Southmead Primary School

Southmead Primary School

Headteacher: Mr Nicholas Plumb

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Late/Absence Procedures

Parents must notify the school on the first day of an unplanned absence – for example, if their child is unable to attend due to ill health – by 8.50 a.m. at the latest or as soon as practically possible.


Methods for notifying school of their child’s absence:

  • leaving a message on the dedicated 24 hour absence telephone line (01271 812448 Option 1).
  • Completing the form below.
  • Sending an email to
  • Letting a member of the office staff know.

Absence Notification Form

In the Message Box please include your child's name and class, your contact phone number and the reason for your child's absence. This form is for you to inform school by 8.50 a.m. that your child will be absent today. You will not receive a response to this message; please make sure you wait for the confirmation message, to ensure the form has been sent.

Absence due to illness will be authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness.

If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school may ask parents to provide medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note, prescription, appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. We will not ask for medical evidence unnecessarily.

If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents will be notified of this.


Medical or dental appointments

As far as possible, medical and dental appointments should be made outside of our school day. Where this is not possible, advance notice is required for authorising these absences.  See Appendix 3 for the Medical Absence Request Form.

Pupils must attend before and after the appointment wherever possible. If the appointment requires the pupil to leave during the day, they must be signed out by an adult listed on the pupil’s record. Should a pupil arrive late following an appointment, they should report to our school office to be signed in. 

Absences for medical appointments will be recorded with an M code. 


Miscellaneous Absence

Absence for purposes of leave during term time can only be authorised by the Headteacher, within the boundaries set by the Education (Pupil Registrations) (England) Regulations (2006). “Head Teachers may not authorise leave during term time except where the circumstances are exceptional.” Under the Regulations, retrospective authorisation for leave in exceptional circumstances is not permitted. 

The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional circumstances’ are that they are ‘rare; significant; unavoidable and short’. Holidays during term time will not usually be considered as exceptional circumstances. The following guiding principles apply: 

  • term-times are for education. This is the priority. Children and families have 175 days off a year including weekends and school holidays. We will rightly prioritise attendance. 
  • the decision to authorise a pupil’s absence is wholly at the Headteacher’s discretion based on their assessment and merits of each individual request. 
  • if an event can be reasonably scheduled outside of term time then it would be normal to authorise absence for such an event. Holidays are, therefore, not considered ‘exceptional circumstances’. It is acceptable for the Headteacher to take a pupil’s record of attendance into account when making absence-related decisions. 
  • we will take the needs of the families of service personnel into account if this prevents them from being able to take family holidays during scheduled holiday time.
  • we have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Family emergencies need careful consideration before decisions about attendance are made. It is not always appropriate or in the best interests of the pupil to miss education for emergencies which are being dealt with by adult family members. Being at school with support from staff and peers can provide children with stability. Our school routine can offer a safe and familiar background during times of uncertainty. Relevant members of staff will work with parents to decide what is in the best interest of the pupil. 


Lateness and punctuality

A pupil who arrives after 8.50 a.m. but before 9.00am will be marked as late, using the L code.

A pupil who arrives after the register has closed at 9.00 a.m. will be marked with a U code.  This will be an unauthorised absence.

Lateness will be regularly monitored and letters (Appendix 5) sent home to parents / carers of children who have 4 or more late codes in a half termly period.  We will offer support and help if there are certain circumstances where lateness is an issue.


Following up absence

The school will follow up any absences to ascertain the reason, ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary, identify whether the absence is approved or not and identify the correct attendance code to use.

The school Attendance Officer will check all the registers by 9.20am and call any unknown absences by 9.30am.  If we are not able to obtain a reason for absence from any of the child’s contacts, the Headteacher will be informed.  We will send an Unexplained Absence Letter home for Parents and Carers to complete.  Some cases may be referred immediately to the Education Welfare Officer.

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