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Margaret Wix Primary School

Attendance and Punctuality


Being in school matters

We want all the children attending Margaret Wix Primary School and Nursery to achieve their full potential. To do that it’s really important that they attend school regularly, providing they are fit and healthy enough to do so. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school. We really want your child to enjoy being at school and for you to feel that school is a positive and enriching experience. So do talk to us if you have any concerns about attendance.


The school day runs 8.40am for a 5 minute soft start. Classroom doors close at 8.45am and the end of the day is 3.15pm.

What can parents/carers do to encourage regular attendance?

  • Set regular patterns of attendance from when your child starts school.
  • Take an interest in your child’s school life by talking to your child about school and what goes on there.
  • Contact us as soon as your child is experiencing any difficulties and work with us in any way you can to help your child to overcome any difficulties.
  • Attend Parent/Carer Evenings.
  • Don’t condone absence, make medical and dental appointments outside of school time whenever possible.
  • If your child has to be late for whatever reason inform school beforehand or before 9.00am on the day.
  • Try to make non urgent appointments for outside of school hours and always return to school after an appointment.

The school sets a target of 97% attendance annually and this is discussed regularly with both pupils and parents. To encourage active steps towards meeting this a weekly Golden Clock is presented to the class with the highest attendance (pupils with exceptional / serious medical circumstances are removed from this calculation, so as not to adversely affect outcomes). In addition, attendance figures are shared with parents at regular intervals throughout the year. 

How to report absence

If your child is ill please inform us by telephone (01727 759232) or email ( on each day of absence by 9:00am, giving a reason for why your child will not be attending school. Messages may be left on the attendance voicemail if you are unable to get through to a member of the office team. 

Illness and attending school

Mostly it’s very clear to parents when a child is not fit to go to school. But sometimes it’s harder to make that call, and often it’s not easy to judge when it’s right for a sick child to return.

If you’re not sure what to do for best, please call us. We have plenty of experience and information we can share with you. Children can attend school if they are taking medicines. However, we can only give children prescribed medication if a form has been filled in which is available from the office.

Advice from a medical professional is really important if your child has an infectious illness (like measles, rubella, chicken pox, mumps, vomiting, diarrhoea, or impetigo, for example). Check with your family doctor, or use the first link below to open or download a PDF file with advice about infection control and guidance on how long to keep children away from school or nursery if they have various illnesses or infections. Children with rashes should be considered infectious and assessed by their doctor.

NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.

Guidance on infection control in schools

Unauthorised Absence

If a child is not in school and we do not receive an explanation, then the absence will be treated as ‘unauthorised’. In other words, we did not authorise the absence. Even if a medical professional has advised you to keep your child at home, please let us know as soon as possible with supporting evidence.

Staff mark the class register at the beginning of every morning and afternoon. The registers have to show whether an absence is authorised or not. We are obliged to provide figures concerning absence to the Department for Education on a regular basis, and we also work closely with the local authority’s Attendance Improvement Officer. In exceptional circumstances the local authority may issue a Penalty Notice (£60 fine) or even prosecute parents for their child’s irregular attendance.

Please remember that any child who arrives more than ten minutes late in the morning (8.55am) will be recorded as having an unauthorised absence for the morning session. Things do go wrong for all of us from time to time, but if you have a problem one morning, please let us know!

Exceptional Circumstances

Schools may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  It is the decision of the Headteacher as to what might constitute exceptional circumstances and each request for term time leave will be considered on an individual basis.

Guidelines for exceptional leave

  • It is acceptable to take a pupil’s record of attendance into account when making absence related decisions.
  • If an event or leave can be reasonably scheduled outside of term-time then it would be not normal to authorise absence for such an event – holidays are therefore not considered as ‘exceptional circumstances’.
  • Absence to visit seriously-ill relatives or for a bereavement of close family member are usually considered to amount to ‘exceptional circumstances’, but for the funeral service only, not for extended leave.
  • Absences for important religious observances are often taken into account but only for the ceremony and travelling time, again, not for extended leave. This is intended for one-off situation rather than regular or recurring events.


Please try to arrange routine dental checks and eye tests in school holidays or at the weekend. Sadly we know that sometimes children will need to attend a hospital or other health-related appointment in school time and naturally we would authorise absence for such important cases. Parents/Carers should bring the appointment letter into school before the day of the appointment and children should attend school before and/or after an appointment if time allows.

Research suggests that just 16 days of absence over an academic year (92% attendance) can equal an approximate drop of 30% in attainment.  


Attendance during one school year

Equivalent number of days absent

Equivalent number of weeks absent

Equivalent number of lessons missed


















Penalty Notices

Margaret Wix Primary School and Nursery is required to notify the Local Education Authority of any pupil who has recorded more than 10 sessions of unauthorised absence in a single academic year. The Local Authority can issue Fixed Penalty Notices under Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act in cases where parents do not take responsibility for ensuring their child’s regular attendance at school.  An accumulation of 10 sessions (5 days) of unauthorised absence places families at risk of this penalty.

The Penalty Notice fine is £60.00 and is per child and per parent.  If the fine is not paid within 21 calendar days of issue, it will be increased to £120.00.  If the penalty is still not paid within 28 days you will be prosecuted under Section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996.  You will be prosecuted for failing to ensure that your child(ren) attend(s) school on a regular basis, i.e. not for the non payment of the penalty.

For continued non payment you could be subject to a fine of up to £2,500.


It is vital that children attend school on time each day, so they do not miss valuable learning time. Being 15 minutes late each day is equivalent to missing two weeks of school over an academic year.  Being late can also be stressful for children and disrupt the learning of the rest of the class. 


Minutes late each dayEquivalent amount of school time missed
5 minutes late3.4 school days each year
10 minutes late6.9 school days each year
15 minutes late10.3 school days each year
20 minutes late13.8 school days each year 
30 minutes late20.7 school days each year


Children arriving at school later than 8:45am should arrive via the school office to be marked LATE in the register and to select their lunch choice.

Children who are late must be escorted to the school office by an adult. Please do not drop latecomers off at the school gate to make their own way in. 

A copy of the school's Attendance and Punctuality Policy can be found on our policy page.

A-Z of attendance