Attendance & Punctuality

Sunning Hill Primary School promotes and expects good attendance and punctuality from its children in order for them to make the most of the opportunities that school has to offer. Good attendance enables children to make friends, gain important knowledge and develop a variety of skills and good attendance habits which will prepare them for their future. We believe that children achieve their full potential when in school and we rely on our partnership with parents to ensure that their children are punctual and attend school regularly. 

School Absence

By law, schools must record absences and the reason given. If a child cannot come to school because of illness, parents must contact school before 8:30am, and EACH subsequent day of absence thereafter. If a parent fails to inform the school as to why their child is not in school this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. 

If a child is absent from school and we have received no notification as to the reason why, every effort will be made to contact an appropriate adult. When contact is made with parents the school will determine if the absence is authorised or unauthorised; if no contact is made it will be assumed that the child is absent without permission. The school will only authorise a medical absence if the circumstances are unavoidable and has the right to request medical evidence if a parent rings the school to confirm their child is unwell, or if there is cause for concern. School is unable to authorise any holiday request.

Attendance is monitored closely by Administration staff, Teachers and is overseen by the Deputy Head teacher, Mrs Rawlinson, who can be contacted via the school office. Attendance percentages are calculated at the end of every half term and more frequently as required. Children with an attendance percentage below 90% fall into the ‘Persistent Absentee’ category and the school has a responsibility to reduce the number of children whose attendance is below 90% over the school year.  When a child’s attendance falls below 90% (at any stage of the year) an attendance meeting with parents will be arranged. The purpose of this meeting is for you and your child (if appropriate) to meet with Mrs Rawlinson and/or other staff members to identify the reasons for absence and to work together to resolve any concerns and improve attendance. 

Leave of Absence

The current law does not give any entitlement to parents to take their child out of school during term time. The Education Regulations 2013 prohibits Head teachers granting leave of absence to a pupil except where an application has been made in advance and the Headteacher considers that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application.

If the absence is not authorised and the leave of absence is taken, the case will be referred to the Local Authority who may issue a Penalty Notice for £120 (or £60 if paid within 21 days) to each parent for each child taken out of school.

From the 19 August 2024 the following changes will come into effect:-

Penalty notices issued for offences that take place after 19 August 2024 will be charged at a new rate of £160
per parent per child. This can be paid at £80 if paid within 21 days.

Any second penalty notice issued to the same parent for the same child within a rolling 3-year period will be
issued at the rate of £160 to be paid within 28 days with no option for a discounted rate.

The threshold at which a penalty notice must be considered is set at 10 sessions (equivalent to 5 days) of
unauthorised absence within a rolling 10-school week period (1). This may include absences because of
arriving late after the register closes. The 10 school weeks may span different terms or school years.

A maximum of 2 penalty notices may be issued to a parent for the same child within a rolling 3-year period, so
at the 3rd (or subsequent) offence(s) another course of action will need to be considered (such as prosecution
or one of the other attendance legal interventions).

Only penalty notices issued for absences taking place after 19 August 2024 will count towards the above

Medical Appointments

Non-urgent medical appointments should not be made during the school day. If the appointment needs to be during school hours, please provide the school with appointment cards or hospital letters, so that a copy can be taken for our school records.

If you have a concern or there is an issue around attendance, please contact the school. There is advice and support for children and their families.


Sunning Hill Primary School expects good punctuality. Our school doors open at 8.45am for school age pupils. Pupils should enter school at 8.45am so that they can benefit from the morning learning activities that are set. Registers are completed at 8.55am.

How can you help?

  • Ensure your child goes to bed at an age appropriate time.

  • Ensure your child arrives on time: 8.45am for children from Reception to Year 6.

  • Prepare packed lunches, school bags and breakfast items the night before.

  • Make sure the alarm clock is set at a reasonable time for getting everyone up and ready.

For further information on penalty notices, please click here for the Local Authorities Guidance.

Building a Bright Future Together