Attendance & Punctuality

COVID-19 Guidance

Gainsborough Primary & Nursery School is currently following DFE and Public Health England guidance regarding Covid-19. At present, the risk status is low and there is no need to keep children off school. Please be advised that it is not acceptable to keep children off school as a precaution and if that is the case then these absences will be recorded as unauthorised and may attract a fixed penalty fine. If you have any questions regarding absences related to Covid-19 please contact school.


One of the most important things affecting a child’s progress at school is regular attendance.  For a child to gain most benefit from education, it is vital that parents work in partnership with the school to encourage good attendance and punctuality.


Attendance and punctuality is a life skill and in school we strive to support our pupils to maintain high levels of attendance.  The National Average school attendance for primary schools is 96%.  This is the figure that we are expected to achieve by the Government and OFSTED.

Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their children have an education.

Section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996 states that:  “If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his/her parent is guilty of an offence”.

For the purposes of Education Law, the definition of “Parental Responsibility” lies with whomever the child resides.  This could be one parent, both parents or carers.



Authorised (school approved absence)

It is expected that parents and carers will provide an explanation if their child is absent on the first day the absence occurs. School should be informed of a reason for absence by 9.15am on the first day of absence and this can be by telephone, personally at the office or by appointment. School should be updated of any on-going absence on a daily basis.  If your child is suffering from a sickness or diarrhoea related illness, they should not return to school for 48 hours clear after the last bout of illness.

Please download the Guide on Infection Control for Schools.


Unauthorised (school does not approve absence)

If contact fails to be made by parents and carers, then the school will contact the home by either text message and/or telephone on the initial day.

  • Within safeguarding procedures, if absence continues with no explanation, school will telephone, send a letter, or in some circumstances, undertake a home visit.  This contact will be recorded in the register.



  • Gainsborough Primary & Nursery School uses a computerised registration system and the register is completed, by law in the morning at 8.45am and in the afternoon at 12.30pm in Foundation Stage and KS1, and 1.00pm in KS2.  Morning registers close at 9.00am and afternoon registers close at 12.45pm in Reception and KS1 and 1.15pm in KS2. 
  • Our Nursery registers are taken at 8.50am for the morning session and 12.10pm for the afternoon session.


Foundation and Key Stage 1 – Parents must remain with their children on the Foundation or Infant playground until the whistle is blown at 8.45am.

Key Stage 2  – Please ensure that Junior children arrive no later than 8.40am onto the Key Stage 2 playground.  The Junior playground is supervised from 8.30am until the whistle is blown at 8.45am.

For security reasons, all gates and doors into the school playgrounds are locked at 8.50am.  Pupils arriving after this time must report to the main reception, accompanied by their parent or carer.


The school day begins at 8.45am and all pupils are expected to be in school for registration at this time.

Each morning the registers close at 9.00am and any pupil arriving after this time should be signed in by a parent at the main office, giving an acceptable reason with evidence for their late arrival. If this is not available the register will be coded as “U” (unauthorised after close of register).

Pupils who are consistently late are disrupting not only their own education but also that of others. Where persistent lateness gives cause for concern further action may be taken. The Education Welfare Officer can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice if a child is late (after the register closes) for 10 sessions or more over two consecutive half terms.

Every Second Counts

  • 5 minutes late each day means three whole days lost each year
  • Attendance affects learning
  • Attendance affects future outcomes
  • Attendance affects well being and a sense of belonging


Gainsborough Primary and Nursery School operates within advice from the Department for Education regarding leave taken in term time.  This is now called “Exceptional Circumstances – Leave of Absence”.

The 2013 regulation amendments make clear that the Head Teacher may not grant any leave of absence (holiday) during term time unless there are “exceptional circumstances”.  The amendments give parents NO entitlement to take their child out of school for a holiday in term time. The School Principal  and the Governing Body will determine what the exceptional circumstances are.

If you need to request leave of absence to be taken during term time, please complete the form below.  Completion of the form does NOT guarantee the leave of absence to be authorised.  You may be asked to attend an interview with the School Principal or Attendance Lead to discuss this request further.  It is important to have read and fully understood the school’s policy on attendance which can be found on the website.

Should the application be declined and parents or carers choose to go ahead with planned leave, once the child returns to school after the period of absence, the Local Authority may contact parents or carers to issue a Penalty Notice for non-school attendance.

Please see the attached documents for more information and for guidance from Cheshire East Education Welfare Service.



Parents and carers should be aware that 10 unauthorised late marks, after close of registers at 9.00am, over two consecutive half terms will lead to Education Welfare Service intervention and Fixed Penalty Notices being issued.

Parents and carers should know that 10 or more unauthorised marks over two consecutive half terms, where no reason for absence is provided or when school has declined exceptional leave of absence, will lead to Education Welfare Service intervention and Fixed Penalty Notices being issued.

Please refer to the chart below for details of the PN process including fines and timelines.

Penalties for unauthorised absence


One child

Two children

Paid with 21 days

£60 per child

£60 per child = £120 per parent

After 21 days and before 28 days

£120 per child

£120 per child = £240 per parent

After 28 days

The parents will receive a summons to appear before the Magistrates’ Court on the grounds that they have failed to secure their child’s attendance


Further details of the Attendance Procedures of Gainsborough Primary and Nursery School can be found in the Attendance Policy, please click the link to visit the school policies web page:


Files to Download

Be Ready, Be Respectful, Be Safe