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What is the difference? Authorised and Unauthorised Absence.

Every school, by law, has to register pupils twice a day; first thing in the morning session at the start of the school day, and again in the afternoon session. If a pupils fails to attend or arrives late (after 9.15am) then they can be marked as an absence for that session.

If a pupil of compulsory school age (5 years of age) is absent, the register must show whether the absence was authorised (acceptable) or unauthorised (where no acceptable reason is given for absence). Only the school can approve the reason for absence.

Authorised Absence

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 that you phone the school before the start of the day on the 01132 930392 or come into the office. You will receive a phone call from the office if you do not inform us as it is our duty to ensure your child is safe. If we cannot make contact with you then you may receive a home visit from a member of staff.

In law only a Headteacher can authorise a pupil's absence, and may require additional evidence such as a letter from your GP or other medical proof particularly if your child’s attendance is already a concern and below 95%. We understand that sometimes illness may prevent your child from attending school. We ask that medical appointments be made outside of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible appointment cards can be brought into school for the absence to be authorised.

We are usually only able to authorise half a day for appointments except in exceptional circumstances. If you are unsure whether your child is able to attend due to illness, please contact us and we will always try to help. Many medical conditions can be sensitively managed in school to enable your child to continue their learning.

Unauthorised Absence

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. It is a parent's legal responsibility to ensure that their child, when of statutory school age, accesses education appropriate to age, needs and ability.

Under the terms of the education related provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, each parent/carer(s) may be issued with a Penalty Notice of £60 if:

  • You fail to ensure that your child attends school regularly
  • You allow your child to take leave of absence in term time without a school’s authorisation
  • You fail to return your child to school on an agreed date after a leave of absence
  • Your child persistently arrives late for school after the register is closed

Examples of unauthorised Absence may be if your child does not attend because of:

  • Going on holiday or travelling abroad
  • Days off for birthdays, shopping trips
  • Feeling tired
  • Bad weather
  • Non urgent appointment
  • Parent unwell to bring them to school
  • Birthday

The Headteacher will only grant a leave of absence for exceptional circumstances. A holiday or travelling abroad is not exceptional.

There are 38 weeks in the year when school is open and 14 weeks (175 DAYS) when families can visit family overseas; go on holiday; travel or attend non urgent medical appointments.


Sickness and Absence

Parents should inform the School Office if their child is sick and absent from school. For certain types of illness, the School Office will give advice, based on Public Health England guidance, in relation to when your child should return to school (see below).

For Child Absence Reporting please telephone 01132 930392.

If you would like to discuss your child’s attendance, or think we can support or help in any way, please call 01132 930392 or email office@gledhowschool.org

Fast Track

If your child’s attendance falls below 90% (without good reason) the school may initiate a Fast Track as a supportive measure. Absences will not be authorised during this time period without verification. You will be notified of a Fast Track via letter. Non improvement of attendance following a Fast Track may result in a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued by Leeds City Council.

Fixed Penalty Notices

Section 444 of the 1996 Education Act says that parents must ensure that their child attends school regularly and on time. If a parent fails to do this the school has the authority to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. This is £60 and increases to £120 if not paid within 28 days. In more serious cases parents may face a fine of up to £2500 or a custodial sentence.

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