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Attendance and Punctuality Expectations

Astor Secondary School believes that excellent attendance and punctuality is the key for our student’s success. It is the foundation upon which the school and home must work together to ensure attendance and punctuality are the highest they possibly can be.  Excellent attendance and punctuality help to prepare our students for their future adult life, and we request from parents’ your full support in order to keep absenteeism and lateness to an absolute minimum.

At Astor Secondary School we strive for every student to attain 100% attendance and in line with the Government and Local Authority Guidelines, we expect all our students to achieve a minimum of 97% attendance.    

All students are expected to arrive on time, ready for lessons, by 8.45am.  Any student who arrives in late into school will be marked as late and regularly arriving late will result in a sanction. 

What is good attendance?

There are 190 school days in a year leaving a remaining 175 days for family celebrations, holidays and days out.  Each year, a number of students in every year group achieve 100% attendance records, showing that this is an achievable target. In addition, a number of students have achieved this level of attendance in successive years. Astor Secondary School expects all our students to achieve a minimum of 97% attendance allowing for some unavoidable absence.

Attendance percentages are not like examination results: an attendance percentage needs to be in the high nineties before it can be considered good. Consider the following examples: –

  • An attendance record of 90% might seem good but is equal to missing half a day every week.  A potential 152 hours of lost learning each year.  If this continues from Years 7 to 11, a total of six month’s education will be lost.
  • An attendance record of 80% might seem acceptable but is equal to 1 day missed per week. If this continues from Years 7 to 11, a total of one year’s education will be lost.

Why is good attendance important?

Good attendance at school is vital for pupils to achieve their full educational potential. Pupils with good attendance records benefit in the following ways: –

  • Continuity of learning which makes progress and retention easier
  • Improved performance in coursework tasks
  • Enhanced performance in examinations
  • Continuity of relationships and friendships
  • Good references for further education or employment
  • Good habits are formed for later life

What can parents do to support their child to achieve good attendance levels?

Parents play a very important role in ensuring the good attendance records of their children. Below is a list of suggested strategies: –

  • Encourage full attendance.
  • Stress the importance of full attendance to your child.
  • Do not allow your child to have time off for minor complaints or illnesses: if they are well enough to be up and about, they are generally well enough to attend school.
  • Monitor your child’s attendance.
  • Take any vacations in school holidays, not during term time. 
  • Try to book any medical or dental appointments out of school hours or make them towards the very end of the school day.  Please note the academy will not authorise all day absence for medical appointments.  
  • Ensure your child is punctual to the school.
  • If your child is unable to attend school, please telephone 01304 200105 and leave a message or contact us via Parentmail.   Please confirm your child’s full name, year and form and the reason for the absence.  Parents are expected to contact the school every day their child is absent.


Only the Headteacher can authorise an absence. An explanation given by a parent is not necessarily sufficient for the academy to authorise an absence.

According to guidelines to schools from the Department for Education, an absence may only be authorised if the absence is due to: –

  • Pupil illness (if authorised by the Headteacher). 
  • “Leave” granted by the Headteacher (this commonly includes medical appointments, interviews, and other similar special circumstances).  However, medical appointments should be scheduled out of school hours whenever possible.  Please note all-day absence for medical appointments with not be authorised.  Evidence of medical appointments/interviews will need to be supplied to the school.
  • The pupil being unable to attend due to unavoidable causes – authorised at the discretion of the Headteacher.
  • Religious observance where applicable.

Absences which the school is not able to authorise include: –

  • Looking after a relative, pet etc.
  • A shopping trip, even if this is for uniform.
  • Day trips.
  • Lateness after the register has closed.
  • Being unable to participate in a school activity e.g., games or a school trip.
  • Remaining at home to wait for deliveries, repairmen etc.

What can I do if my child starts missing school?

Children can show their worries and concerns in a variety of ways e.g., a reluctance to go to school, feigning illness, failure to attend school even though the child is sent, poor behaviour or missing lessons whilst in school. If a problem seems to be emerging parents should: –

  • Talk to the child to try to ascertain if there are any problems or worries at school, on the journey to or from school or at home.
  • Contact the school as soon as possible.  The attendance team or your child’s wellbeing and welfare officer can be contacted throughout the school day on 01304 201151 or email at  They will be happy to help you and your child with any concerns you may have around attendance.

Leave in Term Time

Any absence, including absence for holidays, interrupts the continuity of student’s learning. Parents/carers are strongly urged not to take students out of school for holidays during term time.  Government Legislation now states that holidays during term time cannot be authorised except in exceptional circumstances.  Please refer to the attendance information leaflet for parents/carers

What are the Penalties? 

If an Education Penalty Notice is issued the penalty is £60 per parent per child when the payment is made within 21 days. If payment is not made within 21 days, the penalty amount will double to £120 per parent per child and must be paid by the 28th day of issue.  

Failure to pay within 28 days will result in a summons to appear before the Magistrates’ Court on the grounds that you have failed to secure your child’s regular attendance at School.  If the case progresses to Court, you may receive a fine of up to £1,000. 

Persistent Absence

A student becomes a persistent absentee when they miss 10% of their schooling across the academic year for whatever reason.  Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents’/carers’ full support and co-operation to tackle this. 

Statutory Requirements, the Law and the Local Authority

Registers are legal documents; regulatory requirements placed on schools regarding the keeping of registers are to be found in the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006.         

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that parents/carers are responsible to ensure their child receives a suitable education.

Under section 444 of the Education Act 1996, a parent who fails to ensure their child attends the school at which they are registered, is guilty of an offence.

The school works together with the Local Authority to ensure that parents/carers fulfil their responsibility. There are a range of legal sanctions that may be imposed for dealing with unauthorised absence: Education Penalty Notices, Parenting Contracts and Orders, Education Supervision Orders or referral to the Magistrates Court which can recommend fines of up to £2,500 or up to 3 months in prison.


Kent County Council, Education Penalty Notices, Code of Conduct