Brighton Hill Community School

with specialist sports status

Brighton Hill Community School

with specialist sports status
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Home >> Information >> Policies >> 22. Attendance

Published on - 12-02-2015

22. Attendance

School attendance is subject to various Education laws and this school attendance policy is written to reflect these laws and the guidance produced by the Department for Education.
This policy is linked to the following legislation:

1. The Education Act 1996 Part 1, Section 7.

This states that:
The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive efficient full-time education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. The Education should be suitable-
[a]  To his/her age, ability and aptitude and
[b]  To any special needs he/she may have.

For educational purposes the term parent is used to include those that have parental responsibility and/or those that have the day to day care of the child. The legislation that appertains to children who are of compulsory school age and are registered at school is contained within this Act. Part V1 Section 444 contains the details of when an offence is committed if a child fails to attend school.

2. ‘The Education [Student Registration] (England) Regulations 2006’
This contains the legal requirements for the keeping of registration and rolls.


  • Brighton Hill Community School is committed to providing a full and efficient education to all students and embraces the concept of equal opportunities for all.
  • We will endeavour to provide an environment where all students feel valued and welcome.
  • For a child to reach their full educational achievement a high level of school attendance is essential. We will consistently work towards a goal of 100% attendance for all children. Every opportunity will be used to convey to students and their parents or carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance.
  • To identify patterns of poor and falling attendance at the earliest opportunity, under the direction of the Education Welfare Assistant (EWA) in conjunction with Flexible Learning Centre Staff, Tutors and Heads of Year.
  • To celebrate improving and consistently good attendance.
  • To provide early intervention strategies for those students whose attendance is below acceptable levels. 
  • The school will review its systems for improving attendance, using the DfE document ‘Effective Attendance Practice in schools’ at regular intervals to ensure that it is achieving its set goals.
  •  This policy will contain within it the procedures that the school will use to meet its attendance targets.

School Procedures
Any child who is absent from school at the morning or afternoon registration period must have their absence recorded as being authorised, unauthorised or as an approved educational activity [attendance out of school]. Only the Head Teacher or a member of staff acting on their behalf can authorise absence. If there is no known reason for the absence at registration, then the absence must be recorded in the first instance as unauthorised.

1. A. Taking a register, for all sessions and lessons

  • All sessions (registration periods) and lessons will be completed through SIMS
  • The register should be taken within the first 5 minutes of every session/lesson
  • The member of staff must only use one of the following codes:
    • / = Present    (Visible within the class)
    • N = Unauthorised Absence (No reason yet provided for absence; not in the class)
    • L = Late    (Late to class adding the number of minutes late [by right clicking])
  • If SIMS is ‘down’, a paper register must be taken and sent, via a student, to the Education Welfare Assistant (EWA)

B. Taking a register, morning registration tutor time

  • Registers are taken in accordance to the procedures above in 1A
  • All notes, information and evidence of absences, along with any other reasons or evidence must be sent/taken to the EWA for approval. Members of staff must not enter any other code for attendance other than those listed in 1A above (/, N or L). If the note/evidence is within the students planner, the member of staff should note the reason, taking this to the EWA, with all relevant points being detailed (date of absence, reason for absence, information provided by)

2. A. Lateness and Punctuality

  • Morning registration will take place at the start of school at 8.25am.
  • The registers will remain open for 30 minutes, from 8.45am. Any student arriving after this time (9.15am) will be marked as having an unauthorised absence unless there is an acceptable explanation i.e. school transport was delayed. In cases for example, where the absence at registration was for attending an early morning medical appointment, the appropriate authorised absence code will be entered, on receipt of a note/evidence being provided (see 1B above).
  • The school gates will be locked at 09.00am after this time students must enter through main reception and sign in with the EWA.
  • The afternoon registration will open at 2.15pm and student’s afternoon registration will take place during Period 6; the registers will close at 2.45pm.

B. Lateness during morning registration tutor time (8.25-8.45am)

  • Students arriving after the start of school but before the end of the registration period will be treated for statistical purposes, as present, but will be coded by the member of staff taking the morning register as late (L).
  • The member of staff must record the exact number of minutes the student was late (by right clicking).
  • The member of staff (usually the Tutor) as a result will then complete a SIMS referral for ‘Late to School’, resolving it in line with the school Behaviour Management Policy, Appendix 1.

