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Hurst Knoll St James'

CE Primary School

Inspiring Faith and Learning for Life


Attendance / Punctuality

If children are to make the progress that they are capable of in school, then regular attendance and good punctuality are vital. Children who miss school regularly, or who are late frequently, do not do as well as their peers as they miss important learning. At Hurst Knoll St. James’, we place great importance on attendance and punctuality and work closely with families where attendance and punctuality fall below our school expectations.


Our attendance target for the year for all pupils is 96%.


We expect that children will attend school every day. However, we are aware that children are sometimes ill and that unforeseen circumstances sometimes prevent them from attending school.


Good punctuality is vital as missing lesson time at the start of the day leads to lost learning and children having to play ‘catch-up’ with their peers. To help parents get children to school on time, our classroom doors are open from 8.45am and the school day begins at 8.55am. At 8.55am, the school gates are closed and children arriving after this time must enter the school through the main office. Arriving after 8.55am, children are considered as late. If children arrive after 9.30am, they are given a ‘U’ mark and are considered as having an unauthorised absence that morning. 


To ensure that your child’s attendance is in line with the expectations that we set, the following measures are undertaken.



  • Registers are taken at the start of the morning and afternoon sessions. Where children are marked as absent, the school’s attendance line is checked and parents who have not left a message are contacted. 
  • Attendance is shared and reviewed with the school’s Pastoral Manager and Senior Leadership Team.



  • The Office team run an absence report where percentage attendance for the school, classes and individuals is reviewed. This report is shared with the Pastoral Manager and Senior Leadership Team.
  • Where children have a ‘N’ code (no reason given for their absence) during the week, a letter is sent to parents asking them to contact school and provide a reason for the absence.
  • Having received this letter, if no reason is provided for the absence, then this is recorded as an unauthorised absence.
  • A ‘lates’ report is run and patterns are identified. Where children are consistently late, letters are issued to provide a warning to parents and meetings with families are initiated.


Half termly:

  • Persistent absenteeism (where children have attendance below 90%) is reviewed with the Education Welfare Officer from Tameside and steps to improve attendance are identified and implemented. Outcomes of this meeting can include – invite to meet with an Attendance Panel, Attendance Improvement Plan put into place or a Penalty Notice Warning is issued.
  • Lates report is reviewed and punctuality letters are sent to parents where children are repeatedly late for school.


At the end of the academic year, attendance is shared with parents / carers as part of the child’s annual report.


For any child, the following steps are taken to ensure attendance meets the school’s target. The measures below outline the steps implemented if gaps in attendance are noted:


  • Daily and weekly checks are completed and attendance is analysed to see where patterns of absence may be occurring. At the start of the academic year, children are given until 1st October before attendance measures are put into place. This gives time for patterns to emerge. In this period, if a child has a significant period of time off, this is addressed.
  • After 1st October, when attendance falls below 96%, a letter is sent to parents warning them of the fall in attendance and asking them to ensure that children attend school every day.
  • Where attendance falls below 90%, a meeting with the Pastoral Manager (attendance lead) is held and an Attendance Improvement Plan is put into place.
  • After three periods of absence from school, parents / carers are requested to provide medical evidence for all future absences. Where this is not provided, absence will not be authorised.
  • Where a child has 10 sessions of unauthorised absence within a 12-week period, a Penalty Notice Warning will be issued. The local authority then monitors attendance closely for three weeks. If there is another unauthorised absence during this period of monitoring, then a Penalty Fine is administered by the Local Authority.




We understand that children have medical needs and appointments during the school day are sometimes needed. Where these are issued by a GP or the NHS, an appointment card / text message / letter is required, and these absences will be authorised. Dental check-ups or routine eye tests will not be authorised as these are not vital and can be arranged outside of school hours.


If a child has an appointment during the school day, the whole day off school is not needed for this (unless a medical professional has said so and you have provided the required evidence to support this) and siblings must be in school and not ‘accompany’ family members.




Holidays during term time will not be authorised. If holidays are taken, and 10 sessions of school or more are missed, then a Penalty Fine will be issued. The cost of this is £60 per parent / carer per child. An example of how this might work is:


If a family of two parents and two children have a holiday in term time and the children miss 10 school sessions or more, the parent / carers would be fined £240 in total (£60 for each child, multiplied by 2 as two parents / carers live in the home).


Even though holidays will not be authorised, a holiday request form must be submitted to school. These can be collected from the school office. By completing this form, we can ensure that our registers are completed correctly and that children receive the appropriate mark. Where a holiday form is not received, the child may receive an ‘unauthorised absence’ mark rather than the holiday code.




This is a keen focus for us each day as we have numerous children who are late to school. Good punctuality is vital as missing lesson time at the start of the day leads to lost learning and children having to play ‘catch-up’ with their peers. To give you more flexibility when getting children to school, our classroom doors are open from 8.45am and the school day begins at 8.55am. 


We regularly check punctuality as part of our attendance analysis. Where punctuality is a recurring issue, we will invite you to school to discuss your child’s punctuality record and, where necessary, an attendance improvement plan will be put into place. The impact of poor punctuality can be seen below:


Minutes late per dayImpact on attendance
5 minutes3.4 days (98.4% attendance)
10 minutes6.9 days (97.6% attendance)
15 minutes10.3 days (94.6% attendance)
20 minutes13.8 days (92.9% attendance)
30 minutes 20.7 days (89.2% attendance)


Local authority support


We work closely with the local authority to analyse attendance. They regularly discuss individual children with us and look at the measures we have in place to help improve their attendance or punctuality. Where we have tried to work with families and there has been no improvement in attendance or punctuality, the local authority will then take over this case and work with the family.


To ensure that children are as close to the 96% attendance target as possible, we need your support. Please ensure that children go to bed a time appropriate to their age, that they have a consistent, calm bedtime routine and that they are woken in plenty of time to get to school in the morning. Please help them to have a successful start to the day by giving them a healthy breakfast that will provide them with the energy that they need to complete their work in the first session of the day. Breakfast Club is available for children to attend but places must be booked in advance.


Penalty Notices


During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was some flexibility around school attendance to help families ensure that they and their loved ones remained safe and well. However, this flexibility has now been removed and it is mandatory that children attend school each day. At Hurst Knoll St. James', we take attendance seriously and want children to be in school so that they can progress both socially and academically. 


Where a child has 10 sessions of unauthorised absence (5 days or more) within in a 12-week period, their parent / carer will receive a Penalty Notice of £120 which is reduced to £60 if it is paid with 21-days of the notice being served. Penalty Notices can also be given if children are persistently late for school and they arrive after the registers have closed for the morning.