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Attendance & Leave of Absence Requests

The Importance of Good Attendance

The Firs Lower believes that in order to facilitate teaching and learning, good attendance is essential. Pupils cannot achieve their full potential if they do not regularly attend school. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Pupils with poor attendance tend to achieve less throughout their education. 

We understand that barriers to attendance are complex, and that some pupils find it harder than others to attend school; therefore, we will continue to prioritise cultivating a safe and supportive environment at school, as well as strong and trusting relationships with pupils and parents.

As the diagram below powerfully shows, however, attendance below 96% (our overall school target) represents a significant amount of lost learning:

We take a whole-school approach to securing good attendance and recognise the impact that our efforts in other areas – such as the curriculum, behaviour standards, bullying, SEND support, pastoral support, and the effective use of resources such as pupil premium – can have on improving pupil attendance.

We are committed to:

  • Promoting and modelling high attendance and its benefits

  • Ensuring equality and fairness for all 

  • Ensuring our attendance policy is clear and easily understood by staff, pupils and parents

  • Intervening early and working with other agencies to ensure the health and safety of our pupils

  • Building strong relationships with families to overcome barriers to attendance

  • Working collaboratively with other schools in the area, as well as other agencies

  • Ensuring parents follow the framework set in section 7 of the Education Act 1996, which states that the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause them to receive efficient full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude, and to any SEND they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise

  • Regularly monitoring and analysing attendance and absence data to identify pupils or cohorts that require more support

The school’s attendance lead is Mrs S A’Court. Parents / carers can contact the school for any attendance related questions at or on 01525 402735.

 Attendance expectations 

The school has high expectations for pupils’ attendance and punctuality and ensures that these expectations are communicated regularly to parents and pupils. 

Pupils will be expected to attend school punctually every day they are required to be at school, for the full day. 

The school day starts at 8:55a.m. and pupils will need to be in their classroom, ready to begin registration at this time; therefore, pupils will be expected to be arriving on the school site by  8:45 a.m. and the gate will be locked at 8:55. Pupils attending Kids’ Club can do so from 7:50 a.m. Lunch break is 12:00 - 1:20 (KS1) and 12:15 - 1:20 (KS2). The afternoon session begins at  1:20 p.m, which will last until 3:30 p.m.

Attendance Policy

Our Attendance Policy closely follows the Central Bedfordshire Model policy and is available by following this link to our Policies page.

Term Time Holiday

The school will only grant a pupil a leave of absence in 'exceptional circumstances'. In order to have requests for a leave of absence considered, the school will expect parents to complete the leave of absence form, at least two weeks in advance of the proposed date and either hand it in to the office or email it to . The Leave of Absence form must provide the reason and dates during which the absence would be expected to occur. The LOA form  can be requested in paper form from the school office or downloaded below.

The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007

The 2007 regulations set out the procedures for issuing penalty notices (fines) to each parent who fails to ensure their children’s regular attendance at school or fails to ensure that their excluded child is not in a public place during the first five days of a fixed term suspension.  Parents must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days.

More than 10 sessions of unauthorised absence in a 12 week period (equivalent to 5 days), will lead to the issuing of a Fixed penalty notice by the local authority.

If you wish to apply to take your child out of school during term time, please read the Central Bedfordshire Guidelines below and then print out, complete and return the Application For Leave form to the school office.