C1. Lateness after morning registration tutor time but before the register closes (after 8.45am but before 9.15am)

  • Students arriving after the end of the registration period but before the register closes will be treated for statistical purposes, as present, but will be coded by the EWA as late (L) after registers close.
  • The EWA must record the exact number of minutes the student was late
  • The EWA as a result will then complete a SIMS referral for ‘Late to School’, sending it to the appropriate Tutor (see Behaviour Management Policy Appendix 1)

C2. Lateness after the register closes (after 9.15am)

  • Students arriving after the register closes will be treated for statistical purposes, as unauthorised absence for the morning session, and will be coded by the EWA as late (U) after registers close.
  • The EWA must record the exact number of minutes the student was late
  • The EWA as a result will then complete a SIMS referral for ‘Late to School’, sending it to the appropriate Head of Year (see Behaviour Management Policy Appendix 1) for a Head of Year detention in line with policy

Any extenuating circumstances, under C2 above, will be at the supervising member of staffs’ discretion.

D. ‘Late Gate’ Supervision (from 8.25-8.45am)

  • At given points throughout the academic year, identified weeks and specific days, Flexible Learning Centre (FLC) staff and Heads of Year will operate the ‘Late Gate’ up to 8.45am.
  • The school gates will be locked at 8.25am requiring late students to enter through reception.
  • Up to 8.45am:
  • FLC staff and Heads of Year will stop, question and record the following information for each late student:   
    • Name and Tutor Group
    • Reason for lateness:
      • If a written reason is provided, or contact has been made by home, the appropriate registration code is recorded, no further action taken.
      • If NO written reason is provided, a SIMS referral is completed for ‘Late to School’ and is sent to the appropriate Tutor
  • If after 8.45am:
  • The above process is followed by the EWA / FLC staff, with them completing a SIMS referral, if necessary sending it to the Tutor (or if after 9.15am to Head of Year)

Any extenuating circumstances, under D above, will be at the supervising member of staffs’ discretion.

3. First Day Absence

  • We expect to receive contact from a parent to explain the reason for the students’ absence at the earliest opportunity. An answer phone system is in operation outside of school hours.
  • If no parental contact has been made, and a student is absent, the EWA will attempt to contact a named person with parental responsibility with the details held on SIMS by 9.30am.
  • Once the EWA has attempted to make contact they will input the appropriate code into the register.

4. Third Day Absence (when no contact from home has been received)

  • If your child is not seen and contact has not been established with you or any of the named parents/carers after three days of absence the school is required to start a child missing in education procedures as set down by Hampshire County Council (HCC) guidance. We will make all reasonable enquires to establish contact with parents and the child including making enquires to known friends, wider family.
  • The EWA passes the details to the Family Support Advisor (FSA), who continues to seek parental contact.
  • A letter is sent to the parent requesting they contact BHCS to explain the absence. If the absence is medical a Doctor’s note may be required in order for the absence to be authorised. This is at the discretion of the Head Teacher or their nominated representative.

5. Continuing Absence (if, still, no contact from home has been received)
The Family Support Advisor will continue to seek Parental contact to explain the absence.  At this point any other agencies that have an ongoing involvement with the absent student will be notified of the student’s absence by the FSA, either by email or telephone.

6. Ten Day’s Absence
Any student who is absent without an explanation for 10 consecutive days will be notified to the Local Authority, by submitting a referral to Children’s Services/Attendance Legal Panel (ALP).  The school will include details of the action that they have taken.

7. Persistent Absence

  • t is the responsibility of the EWA, Heads of Year to be aware of and bring to the attention of a nominated member of SLT, any emerging attendance concerns.
  • In cases where a student begins to develop a pattern of absences, the school will try to resolve the problem with the parent/carers. If this is unsuccessful the school will refer to the School Health Adviser if the problem appears to be a medical one. In other cases the school will seek advice from Children’s Services Locality Team.
  • Student’s attendance is monitored appropriately at different thresholds. The thresholds of monitoring, support and intervention are:
    • 95% and above: tutor, monitors and communicates with child/home
    • 90-95% authorised absences: tutor, monitors and communicates directly about absences, in order to support and prevent further decline/absences
    • 90-95% unauthorised absences: tutor and EWA communicate with home, establishing reasons for absences; monitor until next published figures, review, SSP if no improvement
    • 85-90%: Head of Year holds a Pre-EPM meeting with child and home, action plan agreed; review after 20 sessions (Diagnose – Therapy – Test); no improvement = FLC referral
    • Below 85%: FLC oversee, contact home/child, refer to Appendix (ii), consider Penalty Notice and/or Attendance Legal Panel (ALP) referral

All meetings with families are to support improvements in attendance, are to discuss possible reasons for absence and agree a monitoring period to secure improvement through realistic targets; this is likely to include involvement of the school FSA

8. Penalty Notices for Non Attendance and other Legal Measures
In Education law, parents/carers are committing an offence if they fail to ensure the regular attendance of their child of compulsory school age at the school at which the child is registered, unless the absence has been authorised by the school.

