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Attendance Policy 2023/2024

Attendance Policy

Policy details

  • Date created - October 2023
  • Date approved -
  • Next review date - September 2024
  • Policy owner - Sam Moncaster


  1. Policy Statement and Purpose
  2. The Importance of School Attendance
  3. Legislation and Guidance
  4. Roles and Responsibilities
  5. Reporting Absence
  6. Reporting and Requesting Planned Absences
  7. Recording Absence
  8. Lateness and punctuality
  9. Persistent lateness
  10. Recording Attendance at off site provision / dual registered pupils
  11. Authorised and Unauthorised Absences
  12. Fines and Sanctions
  13. Promoting and Supporting Attendance
  14. Attendance Monitoring
  15. Analysing attendance
  16. Using data to improve attendance
  17. Identifying and supporting Persistent and Severely Absent Pupils
  18. Reintegration after significant absences
  19. Identifying and supporting Children Missing in Education
  20. Links with other Policies
  21. Appendices

Policy Statement and Purpose

Co-op Academy Leeds is committed to providing a full education to all pupils that embraces the concept of equal opportunities for all. We provide a welcoming and caring environment where every pupil feels safe and valued. Regular attendance and excellent punctuality are essential in ensuring pupils make sustained academic progress and social development.

The academy works in partnership with pupils and their parents or carers to promote the importance of regular and punctual attendance. Regular and punctual attendance is vital in ensuring that all children have full access to the curriculum, as valuable learning time is lost when pupils are absent or late.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure excellent attendance for all, that maximises pupil potential. As an academy, we recognise that regular attendance has a positive impact on the motivation and attainment of pupils. As such, this policy serves to give clear guidance to all stakeholders on their roles and responsibilities; provide advice and information on statutory duties of parents / carers and the Academy and demonstrate how the Academy will work in partnership with families, the local authority and other organisations to support the best possible attendance of all pupils.

The Importance of School Attendance

Regular attendance at school is vital to support pupils to achieve and help them get the best possible start in life. Good attendance is central to pupils’ academic achievement and personal development.

Research shows that going to school is directly linked to improved exam performance which should in turn lead to further learning opportunities and better job prospects.

As well as this, going to school helps to develop:

  • friendships
  • social skills
  • team values
  • life skills
  • cultural awareness
  • career pathways

We know that 90% of persistent non-attenders do not achieve expected levels of development at KS1 and KS2 and do not gain five or more good GCSEs. Around one third achieve no GCSEs at all.

Young people who regularly miss school without good reason are also more likely to become isolated from their friends, to underachieve in examinations and/or become involved in anti-social behaviour. In addition, Keeping Children Safe in Education, 2023 makes clear the fact that Children Missing Education are at significant risk of being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation, and becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) later in life.  

Attendance and Punctuality - Lost Learning Hours



Hours Lost per year

Minutes Late Each Day

Impact per year


0 Days Lost

0 Hours Lost

5 minutes

3.5 Days Lost


9 Days Lost

45 Hours Lost

10 minutes

7 Days Lost


19 Days Lost

95 Hours Lost

15 minutes

10.5 Days Lost


28 Days Lost

140 Hours Lost

20 minutes

14 Days Lost


38 Days Lost

190 Hours Lost

25 minutes

17.5 Days Lost


46 Days Lost

230 Hours Lost

30 minutes

21 Days Lost

Legislation and Guidance

This policy meets the requirements of Working Together to Improve School Attendance from the Department for Education (DfE), and refers to the DfE’s statutory guidance on School Attendance Parental Responsibility Measures. These documents are drawn from the following legislation setting out the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance:

- Part 6 of The Education Act 1996

- Part 3 of The Education Act 2002

- Part 7 of The Education and Inspections Act 2006

- The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 (2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 amendments)

- The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013

It also refers to:

         School census guidance

         Keeping Children Safe in Education, 2023

         Mental health issues affecting a pupil's attendance: guidance for schools

Roles and Responsibilities

AGC (Academy Governing Council)

The AGC is responsible for:

  • Promoting the importance of school attendance across the academy
  • Making sure school leaders fulfil expectations and statutory duties
  • Regularly reviewing and challenging attendance data
  • Monitoring attendance figures for the whole school
  • Making sure staff receive adequate training on attendance
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the implementation of this policy

The Headteacher and Academy Leadership Team

The Headteacher and ALT will offer a clear vision for attendance, underpinned by high expectations and core values, which are communicated to and understood by staff, pupils and families. ALT will make sure staff, pupils and families understand that absence from school is a potential safeguarding risk and understand their role in keeping children safe in education. ALT  will actively promote great attendance at all levels of the organisation to build up a culture of great attendance.

