Attendance and Absences   

On this page you will find all the information you need regarding attendance, illnesses, and holiday requests. 

At Drove, attendance is incredibly important to us as having good educational attendance will help to give your child the best possible start in life. Regular school attendance patterns encourage the development of other responsible patterns of behaviour.

It is vital that we work together and continue to promote good attendance, however it is mainly the responsibility of the parents to get their children into school regularly and on time. 

Drove Primary School’s Expectations:

Children should be in school every day by 8:30am.

Children should be collected from the playground at 3:30pm. 

Please ensure that you communicate reasons for absence to school by 8:30am on the morning of each day of absence.

School attendance that drops below 96% is considered a cause for concern (96% equates to 8 missed days across a whole school year). Attendance below that level, you will receive a notification of your child’s attendance, this will be in the form of a letter. If this does not improve there is a graduated response which could result in legal action.

To help, please try to make medical appointments (where possible) outside of the school day, take holidays out of school term time, and communicate any reasons for absence clearly with school staff.

All holiday requested will be unauthorised. Holiday requested will have the biggest impact on your child’s attendance. 

Excellent attendance at school is important to allow a child to fulfil their potential.

Legal Background and DfE Guidelines

While schools are required to consider parental requests for absence from school in term time, it still remains the legal duty of parents to ensure the regular attendance of a child of compulsory school age. Failure to do so could result in the local authority issuing a penalty notice or prosecuting the parents in the magistrates court.

DfE guidelines clearly state that absence from school can be taken in exceptional circumstances, and this means that the parent must make a strong case for taking a child out of school in an academic year. Exceptional circumstances must be explained fully to the school who will then consider the request. Any medical appointments/procedures during school time are always authorised but the school does require evidence, such as appointment cards or letters.
Parents should not expect that schools would automatically agree to an absence from school during term time. All requests are at the discretion of the principal and can only be authorised by the principal or the member of staff with designated authority in the absence of the principal.

Holiday Requests:

At Drove, we do not authorise any term time holiday requests, regardless of the circumstances. Children over the age of 5 years, legally, should be in school. Taking your child out of school will have a huge impact on their education and will create gaps in their learning.

If your request is over 5 days, you will be called in for a meeting with the schools Attendance Lead to discuss the implications. We do not ask the teachers to provide your child with homework whilst they are away, as you have chosen to take your child out of education.

As the request will be unauthorised, we will follow the Local Authority's Guidance for Schools on leave of absence during term time, and inform the Education Welfare Service who may, on behalf of the Local Authority, issue a fixed penalty notice. The penalty is not given by the school.

Fixed penalty notices:

You will receive a fine of £60 per parent per child if paid within 21 days; thereafter the fine doubles to £120 if paid within 28 days. If the fine is not paid, this may lead to prosecution, which could lead to a criminal offence. You cannot appeal the fine.

If you are taking your child out of education for a second time, this is classed as an aggravated offence, you may be prosecuted in the Magistrates Courts

If your child does not return to school within 21 days, their school place may be at risk.


Attendance and percentage

At Drove, 97% attendance is classed as “Good”, and 100% attendance is classed as “Excellent”. Anything below 97% is deemed “Requires Improvement”. 
The table below shows the attendance percentage and the number of days missed. 

A chart with numbers and a number of daysDescription automatically generated

It is your responsibility to inform the school if your child is unable to attend school, this should be done by 8:30am. Your child’s absence can be reported by calling the Main School Office on 01793 818606 or via text message. If no answer via phone call, please leave a voicemail.

If we do not receive a phone call/voicemail for you, you will be contact by the office to find out why your child is not at school.   If we cannot get in contact with you, we will phone the other contacts we have for your child on our system. Again, if we cannot get a hold of them, your child will be marked down as unauthorised.

Attendance is closely monitored. If your child’s attendance is below 96% or we are noticing a pattern in your child’s attendance, you will be called into a meeting with the Attendance Lead to discuss. If after the meeting, your child’s attendance continues to drop, we will report to the Education Welfare Team. This could ultimately result in legal action being taken.

Please see the table below which outlines the schools process to Attendance:

Attendance Stage 1

  •  A Stage 1 letter is sent home raising concerns that attendance has fallen below DfE expectations and is being monitored 

  • A Stage 1 letter should be considered at minimum below 93% and maximum below 96%. 

  • If there is little or no improvement at next week’s monitoring progress to Stage 2.

Attendance Stage 2

  • Stage 2 letter sent home

  • If the next week there is little or no improvement in attendance school will arrange a School Attendance Meeting (SAM) with parents to agree an action plan. Parents will be sent a written record of this meeting within 5 working days.

  • If the parent does not attend the meeting, an opportunity will be given for a new date. On the second date the SAM will be held with or without the parent present.

  • Attendance will be reviewed by school in 3 weeks. During this period no absence will be authorised without supporting medical evidence. Following the meeting it is normal practice to expect 100% attendance.

  • If there is little or no improvement at the review, parents will be invited into school for a Review SAM where a revised plan is agreed. At this stage parents can be sent a Penalty Notice Warning Letter warning against future unauthorised absences within a set timeframe. See below for more information.

Attendance Stage 3

  • Referral to Education Welfare Officer (EWO)

  • You may refer to the White Horse EWO earlier if a student has been at Stage 3 in a previous academic year 

  • If following the Review SAM there is still no improvement in attendance, school may refer to their named Education Welfare Officer who will then arrange to meet with parents/carers.

  • EWO will consider instigating legal proceedings by consulting/referring to the relevant Local Authority. 



We understand that children become poorly and need to have time off to recover or if you are following the school's policy. Please call the office before 8:30am on 01793818608 if your child is going to be absent due to illness. If your child has sickness or diarrhoea, the 48 Hours Rule applies. Please ensure that you seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your child’s health.
Please view the NHS page titled Is My Child Too Ill for School? This is what we follow as a school and how we give our guidance. The link to the page is also available at the bottom of the page under “Useful Links”. 

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Medical Appointments:

You should try to make appointments for dentists and doctors and opticians etc, outside of school hours. We understand hospital appointments cannot be helped as they are booked through the NHS and not by yourselves. We will ask to see proof of your appointment so your child’s attendance mark can be added as “medical”, so please see the office, and ensure to bring any letters you have with you.

Unannounced door knocks

If we have not heard from you regarding your child’s absence for 3+ days, 2 members of the senior leadership team will attend your home and conduct an unannounced door knock. This is for safeguarding reasons. 
If there is no answer, we will continue to try and contact you. This will be via text, email or/and phone calls. If after 10 days, we still have had no contact, your child will go down as a “Child Missing in Education”. This is reported to the council and if we have great concerns for the safety of your child, we will contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub. 
If you are home and answer the door, a discussion will be held to find out why you have not contacted the school and why your child is not at school. We would also ask to see your child, again, this is for safeguarding purposes. 

Late to collect your child:

Ring the school office on 01793818608 or email [email protected] to inform us that you will be late and give a time of your arrival. If we have not had contact from you regarding a late pick up, the office will call you to find out where you are. 
Please remember it is important that you bring your child to school on time and collect them on time.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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Useful Links: 

Swindon Borough Council- Child Attendance and Absence enquiries

Swindon Borough Council- Children Missing in Education (CME)-,-Educational%20welfare%20services&text=All%20schools%20are%20required%20to,first%20instance%20on%2001793%20436699.

The White Horse Federation Attendance and Absence Policy: 

NHS- Is My Child Too Ill For School?:

Attendance Newsletters

Updated: 05/02/2024 1.08 MB