At Winterhill School, excellent attendance and punctuality is our aim for every student. Full attendance maximises learning opportunities and parents/carers have a vital role in promoting good attitudes towards attendance. We ask for support from parents/carers to ensure that their children are present at every opportunity and arrive on time. We also ask that parents/carers avoid allowing their children to stay at
home unnecessarily and refrain from taking them out of school
without authorisation. Evidence shows that students who attend
school regularly make better progress both academically and
We strive for excellent attendance for all students. Every school day counts and it is this commitment to learning that will have a positive effect on student’s examinations and will improve their chances and choices in adult life. High attainment and progress depends on excellent attendance. The school expects all student to achieve an attendance that is >95%
Excellent attendance and punctuality prepares your child for the world of work and supports development of friendships and relationships.
Attendance over one school year:
If your child has:
Every school day counts!
The Government describes any student with attendance of 90% and below as a Persistent Absentee. Persistent Absence has a serious impact on students as much of the work children miss when they are off school is never made up, leaving these students at a considerable disadvantage to others.
Children with this level of absence are less likely to achieve their educational potential and their friendships at school can suffer. Ultimately, it puts their future career plans at risk. As a result, the Government makes it clear to schools and Local Authorities that they have a responsibility to intervene and take action to improve attendance.
The government has strengthened schools’ ability to respond by increasing Penalty Notices (fines) to £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days.
Automated calls to parents/carers:
We take our safeguarding responsibility seriously and texts are sent out daily to the contact numbers of parents/carers if a student is absent at morning registration (8.50am onwards) where the Attendance Office has received no reason for absence. However, if your child is absent for more than 1 day and the school has received no confirmation from home the school may make a safe and well visit, if we still do not get a reply, the absence will be followed up by a letter being sent out to parents/carers.
Text messages are made on a daily basis, even where your child has been absent due to illness on previous days. We cannot assume that your child is still ill unless you have notified us. We would not wish to put your child at risk by failing to contact you.
NOTE: Please ensure your child realises the importance of attending registration on time and getting their present mark. Parents/carers can also help by ensuring that we hold up to date contact numbers.
We have to establish the whereabouts of every child on a daily basis. In the event that we do not hear from you and we are unable to make contact with you regarding your child’s absence, we may try other contacts held on your child’s record and/or make a home visit.
What to do if your child has an appointment:
All routine medical and other appointments should be arranged out of school time. In exceptional circumstances, where an urgent appointment is required or for hospital clinic appointments that operate during the day only, we require sight of an appointment card or letter in order to authorise any absence from school. We ask that parents/carers ensure their child attends school before the appointment and returns afterwards.
Being Punctual & Prepared
At Winterhill School, all students are expected to be in school in good time for registration.
There is a warning bell sounded at 8.35am, then the registration bell at 8.40am when the register is taken promptly during Period 1.
Morning registration finishes at 8.55am.
Students are expected to be at their period 2 lesson promptly (within 3 minutes) ready to start learning.
We monitor every student’s punctuality to school and lessons closely and follow up unexplained punctuality with the student in the first instance, a text message will be sent informing you of the lateness and unless they have a genuine reason an appropriate sanction will be applied. Reasons such as missing
the bus, stuck in traffic, oversleeping or poor weather are not considered
to be acceptable reasons for lateness, if there is an emerging pattern the
school will contact parents/carers, by telephone and/or by letter. Where
a student’s punctuality record reaches a concerning level, we will contact
parents/carers to discuss ways in which the school can support you and
We would be grateful for your support in ensuring that your child arrives on time. Arriving late for lessons is embarrassing for your child and puts them at an immediate disadvantage to other students who have arrived on time.
Leave of Absence (including term-time holidays)
Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence. The government strongly urges parents/carers to avoid taking their children out of school for family holidays as this will disrupt their education. There is a common misconception that any child is allowed to take 10 days’ holiday per year. This is simply not true. The Headteacher is under no obligation to authorise any leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances why this cannot be arranged out of school time.
Winterhill School cannot and will not authorise leave of absence unless the circumstances are exceptional. A child who misses 2 weeks of school, misses 50 hours of lessons which is extremely difficult to catch up.