To do this, ALT will be responsible for:

  • Implementation of this policy at the school
  • Monitoring school-level absence data and reporting it to governors
  • Supporting staff with monitoring the attendance of individual pupils
  • Monitoring the impact of any implemented attendance strategies
  • Issuing fixed-penalty notices, where necessary

Strategic Lead for Attendance -

Mr S Moncaster -

Miss A Smith - 

The strategic lead for attendance is responsible for leading attendance across the school including:

  • Offering a clear vision for attendance improvement
  • Evaluating and monitoring expectations and processes
  • Having an oversight of data analysis
  • Devising specific strategies to address areas of poor attendance identified through data
  • Building relationships with parents/carers to discuss and tackle attendance issues
  • Creating intervention reintegration plans in partnership with pupils and their parents/carers
  • Delivering targeted intervention and support to pupils and families

Pastoral Leaders (Year Managers / Progress Leaders / Learning Mentors)

Mrs T Wheatley -

Mrs A Palmer -

Miss H Watson -

Mr A Blair -

Miss A Shewkat -

Mr T Hudson - 

Attendance Officer

Ms H Young -

Ms F Ahmed - 

The school attendance officer is responsible for:

  • Ensuring absence procedures are followed in line with this policy
  • Entering codes accurately and keeping the attendance register in line with legislation
  • Monitoring and analysing attendance data (see section 7)
  • Benchmarking attendance data to identify areas of focus for improvement
  • Providing regular attendance reports to school staff and reporting concerns about attendance to the designated senior leader responsible for attendance and the headteacher
  • Working with education welfare officers to tackle persistent absence
  • Working as part of the safeguarding team to report and follow up concerns
  • Advising the Headteacher when to issue fixed-penalty notices

Form Tutors

Form tutors are responsible for

  • Recording attendance on a daily basis, using the correct codes
  • Recording all attendance, accurately, on ARBOR (MIS)
  • Recording registers in a timely manner
  • Giving attendance a high profile and emphasising the importance of school attendance
  • Making pupils feel welcome and supporting them after an absence or when late to school
  • Helping pupils catch up on missed subject content after absences

School Office Staff

School office staff are responsible for taking calls from parents/carers and pupils about absence on a day-to-day basis and recording it accurately. They will also transfer calls from parents/carers and pupils to the correct pastoral staff or SLT in order to provide them with more detailed support on attendance. They will input codes accurately and ensure that late students and students leaving during the day are accounted for. School office staff work closely with the wider attendance team and safeguarding team.


Parents/carers are expected to:

  • Make sure their child attends everyday on time
  • Call the school to report their child’s absence before 08:00 on the day of the absence and each subsequent day of absence, and advise when they are expected to return
  • Provide the school with more than 1 emergency contact number for their child
  • Ensure that, where possible, appointments for their child are made outside of the school day


Pupils are expected to:

  • Attend school every day on time
  • Attend every timetabled session on time
  • Call the school to report their absence before 08:00 on the day of the absence

Reporting Absence

Parents/Carers will be expected to provide an acceptable reason for every absence and will be able to report an absence on the day by contacting:

The Academy switchboard on 0113 3807961 before 8:00am by leaving a voicemail message.

Parents/carers are requested to make contact on each day of absence even where pupils are absent for consecutive days, unless otherwise agreed with one of the Attendance Officers.

If absence reasons are medical, evidence will need to be provided such as a stamped medical card, hospital letter or prescription in order for the absence to be authorised. We will mark absence for physical or mental illness as authorised unless we have a concern about the authenticity of the illness.

