The Willow School and Broadwaters' Children's Centre

Late and Absence Procedures

Come to School EVERYDAY.  Says Miss Ferdinand



It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure that their children arrive at school on time. Lateness can disrupt the learning of others and can result in a pupil feeling greater stress and achieving poorer outcomes.

Research shows a close link between attendance at school and a child’s achievement. Being late adds up to a loss of learning.

All time out of school affects both learning and achievement for pupils. Please make sure your child arrives at school on time. 

Unauthorised absence or your child being frequently late could result in a fine or prosecution.

Every school, by law, has to register pupils twice a day; at the start of the school day, and again in the afternoon session. If a pupil fails to attend (or arrives late) they can be marked as absent for that session.

 Lateness all adds up...




90% attendance means that your child is absent from lessons for the equivalent of one half day every week.

Over five years this is the equivalent of about half of a school year.

Absence procedures - Sickness

Inform the school before 9.30am on every day your child is absent from school due to illness.

Occasionally pupils are too unwell to attend school. The School will monitor and engage with parents as soon as a pattern of absence becomes apparent.

When deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. Ask yourself:

  • Is your child well enough to carry out the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home and consult your GP as appropriate.
  • Does your child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff? If so, keep your child at home.
  • Would you take a day off work if you had this condition? If so, keep your child at home.

Where a pupil is absent due to sickness and is genuinely unable to attend school,  then the school, after being informed, may authorise a child’s absence.

It is important to keep the school informed if your child is going to be absent at the start of the day. Please contact the school office.

In law only a headteacher can authorise a pupil’s absence, and may require additional evidence such as a letter from your GP. 

Unauthorised absence (truancy)

The law states that parent/carer(s) must ensure that their child regularly attends the school where they are registered. Should your child fail to attend school regularly, legal action may be taken against you.

Once a child is registered in school, attendance is compulsory until the academic year in which the child turns 16 (Year 11). It is a parent’s legal responsibility to ensure that their child, accesses education appropriate to age, needs and ability.


Legal powers

We have legal powers to take action via the courts for persistent non-attenders.

Under Section 444(1) of the Education Act of 1996, parent/carer(s) can be prosecuted for failure to ensure regular school attendance via the Magistrate Court. The penalty for an offence under this act can be a fine up to £1,000.

There is a more serious offence under Section 444(1a) (in circumstances where the parent knows that his/her child is failing to attend school regularly and fails without reasonable justification to cause him/her to do so) for which there is a maximum fine of £2,500, a term of imprisonment of up to 3 months, or both. A warrant could be issued requesting the defendant to attend court for sentencing.

We can also take action via the Family Proceedings Court under Section 36 of the Children Act 1989 and apply for an Education Supervision Order, making the LA (local authority) responsible for the education of the child. This action is taken to support parents.

We can serve School Attendance Orders under sections 437-443 of the Education Act 1996 in respect of pupils who are not registered at any school or registered to be receiving education rather than at school.


Family holidays and extended leave during term time

Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances, which came into force on 1st September 2013.


Penalty fine

Should a school not agree to grant leave and parents take their child on holiday regardless, then this will be counted as unauthorised absence (truancy). The school and our Attendance and Welfare Officer may consider issuing a Penalty Fine of £60/£120 for this period of unauthorised absence.

Please note the guidance at this time should follow the Government’s latest Covid-19 advice


 Some Common illness


Cough and cold

A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay off school, visit the GP and return to school 24 hours after they’re feeling better. If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, consult your GP, who can provide guidance on whether the child should stay off school.

Raised temperature

If your child has a raised temperature, they shouldn’t attend school. Follow Covid19 Guidance.


Rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions shouldn’t attend school. If your child has a rash, check with your GP or practice nurse before sending them to school.


A child with a minor headache doesn’t usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep the child off school and consult your GP. Follow Covid19 Guidance.

Vomiting and diarrhoea

Children with these conditions should be kept off school. They can return 48 hours after their symptoms disappear. Most cases of vomiting or diarrhoea get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, consult your GP.

Sore throat

A sore throat alone doesn’t have to keep a child from school. If it’s accompanied by a raised temperature, the child should stay at home. Follow the Government’s Covid19 guidance.