will be rewarded with an event in school organised by the Attendance Officer.
  • Full years attendance (dates according to DCSF and LA guidance) with an event in school organised by the Attendance Officer.


Every half-day absence must be labelled by the school as either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’:


Authorised absence.

An absence is authorised when parents tell us an allowable reason for being away from school. Allowable reasons include:

  •  being too unwell to come to school;
  •  emergency medical or dental appointments;
  •  religious events, when one day each year will be authorised;
  •  visits to another school, tests or exams;
  •  any other ‘exceptional circumstances’, explained below. 


Unauthorised absence

An absence is unauthorised when a child is away from school for reasons that are not allowed. By law, unauthorised absences are an offence and can be liable to legal action or a fixed penalty fine.

Unauthorised reasons include:

  • parents keeping children off school unnecessarily,
  • absences that have not been properly explained,
  • travel during term-time, including family holidays, that have not been agreed,
  • repeated or persistent non-specific illness, for example, ‘poorly/unwell’,
  • absence of other siblings if one child is ill,
  • absence because a parent is ill,
  • oversleeping,
  • inadequate clothing/uniform,
  • confusion over school term and holiday dates,
  • medical and/or dental appointments of more than half a day without very good reason,
  • child’s and/or family birthdays,
  • any routine family event or trip, for example, shopping.
  • where the reason for absence is given as illness and occurs either side of a school holiday, medical proof will be sought. Without this proof the absence will not be authorised.


Attendance Policy