Where communication is not made with the Academy about the reason for pupil absence this will be deemed as ‘unauthorised absence’. The parent/carer will receive contact from the Academy to ascertain reasons for absence. Calls will be made from the beginning of the school day and will be completed by 11 am on the same day. Follow up will be based on the following timescales:

  • If a pupil is absent without communication, the attendance team will attempt to contact parents. You will receive a text message via ARBOR after morning registration to request that you contact school to report the reason for your child’s absence. If you do not report your child’s absence following this text, you will receive a phone call from a member of the attendance team. If the attendance team is unable to contact you, you will receive a home visit - even if it is the first day of absence.
  • When a pupil is absent for two or more days without the school being provided with a reason, a member of the attendance team will conduct a home visit. Home visits from the attendance team are supportive and intended to establish if any actions need to be put in place in order to support a child’s return to school.
  • If, after home visits and phone calls, the attendance team is still unable to get a reason for absence within 5 days, the attendance team will request the Safer Schools Officer to carry out a ‘welfare check’ at home.
  • For extended periods of absence without reason, we may also contact the Child Missing Education Team at the Council and/or sibling primary schools to support with enquiries about the whereabouts of the child.
  • If a child is absent from the Academy for 20 days (or 10 days after an authorised holiday) and their whereabouts are unknown or they are reported to have left Leeds, a referral to the Child Missing Education Team will be made and the child will be removed from roll.
  • Where pupils are identified as vulnerable, or we have a safeguarding concern,  if communication is not made on day one of absence, procedures will be followed through more swiftly with welfare checks requested on day one if deemed necessary

Reporting and Requesting Planned Absences

Attending a medical or dental appointment will be counted as authorised as long as the pupil’s parent/carer notifies the school in advance of the appointment by providing evidence to the attendance team in BL15.  You will need to show your appointment text or letter to verify your appointment. However, we encourage parents/carers to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary by returning promptly to school following their appointment and also attend prior to appointment if not first thing in the morning. The appointment should be made at the start/end of the academy day to minimise disruption to learning.

The pupil’s parent/carer must also apply for other types of term-time absence as far in advance as possible of the requested absence. Go to section 7 to find out which term-time absences are authorised.

Recording Absence

Attendance register

By law, all schools are required to keep an attendance register. The academy uses an electronic system (ARBOR) to accurately record attendance and punctuality to every lesson on a daily basis.

There is  a daily tutor session at the start of every day, during which pupils receive their morning registration mark. Any pupils arriving late (after 8.25am) will be given a late stamp in their planners and details and reason for lateness recorded on Inventry. an ‘L’ code is added to Arbor. The class teacher will record them on the system when they arrive. Afternoon attendance is recorded during lesson 4.

The attendance register marks whether every pupils is:

  • Present
  • Attending an approved off-site educational activity
  • Absent
  • Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

Each day, pupils can access the building from 8:15am. They must be in tutor time by 8:25am where they receive their morning mark. Academy registration closes at 9:00am and any pupil arriving after this time will lose half a day of attendance and marked with a U (see appendix 1 for attendance register codes).


Any amendment to the attendance register will include:

  • The original entry
  • The amended entry
  • The reason for the amendment
  • The date on which the amendment was made
  • The name and position of the person who made the amendment

We will also record:

  • Whether the absence is authorised or not
  • The nature of the activity if a pupil is attending an approved educational activity
  • The nature of circumstances where a pupil is unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

Lateness and punctuality

The statutory register of the academy closes at 9:00am daily. After this point, a pupil arriving late without prior notice or a reasonable explanation, will receive an unauthorised absence mark.

A pupil who arrives late:

  • Before the register has closed will be marked as late, using the appropriate code (L)
  • After the register has closed will be marked as absent, using the appropriate code (U)

If a pupil arrives:

  • Between 8:25am and 8:45am, after the entrance gate has closed, they will enter school through pupil reception where they will sign in and be issued with a 20-minute, break time detention.
  • After 8:45am, they will sign in at pupil reception and will be issued with a 30-minute, on the day detention.

If a pupil arrives at the academy late, after the register has closed, parents will be contacted by the academy to inform them and ascertain a reason for lateness.

