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January 2021

Attendance Matters. Improvement to our procedures.


September  – December 2021

  • Somerset Primary Schools Average:       93.6%
  • Lyngford Park Primary:                         91.78%


Following a detailed review of procedures carried out in December, please observe and follow our immediate improvements:


  • Day 1 of absence
    • Please call office before 8.15am and explain the child’s absence – Option 1.  
    • Please state name of child, class and specific reasons for absence, not they are ‘unwell’.
    • Different codes are used to register any absence, so please be specific, including absence due to COVID.
      • If COVID symptoms, please book a PCR.
    • If your child has vomited and / or diarrhoea, please state when the last episode was and they must remain off school for 48 hours.
    • If it is a non-medical / non-illness reason, please explain and we can use an appropriate code.


  • If you have not called the office, we will call / contact you.
    • If we are unsuccessful when trying to make contact, your child’s absence will be marked as ‘unauthorised’. There should be at least 2 contact numbers for each child.
    • This can be rectified at a later date, but we are no longer allowed to code it as ‘unknown at this stage’.
    • It is the parent’s responsibility to inform school when their child is absent.


Persistent absences and/or unauthorised absences raise concerns with our Attendance Officer and procedures will be followed.


  • Day 3 of absence
    • Please call to update us, unless it is an absence you have already stated will result in them being off for a longer period of time. Again, the coding is important.


  • So, why is the right coding so vital?
    • The codes we use confirms the reasons of absence.
    • Children who have a concerning attendance are monitored.
    • Contact will be made by school to help try to address the matter.
    • Ultimately, parents risk prosecution if attendance is not as it should be, unless valid and comprehensive reasons
      • This is not Lyngford Park’s decision, but higher authorities.

Attendance Matters!        But specifically why?


Following research, I have put this information together for you.


For the vast majority of parents, this will be simply interesting reading. For others, it explains why good attendance is vital and will ultimately allow your child to achieve their potential.



Your child attends school for 190 days a year (52% of a whole year) over 38 weeks.  Statistically, your child is only in school for just over 20% of a full week…


Hours in week – including weekends

168 hours

Number of hours in a week a child attends school

9am-4pm (4pm is taking into consideration if they do clubs) 7 hours of school x 5 = 35 hours

Total time in school

35/168 as a percentage = 20.8%


Therefore, your child’s time at school is precious. It should definitely not be the only time your child is learning, as learning life skills outside of school is also essential towards their development. However, whilst your child is in school, teachers try their best to support, nurture, explain, reassure, challenge their learning to help them make progress in many aspects – not just in their reading, writing, maths, science and all the other subjects.


Why is attendance so vital?

Regular school attendance is an important part of giving children the best possible start in life.  Naturally, the aim should be to attend 100% of the time. Children who miss school frequently will fall behind with their work and do less well in assessments.  Research suggests children who attend school regularly could be at less risk of getting involved in crime or antisocial behaviour. The table below ( illustrates how children’s percentage attendance equates to the amount of school time missed.



School Attendance.

During 1 school year

Equivalent Days

Lost Learning

Equivalent Weeks

Lost Learning

Over 7 years at Primary

Lost Learning




14 weeks – 1 term




28 weeks – 2 terms




42 weeks – over 1 year








70 weeks – 2 years lost!








94 weeks – 3 years lost!

Late Arrivals - It is also important to arrive at school on time, but why?


If a child arrives late to school every day, their learning begins to suffer. Below is a graph showing how being late to school every day over a school year adds up to lost learning time over one academic year.


15 mins late every day

3 weeks lost learning over a year

30 mins late every day

4 weeks lost learning over a year


Lateness is seriously reducing the chance of your child making good progress and it may have a detrimental effect on their well-being, mental health and attitude towards learning.


Please imagine what it must be like for your own child having to enter their class when all other children are settled…I know, it happened to me when I was at school. Did it happen to you? How did it make you feel? Sick? Anxious? Why not try to stop these feelings for your own child?


My child has a low attendance. Ultimately what could happen to me as a parent?


This explains the procedures as clearly as possible. There are 5 stages regarding attendance.

The first 3 stages are managed within the school, before higher authorities become involved.


Stage 1

Child’s attendance above 95%


Your child has the best chance to make progress in all aspects of their education, regardless of ability. For children with additional needs, being at school means they can make the most of the support.

Stage 2

Child’s attendance 80% - 95%

Equivalently, your child is absent for 1 day a week. This means their learning in school is being limited by their absence. Their progress is hindered by their absence.

It is likely the PFSA will offer support and work with you to try to address the situation, which will be having a negative effect on your child’s learning.

Hopefully, attendance will improve and return to Stage 1.  It is expected parents will work with school to improve attendance.

Stage 3

Child’s attendance 60% - 80%

Equivalently, your child is absent for 2 days a week. This means they are missing 2/5 of their learning – they will not be able to make good progress.

Attendance officers will be informed and will need to investigate reasons for absences. This will be reviewed and monitored – your child’s attendance must improve and if it does, the Attendance Officers will no longer need to monitor.

Stage 4

No improvement to attendance

Prosecution with Fine - Parents will be issued with a fine from Attendance Officers, which will need to be paid to avoid escalation.

Stage 5

No improvement to attendance

Imprisonment - Parent may receive a prison sentence for failure to ensure their child maintains good attendance at school.

Parents must take the responsibility to ensure their own child attends school.


As parents, we all need to instil a sense of aspiration to help our children. By supporting and encouraging them to have a positive attitude to learning and modelling good behaviours, we will ensure our children become successful adults with positive futures. After all, this is our aim as parents for our children.



We will continue to work with all parents to support them in regards to their own children.

If you wish to discuss any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Please understand, we are all dealing as best we can in light of the COVID pandemic and in the vast majority of cases, parents are following the guidance to ensure their child’s attendance – and therefore their learning – is affected as minimally as possible.


Kind regards


Nick Arnold