Preston Primary (VC) School

Love, Learn, Aspire

"Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14


The importance of school attendance

Improving attendance is everyone's business. The barriers to accessing education are wide and complex, both within and beyond the school gates, and are often specific to individual pupils and families. The foundation of securing good attendance is that school is a calm, orderly, safe, and supportive environment where all pupils want to be and are keen and ready to learn. (Working together to improve school attendance, DfE)


The pupils with the highest attainment at the end of KS2 have higher rates of attendance over the key stage compared to those with lowest attainment. (Working together to improve school attendance, DfE)


Any absence from school will affect your child's academic progress. Therefore, absence during term time will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances.


It is important that everyone works together to improve attendance at Preston Primary VC School. The School wants to work with parents and/or carers to improve attendance for each child to ensure children have access to learning. At Preston, we believe children have three basic rights:

* The right to feel and be safe

* The right to respect

* The right to an education

It is the legal responsibility of each parent to ensure that their child receives that education. If the parent has registered their child at a school, the parent has an additional legal duty to ensure their child attends school regularly. There may be a small number of allowable circumstances for the child not to attend school, for example when the child is too unwell to attend or in exceptional circumstances. 

Current Attendance Figures

This is shared every Friday via the newsletter and during Celebration Assembly.


Overall Attendance

School: 95.0%

National: 94.7%


This means that 7,711 sessions out of a possible 8,120 have been attended since 5 September 2023. This means that, on average, children have lost the equivalent of three school days.

Day-to-day processes

Parents have a duty to inform the school of an absence as soon as possible but not later than 9:00am on the first day of absence. If a child is going to be late, parents have duty to report this as soon as possible. A child arriving after 9:15am will be recorded as unauthorised unless other authorised circumstances are agreed.


If children are not in school, and the school has not been informed of the absence, the school will contact parents/carers or contacts made available by parents on Arbor. This process will start at 9:00am, once the register close. The school will continue contacting everyone on the contact list until a reason for the absence is given. The school therefore requires that at least three contacts are available in order to make sure a responsible adult can be reached. Failing to reach any contact, the school may need to contact external services for example Children's Services or the Police in order to make sure the child is safe. It is therefore imperative that parents inform the school of an absence as soon as possible, but not later than 9:00am on the first day of absence/late arrival.


It is expected of parents to keep the school informed on subsequent days of absence but the school will follow up if the time of absence is deemed unreasonable.


For late arrivals, the school must be informed of the child's lunch choices in advance as children arriving late may not be able to order a school dinner. 

School processes when attendance becomes a concern

(In line with Local Authority guidance):


Action Plan put in place for pupil.


PERSISTENTLY (90% and below) AND SEVERELY ABSENT (50% and below) PUPILS

  • Additional targeted support to be put in place.
  • Where necessary, school will be working with external partners.
  • joint approach agreed with local authorities for all severely absent pupils


If attendance falls below 95%

  • 1st letter sent to parents.
  • Pupil checklist to be completed.


If attendance continues to fall:

  • 93% or below
  • 2nd letter sent to parents.
  • Consider whether medical evidence may be required for absences.
  • If pupil is presenting with anxiety/mental health DfE guidance will be consulted.
  • Parent meeting will be offered to discuss attendance and agree a support plan.
  • FPN Warning Letter sent to parents if school can evidence non-compliance/non-engagement with strategies recommended by the school and absences are unauthorised.
  • FPN can be sent after one day (2 sessions) of unauthorised absence if attendance continues to fall.
  • Consider whether an Attendance Assessment Meeting with parents would be beneficial.
  • Local Authority Attendance Officer could be asked to join the Assessment Meeting.


Unauthorised holiday/absence

  • Send FPN (Fixed Penalty Notice) Warning Letter.
  • Warning letters should be sent as soon as the first unauthorised absences occur.



  • Students who arrive after the registers have closed am or pm should be unauthorised for that session (children must not be later than 9:30am as per DfE guidance)
  • After 2 unauthorised session, a FPN Warning Letter will be sent.


Weekly Monitoring (Applies to all of the above)

  • When 15 sessions of unauthorised absence are reached, apply to Local Authority for FPN to be issued.
  • A warning letter will be sent in the same term that any application is submitted.
  • Severely absent pupils:
    • Pupils with 50% attendance or below.
    • Top priority for support.
    • Support may include a whole family plan, consideration for an EHCP, or alternative form of educational provision.
    • Action plan will be in place to ensure all processes have been followed.
    • Local Authority may decline FPN to ensure support action plan is in place.
  • Consider whether Statutory Casework should be the next step. (A request for this is to be used when consideration is required in relation to statutory legal interventions.)
  • Schools must be able to demonstrate that they have explored and implemented appropriate targeted support to remove barriers to attendance, including an Assess/Plan/Do/Review approach.
  • Complete a Service Request Form (chronology of support offered and registration certificate will be required) requesting statutory assessment.
  • All Service Request Forms will be assessed and reviewed by the headteacher, who will allocate to a LAAO for an attendance statutory assessment if appropriate.


For the avoidance of doubt, schools may contact their link Local Authority Attendance  Officer at any time to discuss whether a penalty notice application is appropriate.


Decision on who decides what ‘regular’ attendance is was ruled on in the High Court:


Isle of Wight Council (Appellant) v Platt (Respondent) - 6 April 2017


As concluded in this case – “in section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996, “regularly” means “in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school”.

Attendance Records

Registers are legal records and the school will preserve every entry in the attendance register for 3 years from the date of entry.

Guidance Documents

Daily processes to follow up absence

Preston Primary VC School - Attendance Policy Nov 23

Hertfordshire Code of Conduct - Fixed Penalty Notices