Persistent lateness

It is not acceptable for pupils to persistently arrive late to school (whether before or after the register has closed) as this not only hinders their progress but also disrupts the learning of others. The pupil support and attendance team will monitor late arrivals and follow this up through:

• Detentions issued

• Letters home

• Punctuality Panels  

Pupils need to arrive at the academy on time in order to be ready for the day ahead. If they are late numerous times across the week, the following phone calls will be made:

  • 1 late in a week – phone call home by Pastoral Team
  • 2 lates in a week – Phone call home by Pastoral Leader
  • 3+ lates in a week – Phone call home by ALT link and Parent Meeting arranged

All lates and conversations with parents will be logged centrally by the academy.

If a pupil is persistently late to school and has two parent meetings across a half term, they are to be referred to an attendance mentor. A home/school agreement to be signed to inform us that parents will support punctuality and be at the forefront of any improvement. A staff mentor will work with pupils and families regarding punctuality and attendance.

To support all students to attend and be punctual, all Co-op Academies run a breakfast club (free to pupil premium students) before school,  to ensure that pupils can start the day positively and be on time. If a pupil is persistently late, they may be referred to breakfast club to support punctuality.

If all the above are unsuccessful, the Academy will use legal channels in accordance with the local authority policy. This may mean that court action is taken.

Recording Attendance at off site provision / dual registered pupils

  • Attendance at alternative provisions is monitored daily by the attendance team being in regular contact with the provisions. Provisions to make initial contact with parents where pupils are absent will be made by a member of the attendance team or the AP staff.
  • pupils will be given a ‘B’ code on Arbor when they have attended external alternative provision. Any absences will be recorded using the appropriate absence code.
  • Some provisions, as well as managed moves, are used on a dual-registration basis - Miss A Smith will oversee this and will give the pupil the appropriate enrolment status. In these cases pupils will be given a ‘D’ code when they are on roll with the provision for all periods where the pupil is expected to attend the other provision/school.
  • Pupils who are Guest Pupils at another school will remain as ‘single registration’ at Co-op Academy Leeds. Where the pupil has attended the other school, a ‘B’ mark will be recorded. All absences will be logged with the appropriate code.
  • Attendance Officers from the Academy will conduct home visits where appropriate.
  • Attendance Officers will provide daily/weekly attendance figures to key staff
  • Once a placement is set up, pupils must attend. Failure to do so will carry the same consequences as non-attendance within the Academy.
  • Attendance Officers will request regular attendance certificates for pupils attending dual-registration provisions/schools.

Reporting to parents/carers

Parents / Carers will receive regular updates about their child’s attendance with these reports available with every report that goes home and also be available at each parents evening.

Attendance will also be able to be seen using the parent Arbor app to keep up to date with their child’s attendance.

Authorised and Unauthorised Absences

Medical and Illness

Children should attend school on every possible day they can. Mild illnesses such as colds and coughs should not prevent a pupil from coming to school. Guidance for school leaders on authorising absence for mild illnesses, or mild anxiety, from the chief medical officer can be found here and details when parents or carers should make sure pupils attend.

Approval for term-time absence

The Government’s amendments of the Education Regulations 2006 removed the right of Headteachers to authorise family holidays and extended leave. The academy policy, therefore, reflects this legislation.

The headteacher will only grant a leave of absence to a pupil during term time if they consider there to be 'exceptional circumstances'. A leave of absence is granted at the headteacher’s discretion, including the length of time the pupil is authorised to be absent for.

The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request.  Any request should be submitted as soon as it is anticipated and, where possible, at least 4 weeks before the absence. Leave of absence forms can be found at reception. The headteacher may require evidence to support any request for leave of absence including plane tickets; medical evidence; letters from authorities.

Valid reasons for authorised absence include:

  • Illness (including mental illness) and medical/dental appointments
  • Religious observance – where the day is exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents/carers belong. If necessary, the school will seek advice from the religious body to confirm whether the day is set apart. The academy authorises up to two days for a religious absence per academic year and one day per religious event
  • Traveller pupils travelling for occupational purposes – this covers Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish travellers, showmen (fairground people) and circus people, bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and new travellers. Absence may be authorised only when a traveller family is known to be travelling for occupational purposes and has agreed this with the school, but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision

Fines and Sanctions

The school or local authority can fine parents/carers for the unauthorised absence of their child from school, where the child is of compulsory school age. The school is obligated to pass information about unauthorised absence to the local authority. This can lead to a fixed penalty notice issued from the authority. If issued with a fine, or penalty notice, each parent/carer must pay £60, per pupil within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. The payment must be made directly to the local authority. Fines are issued per pupil and per parent so in a family of four, you could receive up to four fixed penalty notices.