A. Legal Measures for tackling persistent absence or lateness
Hampshire Schools and Hampshire County Council will use the full range of legal measures to secure good attendance. Legal measures will only be considered through a referral to Hampshire’s Attendance Legal Panels where:

i. The child or family do not require the support from any agency to improve the attendance
ii. The child has 40 or more sessions of unauthorised absence within a rolling calendar year (12 month period).

The following legal measures are for pupils of compulsory school age who are registered at a school:

  • Parenting contracts set at Education Planning Meetings 
  • Parenting orders
  • Penalty notices
  • Education Supervision Orders
  • Prosecution

Where a child has unauthorised absence the school must enforce Hampshire’ s Code of Conduct for issuing Penalty Notices or follow its guidance on other Legal Measures for Non-Attendance. The Code of Conduct is a statutory document that ensures that powers for legal sanctions are applied consistently and fairly across all schools and their families within the authority. A copy is available from: Possible penalties for non-attendance

B. Penalty Notices for non-attendance: Hampshire’s Code of Conduct

The code of conduct states that:

Schools or Hampshire Local Authority can issue a Penalty Notice if:

  • a pupil has 40 or more unauthorised sessions within a rolling calendar year (equating to a 90% (or lower) attendance rate for the 12 month period). Authorised absence will not be included in this total.
  • The 12 month rolling period is calculated from the last day of unauthorised absence once the 40 session threshold has been met and may inevitably straddle academic years, particularly at the start of the autumn term.

So for example, a pupil returns to school in September and then parents request leave of absence for term time holiday early in the autumn term. Due to the way that SIMs calculates % absence the pupil may very quickly register an absence rate of 90% or less. In this circumstance schools need to look back over the previous academic year to calculate up to a 12 month period of possible school attendance and re-run the SIMs report from that date to recalculate to ensure that there are 40 sessions of unauthorised absence.

In another example, a pupil may have had poor attendance last academic year and the pattern continues in the autumn term. In this circumstance the school may wish to monitor carefully and review regularly, when the pupil reaches a 90% threshold over a 12 month period, then a penalty notice may be issued. In this situation it would be advisable that parents are warned that legal intervention may be forthcoming and that the pupil’s absence is being carefully monitored.

  • The issuing of penalty notices solely for non-attendance by a pupil at a statutory assessment or formal examination has been withdrawn. Schools should code absence when a pupil should be sitting an examination as unauthorised (code ‘O’). This unauthorised session will contribute to the 40 or more sessions required for penalty notice issue.

Parents and Carers will be warned of the likelihood of a penalty notice being issued for unauthorised absence either via a letter, through the leave of absence request form, or through the schools attendance policy and website. The Penalty Notice is a fine that is issued to each parent/carer who condoned (or was responsible for the child) during the period of unauthorised absence for which the fine has been issued. For each case of unauthorised absence the school or Hampshire County Council will decide whether a Penalty Notice is issued to one or more parent/carers for each child. N.B This could mean four penalty notices for a family with two siblings both with unauthorised absence for holiday i.e. one PN for each child to each parent

Each penalty notice carries a fine of £60 if paid within 21 days of the penalty notice being posted. If the fine is not paid within 21 days the Penalty is automatically increased to £120 if paid within 28 days. If the fine remains unpaid the Hampshire County Council will consider prosecution for the non-attendance. Payment methods are detailed on the Penalty Notices themselves. Penalties are to be paid to Hampshire County Council and revenue resulting from payment of Penalties is used by the County Council to help cover the costs of issuing Penalty Notices and/or the cost of prosecuting recipients who do not pay.

For further information parents/carers can request a leaflet from their school and should visit Hampshire County Councils website at: Possible penalties for non-attendance

9. A Welcome Back

  • It is important that on return from an absence that all students are made to feel welcome. This should include ensuring that the student is helped to catch up on missed work and brought up to date on any information that has been passed to the other students.
  • In cases where the school have been made aware that a student will be absent for an extended length of time due to medical reasons appropriate work shall be placed on the VLE by the students subject teachers.

10. Absence notes
Notes received from parents explaining absence should be kept for the remainder of the academic year by the EWA. If there are attendance concerns about the student, that may require further investigation, then the notes may need to be retained for a longer period.
Students’ absence notes will be kept in individual student files, once processed by the EWA.

