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The Importance of Attendance

Our Values and Beliefs

We know that in order for a child to achieve, they must feel that they belong. A sense of belonging at school depends on close relationships with staff, friends and the hustle and bustle of school life and all of its opportunities. When a child is in and out of school, their sense of belonging erodes and their life chances are placed at risk.


As adults, we know that life can pull us in many directions. We know that life will throw many challenges in our path and we have to learn to keep to that path and learn to live with difficulties and not succumb to every problem that we encounter. It is the same for students.

We don’t call upon children or adults to be either courageous or compassionate – we seek both. This means that we care very deeply about why a child might be absent or about to miss school, but also call upon us all to show some courage in understanding why and overcoming the barriers that may diminish that child’s life chances.

The Importance of Attendance at CNS

For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend school regularly and are on time each day. There is strong research evidence which links high attendance with academic success. Attending school every day not only leads to better outcomes in GCSEs and A levels, but it has many other benefits such as helping our children to develop a real sense of belonging within the school community, healthy routines and habits, to help build strong relationships with peers and staff, and to improve our children’s self-esteem and confidence.

What Does Strong Attendance Look Like?

Attending school every day will result in 100% attendance. This means that a child will not only be maximising their academic potential by accessing all their lessons, but they will also benefit through the interactions they have with their peers and other adults, helping to support their social and emotional development.

There are many students who regularly achieve 100% attendance, but we do understand that sometimes this is not possible, and absence is unavoidable.

When this is the case, we aim for a minimum attendance of 96%. Research suggests that below this percentage a child may become at risk of underachieving at school. Should this figure fall below 90% they are at high risk of underachievement which may negatively impact their long term future and life chances.

The table below helps to show the effect of this lost learning.

Click to see attendance letter September 23

The greater the attendance, the greater the achievement

90% attendance =
half a day missed every week

90% attendance over one year =
4 missed weeks

90% attendance over 5 years =
half a school year missed

Research suggests that 17 missed school days a year equates to a drop in one grade at GCSE

What School Does to Support Strong Attendance

  • We have high expectations and aspirations for all our students.
  • We make sure that there are good reasons to attend school each day. For example, our subject teachers make lessons interesting and engaging.
  • We also provide lots of extra-curricular activities through our extra-time and sports clubs.
  • We record and monitor every child’s attendance and punctuality closely. This then leads to constructive conversations with our students and parents/carers around attendance.
  • Our attendance officer, pastoral leaders and family support workers will telephone or email on the first day of any unexplained absence. This is to keep our students safe and to offer support.
  • We work closely with other professionals such as the Oxfordshire County Attendance and Engagement Team.

What Can Parents/Carers Do to Support Strong Attendance?

  • Talk regularly with your child about school and how they feel about it. They are more likely to attend if they feel supported and anxieties listened to.
  • Telephone us as soon as possible to tell us why your child is absent, and when you expect them to return. Save the school number to your phone to make things easy on those busy mornings.
  • Encourage resilience by only granting days at home for genuine illness.
  • Know routines of the school day to avoid issues, e.g. have they got their PE Kit?
  • Never take holidays in school time.
  • Praise and reward good attendance from your children.
  • If you have any concerns… ring us – we will check attendance and be discreet with you.
  • Talk to us to resolve issues. There is a strong pastoral team to support you and your child. You are not alone.

Important Information – The following information outlines some important housekeeping:

The School Day

The school day begins at 8:40am. Your child must be in their tutor room to be registered at this time if they are to avoid being marked late or absent for the morning session. Tutor time closes at 8:55am – students arriving after that time must sign in at main reception and have a note and valid reason for arriving late. The school day finishes at 3:15pm.

Reporting An Absence

If an absence is unavoidable, please contact Mrs Whyte (our Attendance Officer): 01608 656854 or email [email protected]. The school absence line is a 24/7 messaging system. You can leave a message at any time. When reporting an absence please ensure the reason for the absence is clear, try to avoid using general terms such as “unwell”.

What is an Authorised Absence?

  • When the school is satisfied that the absence was for a good and legally acceptable reason.
  • When the school has been informed of an illness.
  • When the school is informed of an intended absence, such as a dental appointment that cannot be arranged outside of school hours.
  • When the absence is the result of the pupil taking part in a day of religious observance.

What is an Unauthorised Absence?

  • When no reason for the absence has been provided.
  • When the absence is for a reason that the school cannot accept, for example a shopping trip or looking after a younger child at home.
  • When the parent takes the child away from school for a trip, visit or holiday that has not been agreed by the school.

Long periods of unauthorised absence

  • May result in a fine.
  • Court proceedings.

Medical Appointments

  • Where possible please make these appointments out of school hours.
  • In the event that medical appointments can only be made during school hours, please send your child to school with a letter which they need to show to their tutor/class teacher.
  • Your child must sign out at reception (leaving the letter with the receptionist) before leaving school
  • On returning to school your child must sign back in at reception.

Holidays during Term Time

The Headteacher will not grant leave of absence unless in exceptional circumstances. An application must be made in advance to the Headteacher and leave of absence is granted entirely at the Headteacher’s discretion.

If families do take holidays during term time, without consent, these absences will not be authorised and may result in a fine. If you take your child on holiday for two weeks every year, your child will miss more than six months education during the time they are of statutory school age.
What will happen if I take my child on holiday without permission from school?

If no permission is granted by the school and you still take your child on holiday, a Warning Notice may be sent. If you take a second holiday without permission, a Penalty Notice, carrying a fine of £60 per parent can be issued, or you may even be prosecuted under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 for failing to ensure that your child attends school. Children of statutory school age are required to attend school on 190 days a year. This means that there are 175 days in a year when your child is not required to attend school.

And finally

As parents/carers you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your child attends school regularly but also play an important role in encouraging your child to see the significance of education. Further information regarding attendance can be found in our attendance policy on our website.

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