Penalty notices can be issued by a headteacher, local authority officer or the police.

The decision on whether or not to issue a penalty notice may take into account:

  • The number of unauthorised absences occurring within a rolling academic year
  • One-off instances of irregular attendance, such as holidays taken in term time without permission
  • If an excluded pupil is found in a public place during school hours without a justifiable reason

If the payment has not been made after 28 days, the local authority can decide whether to prosecute or withdraw the notice.

If a pupil fails to return from a leave of absence and contact with the parents has not been made or received, school may take the pupil off the school’s role in compliance with the Education (Student Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. This means that the child will lose their school place.

The school considers each application for term-time absence individually whilst taking into

account circumstances and relevant context behind the request. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the Headteacher’s discretion.

Promoting and Supporting Attendance

The Academy recognises that poor attendance can be an indication of difficulties in a child’s life. This may be related to problems at home and/or in school. Parents should make school aware of any difficulties or changes in circumstances that may affect their child’s attendance and or behaviour in school, for example, bereavement, divorce/separation, incidents of domestic abuse. This will help the school identify any additional support that may be required.

Co-op Academy Leeds also recognises that some pupils are more likely to require additional support to achieve excellent attendance, for example, those pupils with special educational needs, those with physical or mental health needs, and looked after children.

The academy implements a range of strategies to support improved attendance. Strategies

used will include:

  • Regular communication with home
  • Offering incentives and rewards
  • Mentoring
  • Support plans
  • Rewards systems
  • Fast Track Initiative
  • Referral to the Cluster Attendance Officer

Where parents fail or refuse to engage with the support offered and further unauthorised

absence occurs, Co-op Academy Leeds will consider the use of legal sanctions.

As a very last resort - and only in exceptional circumstances, the Academy may implement a part time timetable to support regular attendance. This would only be as a very last resort.

Rewarding Attendance

Recognising strong attendance is key and celebrating strong attendance is important. Positive Merit Points on Arbor, will be given to all pupils to acknowledge good attendance, and will be awarded at regular intervals for those who have achieved good attendance or have improved their attendance. Within the academy rewards policy, pupils will receive additional Praise Points on a half termly basis for achieving 95%+ attendance. Parents can track these Praise Points via the Arbor app.

  • Every week, the pupil in each Year Group who has the most improved attendance will win a £5 gift voucher.
  • Every half term, whenever a pupil attends the academy and is on time, their name will be entered into a prize draw at the end of half term, where a significant prize will be awarded.
  • Each half term, the tutor group in each year group that has the highest attendance will be rewarded with a pizza party. This enables tutors and their tutor groups to work together, to drive forward attendance.
  • Each term, those pupils who have 100% attendance for that term will be rewarded with a visit to the local cinema on the final day of term.
  • Further ad-hoc attendance initiatives and events will take place half termly across the year within year groups in order to boost and encourage full attendance. An example of this are random 100% attendance weeks where pupils are rewarded for gaining 100% all week.
  • Tiered end of year attendance rewards trips (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze) for pupils with 94%+ attendance across the year. This will involve pupils attending a fully funded day out of the academy during rewards week in the final week of term. Examples are trips to theme parks, wildlife parks, the cinema and the coast (behaviour dependent also).
  • The Year Group with the highest attendance across the year will receive a day visit out of the academy (behaviour dependant also).

Attendance achievements will be communicated to families regularly on website and social media.

Legal Intervention

The law requires parents to ensure that their child attends school regularly. The academy has a primary responsibility in dealing with the issue of attendance, in partnership with parents and pupils. The majority of attendance issues will be dealt with by the academy, however, on occasions, attendance concerns may need to be passed on to Leeds City Council Attendance Advisors.

Schools have to regularly inform the Local Authority of any pupils who are regularly absent from school, have irregular attendance, or have missed 10 school days or more without the school's permission. Schools also have a safeguarding duty, under section 175 Education Act 2002, to investigate any unexplained absences.

