Attendance and Absence

It is the responsibility of parents of a child of school age to make sure that their child is educated.

Absence from school is recorded as

  • authorised, that is approved by the Communities and Families department, or as
  • unauthorised, that is unexplained by the parent (truancy).

Please let the school know by letter if it is a planned absence (e.g. hospital appointment) or phone by 9.30 a.m. on the day of your child’s unplanned absence (e.g. sickness bug).

You should update the school on each day of your child’s absence.  Please give your child a note on their return to school, confirming the reason for absence (include your own arrangements). If there is no explanation from a child’s parents, the absence will be regarded as unauthorised.

Please make every effort to avoid family holidays during term time as this will disrupt your child’s education and reduces learning time. Headteachers can approve absences up to two school weeks (10 days) from school in certain situations. Any requests for extended absence over two school weeks (10 days) will be referred to the Senior Education Officer, who will decide if it will be recorded as authorised or unauthorised leave.

Please discuss your plans with your child’s Headteacher before booking the holiday. If they cannot give permission before the holiday, it will be recorded as unauthorised absence. They can authorise a holiday if you can prove that work commitments make a family holiday impossible during school holiday times.  Normally, your employer will need to provide evidence of your work commitments. Absence approved by the Headteacher on this basis is regarded as authorised absence.

Parents from minority ethnic religious communities may request that their children be permitted to be absent from school to celebrate recognised religious events.  Absence approved on this basis is regarded as authorised absence.  Extended leave can also be granted on request for families returning to their country of origin for cultural or care reasons.

A supportive approach is taken to unexplained absence. However the Communities and Families department has legal powers to write to, interview or prosecute parents, or refer pupils to the Reporter to the Children’s Panel, if necessary.

Attendance and why it makes a difference to your child’s learning

Why is it important to attend school?

Our aim is to ensure that children leave school having achieved their full potential and are; successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. In order to achieve this it is vital that children attend school. Below are some of the key reasons to attend school.

  • To learn
  • To have fun and make new friends
  • To understand responsibility
  • To experience new things in life
  • To develop awareness of other cultures, religions, ethnicity and gender difference
  • To achieve
  • To gain qualifications
  • To develop new skills
  • To build confidence and self-esteem
  • To grow as individuals.

When is it acceptable for my child to be off school?

We understand that there are some circumstances that arise that prevent your child from coming to school. Your child can be off school if:

  • They are ill
  • They are attending a doctor or hospital appointment
  • They are going to a meeting about a Children’s Hearing or court, or if they are going to a Children’s Hearing, care review or court
  • If they are involved in an activity and the school agrees in advance.
  • Someone close to your child has died
  • There is a crisis or serious difficulty at home or in your family
  • They are going to a religious ceremony or a wedding of someone very close to them
  • You are a Gypsy/Traveller family and while you go travelling you keep in touch with your child’s teacher
  • Your family is returning to a country of origin for cultural reasons or to care for a relative

As long as you have informed the school of the reason why your child is off, and the school is satisfied that this is a valid reason, these would be called authorised absences.

What should I do if my child is anxious or worried about going to school?

We believe your child has a right to an education and to be safe and happy at school. But sometimes children and young people can be anxious or worried about going to school for various reasons such as having a worry about their learning or friendships.

Sometimes parents let their child stay off school under these circumstances. Unfortunately this will not help find a solution. It’s important to talk to the school if this kind of problem happens.

You should contact a member of staff at the school with any worry your child has which is affecting them getting to school.

Effects of low attendance

A missed school day is a lost opportunity for students to learn. Students who attend school regularly have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance.

Research shows that:

Regular absence leads to underachievement because absence breaks the continuity of learning and pupils miss important work.

  • On returning to school, poor attenders can often suffer a loss of confidence due to the fact that they are unable to understand the work.
  • Children who are regularly absent can suffer from a lack of motivation
  • Regular absence can affect children’s enjoyment of learning
  • Having regular days off can affect children’s desire to attend school regularly
  • Pupils who are often absent can have trouble making and keeping friends.
  • Absence means they miss out on the social life of school and extra-curricular opportunities and experiences

What can you do?

  • Take holiday outside school term dates
  • Try to make non-emergency appointments out of school hours
  • Ensure you have a good bedtime and morning routine in place
  • Inform school of all absences as soon as possible (0131 339 2383)