Pupil attendance at Northern Counties School

In line with National Guidance on attendance, Percy Hedley Foundation believes that attendance at school is vital in maximising a child’s success at school and future life chances. Our Schools therefore endeavour to ensure that all children of school age receive a full-time education which maximises their opportunity to realise their full potential.

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause.

Unauthorised absences are those, which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no special “leave” has been given. This includes:

  • parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • truancy before or during the school day
  • absences which have never been properly explained
  • children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
  • shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
  • day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed.

At Northern Counties School, staff will work closely with families to ensure that children attend school and arrive punctually. Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child attends the school to which they are registered.

In order to ensure efficient communication and record keeping, the following procedures will be followed:

  • Notice is given by parents in advance of known absences, for example medical appointments and they should try to support attendance at school on the day of the medical appointment whenever possible.
  • In the case of a child’s illness, School should be contacted as early as possible (8:30am) by parents to notify staff. A note is taken of the child’s absence and reason for it.
  • Requests by parents for taking children out of school for family holidays MUST be made on the official request form and submitted to the Headteacher. Families are discouraged from taking children out of school for the purposes of a holiday and permission is given only at the discretion of the Headteacher.
  • A register of attendance is taken every morning at the start of the day. A note is made of a pupil’s absence and the reason for it, if known. Where the reason for lateness or absence is unknown, a phone call will be made as soon as possible to the parents to ascertain when the child will be arriving or returning to school, and the reason for lateness.
  • Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school for a variety of reasons. If your child is reluctant to attend please speak directly to a member of the staff team so that we can take steps to resolve the problem as quickly as possible and support your child accordingly.
  • In the case of an unauthorised absence, the school is required to inform the pupil’s placing authority and make them aware of the details. Parents should be aware that unauthorised absence may place their child’s placement at risk lead and could lead to the placing authority taking legal action against them.
  • On occasions, children may have a prolonged period of absence due to illness or surgery. In these cases, staff will establish prior to planned surgery, when and how the pupil will return to school, working with the parents and other agencies as required.
  • In all cases of prolonged absence (over a week), staff will visit the child in hospital and/or at home to monitor progress and provide educational and therapeutic input as appropriate.
  • If staff have any concerns about a child’s frequent or persistent absence from school, the appropriate Safeguarding Team linked to the child’s LA will be contacted.

Coronavirus – Covid-19

If your child is especially vulnerable to the potential impact of the coronavirus please contact school and we will work with you to ensure that you child continues with their education in the best way possible. We may need to arrange a meeting with you and the Local Authority in order to agree next steps.

At times it will be necessary to close part or all of the school. This is a decision that is never made lightly and always in consultation with Public Health England and following local public health guidance. If your child is at home due to having a positive coronavirus test, or because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who is positive (either from home or school) and is having to self-isolate, they will be provided with home schooling activities from their teachers and therapists.

If you have any questions at all about this please contact the school via this mailbox:


Date: October 2020