If a pupil is missing school without good reason and support options have been exhausted without improvement/engagement, schools can refer to the Local Authority for legal intervention. This is likely to result in the pupil case file being referred for consideration in the Magistrates Court.

Local councils and schools can use various legal powers if a child is missing school without a good reason and when other methods of support and challenge have not worked. This action can include:

  • a Parenting Order
  • an Education Supervision Order
  • a School Attendance Order
  • a fine (sometimes known as a ‘penalty notice’)

Attendance Monitoring

The school will monitor attendance and absence data weekly, half-termly, termly and yearly across the school and at an individual pupil level. Through this analysis we will Identify whether or not there are particular groups of children whose absences may be a cause for concern

Pupil-level absence data will be collected each term and published at national and local authority level through the DfE's school absence national statistics releases. The underlying school-level absence data is published alongside the national statistics. The school will compare attendance data to the national average, and share this with the academy governing council and Regional Director..

Analysing attendance

The school will analyse attendance and absence data regularly to identify pupils or cohorts that need additional support with their attendance, and use this analysis to provide targeted support to these pupils and their families. We will look at historic and emerging patterns of attendance and absence, and then develop strategies to address these patterns. See Appendix xxxx for how we use attendance data

Using data to improve attendance

The school will provide regular attendance reports to form tutors and class teachers and to school leaders, to facilitate discussions with pupils and families and use data to monitor and evaluate the impact of any interventions put in place in order to modify them and inform future strategies.

Identifying and supporting Persistent and Severely Absent Pupils

Persistent absence is where a pupil misses 10% or more of school, and severe absence is where a pupil misses 50% or more of school. The academy will work with parents/carers, staff, agencies and pupils to prevent children from falling into either of these categories.

The school will use attendance data to find patterns and trends of persistent and severe absence. We will hold regular meetings with the parents/carers of pupils and all adults who are listed as holding parental responsibility, who the school (and/or local authority) considers to be vulnerable, or are persistently or severely absent, to discuss attendance and engagement at school. We will provide access to wider support services to remove the barriers to attendance.

Pupils with attendance of less than 90% will be identified by the attendance team and referred to the Academy Attendance Improvement Officers (AIO) for more intensive casework. Preventative intervention work will be done to avoid pupils reaching PA status.

In order to prevent pupils from falling into Persistent Absence category, the following strategy will ensue:

If pupil attendance falls between 71 and 90%, the Attendance Improvement Team are able to offer a variety of interventions, and will always consider what is most appropriate for the young person and their family:

- Legal work: Fast Tracks or One-to-one Casework

- Informal parent meetings to offer support

- One-to-ones with the student to explore barriers to attendance and offer support/incentives

- Referral to Year Teams, Children and Family Support Team, or other outside agencies to access further support where needed

- Consideration for intervention groups, such as 'Attend and Aspire' for Key Stage 4 students

- Regular home visits from the Attendance Liaison Officer and/or Attendance Improvement Officer

If, after all the above processes are unsuccessful and pupil attendance drops below 70%, the Attendance Improvement Officer and Senior Attendance Improvement Officer will decide, along with Year Teams, how to proceed. The Local Authority supports us to carry out legal work where appropriate.

Further support measures may be put in place in place of, or alongside, legal one-to-one casework. This may include:

- Referral to Year Teams, Children and Family Support Team, or other outside agencies to access further support where needed

- Regular home visits from the Attendance Liaison Officer, Attendance Improvement Officer and/or Senior Attendance Officer

- Where there is a significant mental health need, an 'Extended School Non-Attendance' Support Plan will be put in place

We always aim to work with families to improve attendance and through all of the interventions in place. Where families are not engaging with the support we will have to take more punitive actions including:

  • Fast Track Initiative
  • Formal Casework
  • Referral to educational welfare officers
  • Referral to Leeds City Council for legal work

Reintegration after significant absences

Every effort will be made to re-integrate pupils successfully back into the Academy following long periods of absence. This might include:

  • Phased returns and reduced timetables, in exceptional circumstances
  • Mentoring from the  pastoral team
  • An attendance support plan agreed with pupils and Parents

Identifying and supporting Children Missing in Education

We recognise that a child being absent from education for prolonged periods and/or on repeat occasions is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect.