11. Promoting attendance
The school will use opportunities as they arise to remind parents/carers, that it is their responsibility to ensure that their children receive their education.
A dedicated page within the school planner will allow each student to plot their monthly attendance as a bar chart and accumulative attendance as a line graph.

12. Leave of Absence Requests
Regular and punctual attendance at school is a legal requirement, as well as essential if
students are to maximise their educational opportunities.

In law, parents/carers are committing an offence if they fail to ensure the regular and punctual attendance of their child at the school at which the child is registered, unless the absence has been authorised by the school. Only schools have the power to authorise or grant a leave of absence.

  • Leave of Absence in term time will not be authorised unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • The application must be made in advance and the Headteacher must be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances which warrant the requested leave.  Where a leave of absence is granted, the Head teacher will determine the number of days a student can be away from school.  A leave of absence is granted entirely at the Head teacher’s discretion; please refer to the schools Leave of Absence Form, Appendix (i) and Penalty Notice: Advice to Parents & Carers, Appendix (ii) of this policy.

In addition, a Leave of Absence Form must be completed in advance for either of the situations below; authorisation is at the discretion of the Headteacher on an individual, case by case request:

  • Leave of absence through child participation in Public Performances, including theatre, film or TV work and modelling
  • Leave of absence through competing at regional, county or national level for Sport

13. Attendance Awards
Monthly Attendance figures for each Tutor Group will be published; the EWA and an Administrative assistant will be responsible for providing Heads of Year with figures for their Year Group. The EWA will publish and distribute to Tutors through each Tutor Folder allowing students to complete the Attendance page within their School Planner.
Termly, accumulative, certificates will be awarded to all students who achieve 100% attendance, and to those who achieve 95% or above.
Positive attendance, individually and collectively are celebrated through the House Cup, points being allocated according to the given criteria.
A monthly trophy is awarded to the tutor group with the highest attendance.

14. The registration system
The School will use a computerised SIMS system for keeping the school attendance records.  The following national codes will be used to record attendance information. Those codes in bold text are for unauthorised absences.





Present (AM)


Present (PM)



Educational Activity

Educated off site (NOT Dual registration)


Authorised Absence

Other Authorised Circumstance


Approved Education Activity

Dual registration (i.e. student attending other establishment)


Authorised absence

Excluded (no alternative provision made)


Authorised absence

Extended family holiday (agreed)


Unauthorised absence

Family holiday (NOT agreed or days in excess of agreement)


Authorised absence

Family holiday (agreed)


Authorised absence

Illness (NOT medical or dental etc. appointments)


Approved Education Activity




Late (before registers closed)


Authorised absence

Medical/Dental appointments


Unauthorised absence

No reason yet provided for absence


Unauthorised absence

Unauthorised absence (not covered by any other code/description)


Approved Education Activity

Approved sporting activity


Authorised absence

Religious observance


Study leave

Authorised absence


Authorised absence

Traveller absence


Unauthorised absence

Late (after registers closed)


Approved Education Activity

Educational visit or trip


Approved Education Activity

Work experience


Not counted in possible attendances

Un timetabled sessions for non-compulsory school-age students


Not counted in possible attendances

Enforced closure


Not counted in possible attendances

Student not yet on roll


Not counted in possible attendances

School closed to students

Registers by law must be kept for at least 3 years.
Computer registers must be printed out at least once a month and bound into annual volumes.

15. Register Security
Registers are stored electronically with access through a password protected system, only teaching staff that hold current CRB/DBS Certificates have access. Physical records are kept in a locked filing cabinet within a secure office.

16. Categorisation of Absence
 In accordance with the document:
 T:Tutor GroupsHeads of HouseAttendanceDfE School Attendance Guidance (Nov 2016).pdf

Any student who is on roll but not present in the school must be recorded within one of these categories.
1. Unauthorised Absence
2. Authorised Absence
3. Approved Educational Activity

1. Unauthorised absence
This is for those students where no reason has been provided, or whose absence is deemed to be without valid reason.

2. Authorised absence
This is for those students who are away from school for a reason that is deemed to be valid under the Education Act 1996.

3. Approved Educational Activity
This covers types of supervised educational activity undertaken off site but with the approval of the school. Note: Students recorded in this category are deemed to be present for attendance returns purposes.
This would include:

  • Work experience placements
  • Field trips and educational visits
  • Sporting activities
  • Link courses or approved education off site 
  • Most types of dual registration

Appendix (i) and (ii)

 (i)  Leave of Absence Form
 (ii) Penalty Notice: Advice to Parents & Carers

Policy Reviewed:   November 2016
Ratified:                 November 2016
Next Review:         November 2017

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