Absence Procedure

Every day that your child is absent from school you should call the school on 016973 42160 and report the absence via the automated message by pressing ‘1’ or ‘2’ accordingly, or alternatively e-mail attendance@nts.cumbria.sch.uk before 9am!

You are asked to provide the following information:

  • Pupil’s name
  • Form group
  • Reason for absence
  • Your name and relationship to the pupil

Safeguarding our pupils is of paramount importance, and as such, if a reason for absence is not provided the school will follow clear procedures to ascertain the whereabouts of your child.

Persistent Absence

The Government describe persistent absent as under 90%.  It is essential that all parties (students, parents, and school staff) work closely to raise the attendance of any child which drops below 90%.  The Nelson Thomlinson School will do this through arranging supportive meetings, conducting regular home visits and through regular contact with parents.  Where no improvement is made, an Attendance Action Plan will be implemented.  This is designed to be a supportive process which address as barriers to school attendance.  However, should the plan fail then there is a possibility of the case being referred to the local authority for prosecution.  If parents/carers are invited to attend an Attendance Action Plan meeting, it is essential that the meeting is attended.

Medical Appointments

To ensure pupils’ attendance meets our expectations, all medical appointments should be made, where possible, outside school hours.  In situations where this is not possible, we expect pupils to attend school before and after the appointment, ensuring that they only miss a small amount of lesson time.  For example, if a pupil has a dentist appointment at 10.30am, we would expect the pupil to arrive at school for 8.50am, be collected before their appointment, and then to return in time for late morning/afternoon lessons.  If medical appointments are arranged during am or pm registration, these will only be authorised if we are provided with evidence of an appointment.

Attendance e-mail address:- attendance@nts.cumbria.sch.uk

Holiday During Term Time

The law does not grant parents an automatic right to take their child out of school during term time.  The Department for Education allows a headteacher the discretion to consider authorising a leave of absence in term time only in “exceptional circumstances”.

You may consider that a holiday will be educational but your child will still miss out on the teaching that their peers will receive whilst your child is away. Children returning from a leave of absence during term time are also unprepared for the lessons which build on the teaching they have missed.  Teachers then have to give more time to help individual children catch up on missed work.  This poses a potential risk of under-achievement for your child and other pupils in the class, which is something we all have a responsibility to avoid.

Parents/Carers need to request a leave of absence in writing by letter or e-mail.  If the holiday is not considered to be an exceptional circumstance, and you nevertheless take your child out of school for the leave of absence, this will be recorded as unauthorised leave.

All unauthorised absences, including holidays that have not been sanctioned by the headmaster, are accumulated and parents/carers who fail to ensure regular attendance of their children at school can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.  The amount as from 19th August 2024 is £80 (per parent/carer per child) if paid within 21 days; and £160 (per parent/carer per child) if paid between 21 and 28 days.  Failure to pay a Penalty Notice will result in prosecution, except in limited circumstances.  All leave of absence requests must be completed by e-mail or letter to the Headmaster.  This should be sent to the school at least 7 days before the start of the holiday.  All requests must be made prior to the leave being taken.  Leave cannot be authorised retrospectively.

In considering the decision whether to authorise absence, the following will be taken into account:

  • Reasons given for the holiday.
  • Any holiday leave taken in previous academic years (authorised or unauthorised).
  • Your child’s previous attendance record, this includes attendance in the current academic year, which should be over 95%, as well as attendance in previous academic years.
  • Whether your child will miss any tests/examinations (or important preparation for their tests)
  • Whether your child is making good progress.