Our Academy response to persistently absent pupils and children missing from education helps us to identify such abuse, and in the case of absent pupils, helps prevent the risk of them becoming a child missing education in the future.

Our response includes identifying when problems are first emerging but also acting where where children are already known to local authority children’s social care and need a social worker (such as a child who is a child in need or who has a child protection plan, or is a looked after child), and being absent from education may increase known safeguarding risks within the family or in the community

We will follow the ‘Working together to improve school attendance’ guidance and work with local authority children’s services where absence indicates safeguarding concerns.

Where a child is reported to be missing education we will comply with our statutory duty to inform the local authority of any pupil who falls within the reporting notification requirements outlined in Children Missing Education – Statutory guidance for local authorities (DfE September 2016) and follow the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership agreed procedures (

Children who are absent, abscond or go missing during the school day are vulnerable and at potential risk of abuse, neglect, CSE or CCE including involvement in county lines. Academy staff members must follow the academy’s procedures for dealing with children who are absent/go missing, particularly on repeat occasions and/or for prolonged periods, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect including sexual abuse or exploitation and to help prevent the risks of their going missing in future.

Links with other Policies

This policy links to the following policies:


Appendix 1 - Coding

The following codes are taken from the DfE’s guidance on school attendance.

Present Codes





Present (am)

Pupil is present at morning registration


Present (pm)

Pupil is present at afternoon registration


Late arrival

Pupil arrives late before register has closed


Off-site educational activity

Pupil is at a supervised off-site educational activity approved by the school


Dual registered

Pupil is attending a session at another setting where they are also registered



Pupil has an interview with a prospective employer/educational establishment


Sporting activity

Pupil is participating in a supervised sporting activity approved by the school


Educational trip or visit

Pupil is on an educational visit/trip organised, or approved, by the school


Work experience

Pupil is on a work experience placement


Absence Codes




Authorised absence


Authorised leave of absence

Pupil has been granted a leave of absence due to exceptional circumstances



Pupil has been excluded but no alternative provision has been made


Authorised holiday

Pupil has been allowed to go on holiday due to exceptional circumstances



School has been notified that a pupil will be absent due to illness


Medical/dental appointment

Pupil is at a medical or dental appointment


Religious observance

Pupil is taking part in a day of religious observance


Study leave

Year 11 pupil is on study leave during their  public examinations, used until the end of the exams.


Gypsy, Roma and traveller absence

Pupil from a traveller community is travelling, as agreed with the school

Unauthorised absence


Unauthorised holiday

Pupil is on a holiday that was not approved by the school


Reason not provided

Pupil is absent for an unknown reason (this code should be amended when the reason emerges, or replaced with code O if no reason for absence has been provided after a reasonable amount of time)


Unauthorised absence

School is not satisfied with reason for pupil's absence


Arrival after registration

Pupil arrived at school after the register closed







Not required to be in school

Pupil of non-compulsory school age is not required to attend


Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

School site is closed, there is disruption to travel as a result of a local/national emergency, or pupil is in custody


Pupil not on admission register

Register set up but pupil has not yet joined the school


Planned school closure

Whole or partial school closure due to half-term/bank holiday/INSET day.

Appendix 2 - Attendance Leaflet

Appendix 3 - Definitions


Your local council can give each parent a fine of £60, which rises to £120 each if you do not pay within 21 days. If you do not pay the fine after 28 days you may be prosecuted for your child’s absence from school.


You could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months. The court also gives you a Parenting Order.

Education Supervision Order

If the council thinks you need support getting your child to go to school but you’re not co-operating, they can apply to a court for an Education Supervision Order.

A supervisor will be appointed to help you get your child into education. The local council can do this instead of prosecuting you, or as well.

Parenting Order

This means you have to go to parenting classes. You’ll also have to do what the court says to improve your child’s school attendance.

Appendix 4 - Template letters

Example banding letter - 95%-100%

Dear NAME,

RE: NAME              Year: Year

Attendance Update: Half-Term X

NAME’s attendance for the current half-term is X%.

Well done, NAME!

