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Attendance Matters

Whitcliffe Mount aims to maximise attendance rates in order to ensure that all students are able to take the fullest advantage of the learning experiences available to them and are prepared for the world of work and further study. Every child has a fundamental right to be educated and parents have a duty to ensure their child’s full attendance at school.   

It is well recognised that good, consistent attendance at school is crucial to a child’s future prospects.  Evidence shows that children with poor attendance are unlikely to succeed academically and they are more likely not to be in education, employment, or training (NEET) when they leave school. Research suggests that when attendance falls below 90% this can equate to a 1 grade reduction in their GCSE achievement. In addition, being absent from school can leave students vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and crime. 

At Whitcliffe Mount we strive for 100% attendance for all students.  We actively promote good attendance and discourage unjustified absences.  We recognise that by promoting good attendance and punctuality prepares students for adult working life.  

Why is good attendance important?                                   
  • School work is easier to cope with                                      
  • Students feel more secure
  • Work is satisfying
  • Better results
  • Builds resilience
  • Better job prospects
  • References for jobs and further study
Rewards for good attendance
  • ePraise awards
  • Certificates
  • Letters/postcards home
  • Headteacher's Award
  • Headteacher's tea party
Leave of Absence in Term Time

There is a very clear link between a child’s attendance record and their success in learning. There is a clear link between attendance and attainment. Research shows that the equivalent of 17 days absence from school can equate to achieving a grade lower at GCSE, meaning a 4 would become a 3.

90% attendance means one half day per week, 4 weeks per year, and half a year off over 5 years in high school. We are proud of the high standards we set for attendance and are keen to encourage all our students to achieve the best possible attendance records. 

Parents/carers do not have a legal right to take children out of school during term time. Each application is considered individually by the headteacher. Permission for a leave of absence during term time must be requested 4 weeks in advance of the required date. 


Parents/carers are responsible for ensuring that their child attends school and is punctual, in full uniform and with full equipment ready to learn.  If a child is prevented for any reason from attending, or is late, parents are requested to notify the school as soon as possible – by phone call on the day of absence (by
9.00 am) and in writing if longer than 1 day.  A student’s absence from school must be considered as unauthorised until a satisfactory explanation is forthcoming from the parent.  Parents will be informed promptly of any concerns that may arise over a child’s attendance.

Parents/carers should avoid, if at all possible, making medical/dental appointments for their child during school hours.  If parents intend to take their child out of school, please ensure a leave of absence form is filled in and returned to school.    Students are expected to attend school before and after any appointments during the school day.

Penalty Notice

Penalty Notices may be issued:

  • If parents/carers have not sought permission from the headteacher before taking their child out of school for a leave of absence in term time
  • If the headteacher has refused the request but the absence occurs anyway
  • If the pupil has not returned to school by the agreed date with no satisfactory explanation


  • Where the leave of absence has been recorded by the school as unauthorised in the attendance register on at least 10 sessions (5 school days) during the current term

Where parents/carers continue to take unauthorised leave of absences in term time, despite having previously been issued with a Penalty Notice, the local authority will consider a prosecution under the S444 of the Education Act 1996. 

The penalty notice is £60, for each parent of each child, if paid within 21 days, and £120 if paid after this date but within 28 days. Non payment of a penalty notice will normally trigger a prosecution (under the provisions of section 444 of the Education Act 1996 or under the provisions of S103 (3) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006). The prosecution can only be for the original offence and NOT for the non-payment of the Penalty Notice. 

You also need to be aware that if your child fails to return to school following 20 days of absence he/she is at risk of losing their school place. 

If you still feel that you wish to apply to take your child out of school during term time due to exceptional circumstances, please download the form below. The form should be received by the headteacher 4 weeks in advance of the proposed date.

For further information please read our Attendance Policy.

Student Absence

If you require support with student absence, please see Student Absence - Supportive Information for Parents (Whitcliffe Mount Academy)