Illness and other absences


With the 2018 / 2019 academic year starting, we have been reminded of the importance of 'good' attendance. The Government has instructed schools of higher expectations for attendance with at least 96.4% average attendance across the school. We know that parents, children and the school need to work together in regards to attendance. If a child is not in school, they cannot learn, meaning they cannot reach their full potential.  Whilst we understand children do contract illnesses, and some have greater medical needs, and will discuss these as a private matter, we must now draw our attention to the day-to-day absences, including appointments.  We would like to thank you for your support and engagement. We only want the best for your child and want to work with you to ensure that your child is present as much as possible to achieve the best that they can be!


We want to work with you and your children to ensure we reach at least the Government target.


If your child is poorly and will not be in school, please inform the office by 9.15am.  We have a dedicated phone line for absences where you can leave a message even out of office hours.  You will need to phone every day your child is absent, unless they have had sickness and diarrhoea when it is Southmead school policy for your child to be absent from school for 48 hours after the last bout of being poorly.  This is to reduce the spread of germs to the rest of the children. 


Medical Appointments

Please make appointments outside of school hours if your child needs routine opticians, doctors or dental treatment.  Some practices have evening clinics and doctors are available before 8.00am in some instances.  In the event of a doctor, dentist or hospital appointment etc, where possible, please bring your child to school so they get their attendance mark in the register before they go.


Attendance and Absence

If your child is going to be absent for any reason during the school day you should collect an absence form or medical absence form from the office.  At least 1 week’s notice is required for it to be authorised and returned to the class teacher before the child is taken out of school.


Requesting a holiday in term time
The school has a duty to monitor children’s attendance. Research shows that good attendance is an important factor in pupils’ attainment.  Attendance is a priority for Ofsted and the school is judged on it. Therefore any time requested during term time must be for exceptional reasons only.  There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in term time to go on holiday. In exceptional circumstances, the Headteacher may agree an absence. The following applies:

  • You will need to request permission in advance from the head teacher (as the parent the child normally lives with)

  • The Head teacher may only grant leave of absence for exceptional circumstances and it’s up to the Head teacher how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted

  • When making their decision, the Head teacher will take into account the child’s attendance record and whether a previous holiday has been authorised (exceptional circumstances should not be an annual occurrence)

  • The Head will also consider the time of year, eg would the holiday fall within a time when the child should be sitting or preparing for tests 

  • The Head will also consider the impact on any interventions, assessments or referrals for the child and family 

  • Holidays cannot be authorised due to lower costs in term time

  • If you take your child on holiday in term time, without the prior approval of the school, you are liable for a cash penalty and in extreme cases there are legal implications for parents who do not act within the law

Exceptional circumstances include:

  • Service personnel returning from a tour of duty abroad where it is evidenced they will not be in receipt of any leave in the near future that coincides with school holidays

  • Religious observance – The Education Act 1996 S444(3) (c), states ‘’on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his/her parent belongs’


Please help us by not taking your child away in school time.

© 2016 by Southmead Primary School.