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Authorised and Unauthorised Absence. What is the difference?

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%.

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 0113-2930392.  

Diarrhoea and Vomiting

Primary schools typically have a ‘48 hours rule’ in relation to diarrhoea and vomiting. In that respect, they are simply following NHS guidelines and Public Health England Guidance 2016, which recommends that children should be kept away from school, nursery or childcare settings for 48 hours ‘from their last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.’ (Guidance on Infection Control in Schools and other Childcare Settings 2016, p6) and earlier guidance from the NHS and Public Health England. Gledhow has followed this guidance and procedure for several years and our position is supported by our Community Health Nurses as part of our duty of care to other children.

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