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Fernhurst Primary School

Attendance and Punctuality

We encourage all children to have excellent attendance.

Regular school attendance brings enormous benefits to individual pupils, their families, schools and the community as a whole. Without regular attendance, levels of attainment suffer and opportunities are missed to obtain maximum benefit from education.

Persistent absence and lateness will affect a child’s achievement and progress in school. Comprehensive research shows that there is a direct link between a child’s level of school attendance and their level of school attainment.

As a parent it is your legal responsibility to ensure your child receives a suitable full time education. It is your responsibility that your child attends school each day and is on time.

It is important to set the expectation of good attendance right from the beginning of school so children grow up with ‘good habits’ that will support them throughout their life.

If your child is absent from school you must inform the school, on your StudyBugs app, giving a reason for the absence.  Absences once reported are either authorised or unauthorised by the school.

Authorised absences would include time off for religious observance, medical appointments and genuine illness. Please note that the school has the right to ask for proof of medical appointments and confirmation from a medical professional if a child’s level of absence is above that expected for a usually healthy child.

Unauthorised absences would include time off for birthday treats, family days out, holidays.  Ten unauthorised absences (five school days) within a one hundred session (fifty school day) period will result in a referral being made to West Sussex County Council.  This is likely to result in a Penalty Notice or legal action being taken, in line with Government guidance.  

If you need to make a medical or dentist appointment:

Medical appointments should where possible be made outside school hours.  When this is unavoidable, your child should be in school for the remainder of the school day, whether before or/and after the appointment.

Holidays & Leave of Absence

There is no legal entitlement to holidays or leave of absence during term time.

A leave of absence can now only be authorised in exceptional circumstances.  Holidays are not deemed to be exceptional circumstances and therefore will not be authorised.  If a parent wishes to request a Leave of Absence then a formal request must be made in writing stating the dates of the absence and giving details of the exceptional circumstances which they feel warrant the request.  A form for this purpose is available from the school office and any requests must be made in advance of the absence.


Having good attendance also means being on time and not being late to school. Children who arrive late can feel embarrassed, left out and miss out on important introductions to lessons. Punctuality is an essential life skill that needs to be taught from the very beginning.  Our school gates open at 8:30, the doors open from 8:40 and the school day starts promptly at 8:50.  

What happens if we are worried about your child’s school attendance?

Good attendance is 96% or more, if attendance is below 90% the child is classified as ‘persistently absent’ from school and this will have a negative impact on the child learning and may result in external support being sought to help improve attendance.

If we have concerns about your child’s attendance, we will contact you so that we can offer support and work together to make sure your child’s attendance is good. 

What you can do to help your child?
  • Make sure your child comes to school regularly and punctually.
  • Please support your child  in our efforts to encourage punctuality, good attendance and behaviour.
  • Take an interest in your child’s school work
  • If your child if off school, it is very important you phone the school office to tell us why. Staff will be concerned if they do not hear from you. 
  • If your child starts missing school, work with the school without delay to put things right. Communication is very important.

Please see our Attendance Policy for full details