Absence and Illness
If your child or someone at home has symptoms of coronavirus, which include a recent onset of any of these symptoms:
a new continuous cough,
a high temperature, or
a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia),
You should keep them at home, and you must call NHS 111 and follow their guidance. Please also let the School Office know as soon as possible if your child is going to be absent, self-isolating or has been requested to have a test for COVID-19.
If you or your child has travelled abroad, then you must check the government guidance to see if you must quarantine/self-isolate on your return. You should let the School Office know if you or your child have been asked to do so.
If your child is advised or required to self-isolate by a health authority such as NHS 111 or a GP, their absence from school will be treated in a different way, and will not appear as Unauthorised Absence. It is, however, very important that you let the School Office know so that it can be marked correctly.
Any other absences should be reported in the normal way. From 1st September, children of compulsory school age are expected to attend school as usual, so unauthorised absences and Persistent Absence will be monitored and treated as detailed below.
It is vital to your child’s education that they come to school every day and on time. Absence can affect the routines of the child, the teacher and other children in the class and it has been proved that children who have lots of time off regularly (called ‘persistent absence’) may have difficulty later on in their school life, and persistent absence can even damage their life chances.
Parents and carers must make sure their child comes to school every day and on time for at least 95% of the school year, by law. You could be fined, taken to court or even imprisoned for failing to do this.
We want to support any parents or carers who feel that they need help with their child’s absence, so if you are concerned, please make an appointment to see the Head Teacher who will do her best to help.
If your child is unwell, has a medical appointment or there is an emergency
Absences because of unavoidable causes, such as illness, medical appointments that fall in school time, or immediate emergencies, are called authorised absences. In these cases, please send in a letter explaining the absence, even if you have already let us know by phone.
Children should stay at home for 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea.
The NHS Choices website has some guidance to help you decide whether your child should stay at home or attend school.
Visit NHS Choices page “Is my child too ill for school?” (opens in new tab)
The Hillingdon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has put together a guide to common illnesses in childhood and how to treat them, which you may find helpful.
A Parent/Guardian’s Guide to treating common childhood conditions (opens in new tab)
If your child is absent for any other reason
Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is the parent’s or carer’s legal responsibility, and permitting absence from school without a good reason is illegal and can result in prosecution.
In September 2013, the Government issued a directive to all schools in the UK that all exceptional leave is to be refused and will be recorded as unauthorised absences.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable. They are treated very seriously and can lead to the London Borough of Hillingdon’s Education Welfare Service using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. Absences of this type include:
Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
Truancy before or during the school day
Absences which have never been properly explained
Children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
Shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
Day trips, holidays, family functions or visiting relatives abroad in term time
Excessive illness without medical evidence
The school is required to inform the Participation Team at the London Borough of Hillingdon of any unauthorised absence and they could issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. The penalty is a fine of £60 per parent, per child – which rises to £120 per parent if it is not paid within 21 days.
If a child is consistently absent even after these sanctions, parents can be taken to court and be prosecuted.
Attendance panel meetings
If you have received a letter which asks you to come to an attendance panel meeting, it is because your child’s attendance has fallen below 95% for a long period of time and we would like to put a plan in place to help your child to attend school more often.
The Head Teacher, the Attendance Officer and a member of the Participation Team from London Borough of Hillingdon will be there. It is an opportunity for you to explain what has happened, and to highlight any worries you might have. The staff in attendance want to help you and your child, so they will plan any advice or support you might need.
After the meeting, the Head Teacher and teaching staff will support you as much as possible to boost your child’s attendance.
Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If your child misses the start of the day they can miss work and do not spend time with their class teacher getting vital information and news for the school day. Lateness can disrupt other pupils, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence.
The day starts at 8.55am and we expect your child to be in class at that time. Registers are returned to the office by 9.05am – any children who arrive between then and 9.30am will be given a late mark and recorded as an authorised absence.
At 9:30am the registers are closed. If your child arrives after that time they will receive a late mark and will be classified as an unauthorised absence. This means that you could face the possibility of a Penalty Notice if the problem continues.
If your child is late regularly you will be asked to meet with the Head Teacher and/or Attendance Officer to resolve the problem, but you can approach us at any time if you are having problems getting your child to school on time.
Supporting your child to attend regularly
While any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be worried about coming to school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually makes things worse.
You can support your child by:
keeping to regular and early bed times
helping with homework
having uniform and equipment prepared the night before
providing a healthy breakfast, or joining our Breakfast Club
reporting any academic or social concerns promptly
retaining open and honest communication with the school
being positive about school (even if your own experience was less than positive!)
encouraging your child to invite friends home for play dates.
If you have concerns about your child’s attendance or punctuality, please do not hesitate to contact the school to arrange an appointment with the Head Teacher.
Absence monitoring and improvement
We have targets to improve attendance and punctuality and your child has an important part to play in meeting these targets.
The minimum level of attendance for this school is set at 95% and we will keep you updated regularly about our progress and how your child’s attendance compares.
However, our aim is to achieve better than this, because we know that good attendance is the key to successful schooling. Therefore we closely monitor absences and punctuality throughout the school year to show us where improvements need to be made. We publish attendance figures in our weekly Newsletter which show the attendance levels of the academic year so far. We also hold Attendance Awards every fortnight in which the classes with the highest attendance in each year group are awarded the Attendance Cup. At the end of the school year, children whose attendance for the year exceeds 98% will be rewarded with a certificate and small prize.