Sele First School

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 Good Attendance Guide

Excellent attendance at school is important to allow your child to fulfil their potential and for them to have the best possible start in life.

Although we aim for 100%, each year we set a target for attendance and this is used to compare us to other schools nationally.  Our current target is 96% attendance.

 Click here to read our Good Attendance School Guide.

Sele First School Good Attendance Guide


Good attendance is essential for all children and therefore attendance data is carefully monitored. If your child is unwell please call the office before 9.30am on the first day of illness (tel: 01434 602808 option 2). Please continue to call for each subsequent days’ absence unless otherwise discussed with the school office.  The office is open from 8.30am.

If your child has a medical appointment requiring absence during the school day, please email the school office with as much notice as possible, giving details of the appointment and attaching the appointment card or letter. All absences must be authorised by the school. Unexplained absences or those not considered appropriate will be registered as unauthorised absences.

Attendance data is published as a part of our weekly bulletin and also on our website. Our school target is at least 96% attendance. If, for exceptional reasons, leave of absence is necessary during term time a leave of absence request form must be completed and returned at least two weeks before the absence is due to begin. The table below shows the thresholds for attendance rates at Sele First School.

98%+ 0-6 sessions Outstanding High
96% + 7-12 sessions Good High Average
93.7%+ 13-20 sessions Average Low Average
93.6%-90% 21-34 sessions Significant Poor
89%-86% 35-47 sessions Persistent Persistent
85% or below 48 sessions or more Persistent Persistent


Children of school-age who are registered at a school must, by law, attend that school regularly. Regular school attendance for a child is a legal requirement. There may be occasions when a child has to miss school, for example, if they are unwell. Each school can give clear guidance as to when and for how long a child should be absent from school for given illnesses.

Any other absences should be kept to an absolute minimum. In particular, parents/carers do not have the right to take their children out of school during term-time in order to go on holiday.

Hexham Partnership Policy for Leave of Absence During Term Time updated July 2019

Questions Regarding Attendance

Should you have any questions or wish to discuss issues surrounding punctuality or attendance, please do contact us via the google link below. Mrs Milburn or Mrs Stanford will then contact you to talk through your queries or concerns and to plan the next steps.

Attendance questions

Facts about School Attendance

Children with poor attendance are more likely to become ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET) when they leave school (Department for Education).
There is a clear link between a child’s poor attendance at school and resulting underachievement across the curriculum. Out of pupils who miss between 10% and 20% of their primary school education, only 35% achieve 5 A* to C at GCSE.

A two week period of absence is over 5% of a child’s school year. A child’s absence from school is seen as significant if they are absent for more than 6.4% of the school year and persistent if they are absent for 10% or more of the time.

School Attendance and Illness

It can be tricky deciding whether or not to keep your child off school when they're unwell.

There are government guidelines for schools and nurseries about managing specific infectious diseases at GOV.UK. These say when children should be kept off school and when they shouldn't.

If you do keep your child at home, it's important to phone the school on the first day. Let them know that your child won't be in and give them the reason.

NHS Guidance - Is my Child too Ill for School

What does the law say?

Regulations state that a headteacher ‘may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances’. These regulations make it clear that parents/carers do not have any right or entitlement to take a child out of school for family holidays.

How will schools deal with requests for leave of absence?

The Hexham Partnership of Schools discourage parents/carers from arranging any events during term time and will as a rule, state that leave of absence will not be granted unless there are exceptional circumstances which might justify it.

In exceptional circumstances where leave of absence is granted, the child’s attainment and ability to catch up on missed schooling will have been the primary consideration.

The secondary consideration will be the child's current attendance. The headteacher will examine the child’s attendance record and should he or she have any concerns, for example should the child’s average attendance be below 95%, it is highly unlikely that any authorised absence will be given regardless of the circumstances surrounding the request for absence. We would remind parents/carers that in all cases where pupils/students cannot attend school it remains the responsibility of the school to authorise absence, not parents/carers.

What are “Exceptional Circumstances”?

It is the decision of the headteacher as to what might constitute exceptional circumstances. Each request for any term-time leave will be considered on an individual basis. Examples of exceptional circumstance would be:
Forces Personnel on leave from a foreign posting.

Evidence provided by an employer that states leave cannot be accommodated during school holidays without significant consequence.

Issues parents/carers need to be aware of:

Should a school not agree to grant leave and the parents/carers take their child out of school regardless, then this will be counted as unauthorised absence. Schools are legally required to record absences that accrue as a consequence of leave of absence that has been taken without authorisation. Failure to ensure a child’s attendance at school is an offence under Section 444 of The Education Act 1996.

If the headteacher authorises the leave of absence, it is expected that the child’s attendance will be of a satisfactory level both prior to and after the date covered by the request.

If the headteacher refuses the leave of absence, and the absence is recorded as unauthorised, the headteacher may refer the matter to the local authority requesting that a penalty notice be issued. A Penalty Notice is £60 per parent if paid within 21 days of receipt, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 28 day period the local authority may prosecute for the offence to which the notice applies. Where there is more than one child, each parent/carer may be issued with a Penalty Notice in respect of each child.

Application Process

A parent/carer requesting leave of absence during term time should make the application in writing at least two weeks in advance on the leave of absence form (see below). The school may contact the parent/carer to discuss the reasons for the application and the impact the absence may have on the child’s education. Where the request has been made within the notice period stated above, the school will reply to all applications in writing stating the Headteacher’s decision.

Click below to request leave of absence form.

Leave of Absence form SELEfirst – updated September 2020

Consequences of Poor Attendance

Good attendance at school is linked to achievement, progress and attainment academically. School meets regularly with the Educational Welfare Officer (EWO), to look closely and monitor attendance across school. If your son/daughter’s attendance falls below 90% it is of great concern to us, and may result in families being contacted directly by the EWO. We will not be able to authorise absence under this level. If the absence is due to an illness/medical issue then we will request you obtain a medical note from a GP/hospital.

Research suggests that children who are absent from school may never catch up on the learning they have missed, which may ultimately affect exam and test results. When children are absent from school, they miss not only the teaching provided on the days when they are away, but are also less prepared for the lessons that follow which build on prior knowledge and teaching. It is vital that children establish good habits of attendance from Early Years, to make a positive start to their school life. As a parent/carer, you can demonstrate your commitment to your child’s education by not allowing your child to miss school for anything other than an exceptional and unavoidable reason.