Thank you for encouraging NAME to attend school every day and ensuring they have the best chances of success in school and beyond.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 380 7961.

Yours sincerely,

Example banding letter - below 80%

Dear NAME,

RE: NAME              Year: Year

Attendance Concern: Half-Term X

NAME’s attendance for the current half-term is X%.

Every school day missed is 6 lessons lost. This adds up to many hours of lost learning for NAME.

The Academy’s attendance target is 95%. Please encourage NAME to attend school every day. Some of NAME’s days of absence may be authorised due to illness; however, we want to keep parents/carers informed of lost learning time.

I have included a copy on NAME’s attendance certificate, as well as a copy of the Academy Attendance Policy. Please read this carefully.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 380 7961.

Yours sincerely,

Example persistent absentee letter

Dear NAME,

Attendance Concern

I am writing to inform you about the attendance of NAME. This letter is sent to any parent/carer whose child’s attendance is less than 90%.

NAME’s attendance is currently Attendance%. This equates to X number of days missed.

If your child’s attendance is less than 90%, they are classed as ‘persistently absent’ from school.

When students miss school, they fall behind.  Missing just five days a year of school could decrease your child’s chances of achieving well at GCSE by 10% – whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised. Not being in school means your child is missing the powerful knowledge they require in each subject in order to be successful. As a parent/carer, you are legally responsible for ensuring that your child attends education every day that the academy is open. The academy holds your child’s achievement and success as a number one priority. If your child is not in school, they cannot learn or succeed. 

If your child is suspended this will also count against their attendance; therefore, they must ensure they are showing excellent conduct.

Parents/carers are reminded to report all absences to school. Please call the student absence line 0113 380 7961 and leave a voicemail.

If you are experiencing any problems in ensuring that NAME attends the Academy regularly, please speak to his/her Year Manager or the Attendance Improvement Officer, Miss Young. It is hoped that by working together we can improve name’s attendance. Thank you for your support - you can have a big impact on forename’s attendance.

Yours sincerely,

Example Invitation to Student Attendance Panel Letter

Dear NAME,

Re: NAME                         DOB: DOB                         Year: Year group

I am very concerned about the continuing irregular attendance of your child, NAME. Despite involvement and support from our Attendance Team, there has been little improvement in the situation and their attendance at the Academy remains unsatisfactory.

I must advise you that under the provisions of the Education Act 1996, it is the responsibility of parents/carers to ensure the regular school attendance of their children and that failure to do so could result in legal proceedings being taken by the Local Authority.

In view of this, and in order to discuss and fully address the situation, I ask that you attend an Academy Attendance Panel meeting on Appointment at the academy. Please report to the main reception on arrival.

We will be present with any other relevant members of academy staff and there may be representatives from other agencies.

I would ask that you make every effort to attend this meeting in the hope that the situation regarding NAME‘s Academy attendance may be resolved and future plans regarding their education may be formulated. If the date or time is not convenient, please contact the Attendance Team on 0113 380 7961 immediately. Please be aware that the meeting will go ahead in your absence if you fail to attend.

Yours sincerely,

Example of Penalty Notice Requested Letter

Dear NAME,


RE: NAME                                DOB: DOB                        Year:

Our records show that NAME has been absent from school for NUMBER OF DAYS without making an application to the academy/following a declined exceptional leave application, and as such this has been marked on the register as an unauthorised absence.

Amendments to the Education Regulations (2013) make it clear that schools can only grant a leave of absence under exceptional circumstances, and a leave of absence must be applied for, and authorised, before leave is taken.

I will be requesting Leeds City Council to issue a Penalty Notice on our behalf, which is £60 per parent, per child. Once the penalty is issued, you will have 21 days in which to pay the fine. If you fail to pay in that time period, the fine will double and you then have another 7 days in which to pay, taking the total time in which to make payment to 28 days.

I must advise you that if you fail to make payment after 28 days, then Leeds City Council has the power to prosecute you in the Magistrates’ Court for the offence of failing to ensure your child attends the academy regularly. A guilty verdict at court can lead to a fine of up to £1000 and a criminal record, which can affect employment opportunities. This is in line with current government legislation and the Leeds City Council Code of Conduct.