Any request should be made well in advance and in writing (a request for a Leave of absence form is available from the main school reception). Requests for absence for reasons such as compassionate leave, special family events, sporting or musical competitions, etc., should be made in the same way.
Absence will not be authorised for reasons such as shopping for uniform, birthdays, day trips, weekends away etc.
All requests are considered individually, taking into account the circumstances of the request. Other factors will be taken into account, such as:
the time of year the student will be absent
the attendance record of the student
the number of previous requests for leave of absence
the student’s ability to catch up
Parents will be notified of the Schools decision either by telephone or in writing.
Where a parental request has been refused, and parents continue to take their child out of school, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised. We reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This is a fine of £60 per parent for each child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent for each child if paid between 22 and 28 days. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court. This
legislation also applies if no prior application has been made or where a false reason for the absence has been provided.
In order to support parents who wish to book family holidays, school term dates for this year and next will be published on our website as soon as they are available.
Support for Attendance
We monitor every student’s attendance and punctuality closely and follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers, by telephone and/or by letter. Where a student’s attendance record reaches a concerning level, we will contact parents/carers to discuss ways in which the school can support you and your child.
If you have any concerns or are aware of any issues which may impact on your child’s attendance, please contact their Behaviour for Learning Leader or a member of the Core Attendance Office without delay so that we may offer support.
The school has a responsibility to work with families to address attendance concerns. Where a student’s attendance continues to fall despite initial contact with parents/carers and the use of appropriate strategies and support to help improve attendance, the school may take and implement the Attendance Panel process. Please note: This process is a positive measure to support parents/carers to fulfil their legal responsibility to ensure the regular attendance of their child.
A meeting will be held in the school and parents/carers and the student (if appropriate) will be invited to attend. An action plan will be drawn up at this meeting and parents/carers will be sent a letter explaining the outcome of the meeting and possible consequences. Following a monitoring period a review will be held and if insufficient improvement is made, the school will make a decision on the next steps. This could include the issue of a Penalty Notice, referral to the Magistrates Court for prosecution or, in some cases, the monitoring period may be extended for a further period of time. Attendance staff, Behaviour for Learning Leaders and/or other staff in school will offer support throughout this process. At this stage, discussions will take place with the Local Authority regarding any legal action. For further details regarding legal sanctions, please see the section below.
Parents/carers have a legal duty to make sure their child attends school regularly. Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 states that “if a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.” The school can make a referral to the Local Authority where parents/carers are failing in their legal duty. The Local Authority has the power to enforce school attendance where this becomes problematic, including the power to prosecute parents/carers who fail to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school. If found guilty, parents/carers could be fined up to £2500 and/or imprisoned for 3 months.
Penalty notices are an alternative to the prosecution of parents for failing to ensure their child attends school regularly and are fines of £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days.
What to do if your child is ill:
If your child is too ill to attend school, parents/carers should contact the school Attendance Office as soon as possible:
by telephone on 01709 740232, Extension 156 or 174. The telephone system allows callers to leave a message 24 hours a day.
by email on firstname.lastname@example.org F.A.O. a member of the Attendance Team
Please give your child’s name, Year Group, the reason for the absence, and how long you expect the absence to last. We ask that you contact us each day that your child is absent unless you have given us an indication of how long the absence will last.
On your child’s return following an absence, we request that parents/carers put a note in their child’s planner or a separate note for them to bring to the Attendance Office on their return to the school.
Celebrating Good Attendance
Good attendance is celebrated throughout the year in Group Tutor time and in assemblies.
Individual students’ good attendance is recognised. E.g. students may get the opportunity to watch a film in the main school hall in the afternoon. Possible prize draw for vouchers at the end of every term. Certificates/letters are issued to students achieving above the schools target of >95% on a termly and annual basis and to those who have made notice progress where attendance has previously been an issue. There are special awards given to students with excellent attendance during their 5 years at Winterhill School.
Students are kept informed of their attendance levels via their Group tutor on a weekly basis
Every school day counts!
Additional attendance information for parents/carers and students