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Attendance at Woodlands

Attendance and punctuality have a high profile at our school and there is a whole school approach to ensuring all pupils are attending every session to take advantage of the excellent opportunities here and prepare them for their lives beyond school. Attainment is strongly linked to attendance and pupils who miss between 10 to 20% of school (between 19 to 38 days per year) stand only a 35% chance of achieving five or more good GCSEs compared to 72% of those who miss fewer than 5% of school.   On average pupils who miss 17 or more days in a school year lose one full grade in their GCSEs. Keen to ensure that all pupils fulfil their potential at Woodlands, all staff, lead by the Attendance Team, are keen to work collaboratively with our pupils and families to ensure all of young people are in lessons, achieving excellence and we look forward to working with you to ensure this.


Miss White, Deputy Head Teacher

What we strive for?

Clear on the importance of Attendance and Punctuality on Attainment, we are aspirational and believe all pupils should strive for 100% attendance. Knowing how quickly gaps in learning can occur following periods of absence, we rate attendance as below. It is clear that missed learning cumulates quickly, so we are keen to promote Attendance and would welcome your support in helping us with this.


What parents can do to support Attendance and Punctuality?

Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their child attends regularly and punctually. Parents should provide the school with up-to-date information about points of contact and those with ‘parental responsibility’.

Reporting Absence

If a pupil is unwell/unable to attend school, parents/carers should contact the school before 08:40 and explain the reason for absence. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, contact should be made with the school on a daily basis to keep the school informed of the absence. Parents/Carers may also be asked to provide evidence to support the absence e.g. prescription, appointment card and/or medication.

NB: Minor ailments (as defined in this linked document from the NHS), such as the common cold, sore throats, headaches, conjunctivitis, stomach aches etc. are not considered to necessitate time off school and absences due to these will not be authorised.

Medical Appointments

We ask that such appointments are made outside of school hours however if this is not possible the expectation is for pupils to attend school before/after the appointment.  Medical evidence should always be provided in order for the absence to be authorised. The Attendance Team, in the first instance are happy to provide specific advice/guidance.


Leave of absence is not a legal right; whilst absence due to ill health is sometimes unavoidable a holiday taken during term time is parental choice. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 prohibits a Headteacher granting leave of absence to a pupil, except where an application has been made in advance, and the Headteacher considers that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ relating to the application.  

Click here for Term Time Holiday Application (this needs to be submitted at least four weeks before the proposed absence).

Please note that if the absence is not authorised, and the holiday is taken, this may result in a Penalty Notice of £120 (or £60 if paid within 21 days) to each parent for each child taken out of school.


Pupils should be in school by 8.40am and registration will commence at 8.45am. Any pupil who arrives after 8.45am will be marked on the register as late using the ‘L’ code. Pupils who are persistently late will receive a relevant sanction (Punctuality Sanctions) so please ensure that you encourage your child to arrive to school on time.


What the school will do to support Attendance and Punctuality?

Attendance Commendations

Given that Attendance and Punctuality have a high profile within the school community, we are keen to reward pupils who are punctual and are working towards our aspirational target of 100% Attendance. We regularly review Attendance Commendations based on pupil feedback, but rewards could include the following:

  • EPraise Points
  • Certificates/letters from Head Teacher
  • Brunch Pass
  • Extra-curricular experiences including sports coaching session, beauty experiences etc

In school support

If pupils are experiencing barriers to attendance, we work with the young person in school to resolve any issues, which may include support from the Heads of Year, Aspirations, Attendance Team, Well Being Counsellors and Child Protection Advocates.

Legal Sanctions

Under existing legislation, parents commit an offence if their child fails to attend regularly and the absences are classed as ‘unauthorised’ (those for which the School cannot or has not given permission). Depending on circumstances, such cases may result in prosecution under Section 444 and 444B of the Education Act 1996 which could lead to a fine of £2500 or imprisonment.

A Penalty Notice is an alternative to prosecution which does not require an appearance in court, whilst still securing an improvement in a pupil’s attendance. Payment of a Penalty Notice enables parents to discharge potential liability for conviction for the period of absence included in the Penalty Notice.