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At Vaughan we pride ourselves on outstanding attendance across the school and we take our pupil’s attendance very seriously.  Regular attendance is so important because any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning and also that of other pupils.  This is because teachers need to help those children who have been absent catch up with work they have missed, which reduces the time available to give to the remaining children in the class. 

There is also clear evidence of a link between poor attendance at school and low levels of achievement.  Your child may also be at risk of harm if they do not attend school regularly.  Failing to attend this school on a regular basis will be considered as a safeguarding matter.

Why attendance matters: 

  • Less than 5 days absence = 98%+ attendance
  • 14 days absence (approx.) = 93.5% attendance
  • 20 days absence (approx.) = 90% attendance
  • 30 days absence (approx.) = 88% attendance

If a child achieves 80% attendance this means that they have missed approximately 40 days of education over the academic year, averaging 1 day per week.

Unplanned absence

Parents must notify the school on the first day of an unplanned absence – for example, if their child is ill.

If your child is absent you must:

  • Contact us before 9.00am on the first day of absence and every day of absence thereafter.  Please call 0208 427 7222 option 1 and leave a clear and detailed message
  • Or, you can come into school and explain to the staff in the office why your child is absent
  • Or, you can email the office at

If your child is absent, we will telephone, text or email you on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you, the message received is inaudible, or is lacking information.

Absence due to illness will be authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness.  If a child has repeated absence we will require medical evidence.  This evidence could include a prescription, appointment card which has been stamped by the GP surgery, photograph of antibiotics being taken, or other appropriate form of evidence.  If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents will be notified of this.

If your child is absent due to illness for 5 consecutive days or more medical proof is always required. 

If your child is unwell for 3 or more consecutive days immediately before or after a school holiday medical proof will be required. 

If sufficient medical proof is not received then the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.

Medical or dental appointments

Missing registration for a medical or dental appointment is counted as an authorised absence; advance notice is required for authorising these absences, along with proof of the appointment.

However, we encourage parents to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible.  Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary.  If the appointment is in the morning we would expect a child to return afterwards.  If the appointment is in the afternoon we would expect a child to be in school beforehand.


Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If your child misses the start of the day they can miss work and do not spend time with their class teacher getting vital information and news for the day.  Late arriving pupils also disrupt lessons, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence.

The school day starts at the following times:

  • Reception to Year 6 – 8.50 am
  • Morning Nursery - 8.40 am
  • Afternoon Nursery – 12.40 pm 

We expect your child to be in class at that time.  Children in Reception to Year 6 can arrive from 8.40 am when the Infant classroom doors and the Junior external doors open for Soft Start.  Registers are marked by 9.00 am and your child will receive a late mark if they arrive after that time.  At 9.20 am the registers will be closed.  If your child arrives after that time they will receive a mark that shows them to be on site, but this will not count as a present mark and it will mean they have an unauthorised absence. 

If your child has a persistent late record you will be asked to meet with the Assistant Headteacher to resolve the problem, but you can approach us at any time if you are having problems getting your child to school on time.

Authorised and unauthorised absence

Requests for term-time absence

Parents are strongly urged to avoid taking leave during term time.  Parents do not have the right to take their child out of school.  No requests for holidays will be authorised during term time.  Any leave requested for holiday at the start or end of the school term will automatically be classed as unauthorised and will not be granted.  Valid reasons for authorised absence include:

  • Illness and medical/dental appointments – as explained in sections 3.2 and 3.3
  • Religious observance – where the day is exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents belong. If necessary, the school will seek advice from the parents’ religious body and the Local Authority to confirm whether the day is set apart.
  • Traveller pupils travelling for occupational purposes – this covers Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish Travellers, Showmen (fairground people) and Circus people, Bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and New Travellers. Absence may be authorised only when a Traveller family is known to be travelling for occupational purposes and has agreed this with the school but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision.

These requests should be made via email to

Requests for exceptional leave

Headteachers may NOT grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  Exceptional circumstances will be considered on an individual basis at the discretion of the Headteacher. 

Requests for exceptional leave must be made at least 2 weeks before the first day of intended absence.  All requests for leave should be made using the school’s 'Request for Leave’ form and addressed to the Headteacher.  If these procedures are not followed we will seek advice from the Local Authority.  A decision will be made solely at the discretion of the Headteacher.  Parents will be informed of this decision in writing.

Vaughan Primary School understands that holidays are generally less expensive during term time but this does NOT count as an exceptional circumstance.  Leave which is taken for the following reasons will not be authorised:

  • Availability of cheaper holidays
  • Availability of desired accommodation
  • Poor weather experienced in school holidays
  • Overlap with beginning or end of term
  • Booked the wrong dates by mistake
  • Booked by another family member
  • Attending a wedding that is not immediate family
  • Family birthdays

Pupils on reduced timetables

All pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to full-time education and at Vaughan Primary School, we are committed to all children's entitlement to a full-time education offer.

However, in exceptional circumstances, where parents/carers have given consent, a short-fixed term period of part time education may, in very rare circumstances, be judged to be in the best interests of children who are finding full time education very challenging. This must, however, be for a short, agreed period that has a planned progression back to full-time.  These timings are reviewed at regular intervals until the child is attending school full-time.

A part-time timetable is not a long-term solution.  Any pastoral support programme or other agreement must have a time limit by which point the pupil is expected to attend full-time or be provided with alternative provision.

When considering a reduced timetable for children, the following will be considered:

  • Why we believe this is the best course of action
  • What extra support the pupil will receive while at school
  • Expectations for the pupil when they're not at school
  • What they'll be doing when they're at home during school time – including how they'll be expected to complete any work set
  • Who the designated adult responsible for their care will be – e.g. will an adult be available when the pupil's meant to be at home?
  • How they'll access free school meals if they're entitled to them

Legal sanctions

As part of promoting good attendance and punctuality, Harrow Local Authority will use its legal powers to enforce school attendance where this becomes problematic, including powers to prosecute parents who fail to comply or fail to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school.

The Harrow Council website provides a clear outline of the process for escalating cases for legal action, which is called the Attendance Intervention Model (AIM).  This can be found at the following website: 


Education Penalty Notices

The issuing of Penalty Notices may be appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • Absence from school
    • At least 20 sessions (10 school days) lost to unauthorised absence within a period of no more than 12 weeks (term time).
    • A leave of absence of at least 10 consecutive sessions (5 school days) not approved by Headteacher as exceptional.
  • Lateness
    • In cases where a child persistently arrives at school after the register has closed and has received at least 8 unauthorised late marks within a period of 10 weeks (term time).
  • Following a Truancy Patrol
    • Penalty Notices will not be issued during a truancy patrol but enquiries will be undertaken with the school of any pupil stopped.  In cases where the school has recorded an unauthorised absence and where the pupil has been stopped on a previous truancy patrol within the past twelve months, a Penalty Notice may be issued.
  • Where the Harrow Council’s Education Services believes that a Penalty Notice is the most appropriate way to deal with irregular school attendance as the child has attendance below 90% and at least 5% absences are unauthorised.
  • Where a child has been excluded from school and is found in a public place during school hours without reasonable justification within the first five days of the exclusion period.  Reasonable justification will be assessed on the individual circumstances of each case but may include the medical emergency of the parent or child or a pre-arranged medical appointment.

See Appendix 10 of our Attendance Policy for an example of a letter for which leave has not been authorised and which will lead to a Penalty Notice or Court Prosecution.

Parents must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days.  In cases where there is more than one poorly-attending pupil in a family, a penalty notice may be issued to each parent in respect of each child.  Up to three penalty notices may be issued per child during each academic school year if appropriate.