Attendance is hugely important to everyone at Woodhall, for one simple reason, it determines whether a child succeeds at school or not and we want all our children to succeed. Our policy, see Resources, outlines everything you need to know, but here are some highlights:

Why is good attendance important?

Good attendance and punctuality are vital for success at school, as well as establishing positive life habits that are necessary for future success.  

Through regular attendance, children can:

  • Engage in essential learning, developing knowledge and skills that are cumulative. Missing just a single lesson will impact on future learning! 
  • Build friendships and develop social groups
  • Develop life skills
  • Enjoy and celebrate their success

As a school, we welcome the opportunity to work with parents and carers so children can achieve good attendance.

What does the law say?

All children of compulsory school age – aged between 5-16 – must receive a suitable full-time education. Parents/ carers must register their child/ren with a school, or make appropriate alternative arrangements.

Once registered with a school, parents/ carers are also legally responsible for ensuring that their child attends school regularly. If they fail to do this – even if their child misses school without them knowing – legal action can be taken against them by their local authority.

Authorised Absence

Absences are only permitted for valid reasons such as:

  • Illness
  • Medical or dental appointments
  • Religious observances
  • Family bereavement

Wherever possible, parents should always try to arrange medical and dental appointments during school holidays or after school hours.

Unauthorised Absence

The following list is not exhaustive, but outlines some of the examples of unauthorised absence:

  • Forgetting school term dates
  • Oversleeping
  • Absences which have ot been explained
  • Arriving at school after the register has closed
  • Truancy before or during the school day
  • Keeping pupils off school unnecessarily or without explanation
  • Day trips or family outings
  • Problems with uniform/clothing
  • Birthdays and holidays

Absences/ Holidays During Term Time

Only in exceptional circumstances may an absence or holiday be authorised during term time – this will be decided by the headteacher. Exceptional circumstances do not involve cheaper costs, family availability or weather conditions.

How do I request a Term Time Absence/ Holiday?

  • All absences, including holidays, must be requested as far in advance as possible using the ‘Absence Request Form’ – forms are available from the school office
  • The minimum notice period for requests is 20-days. A reason for the request must be included, with any supporting evidence attached to the form.
  • Upon a request, the school will confirm, in writing and within 10-days, the outcome of the absence request.
  • If the headteacher is satisfied with the evidence and the notice period given, they will authorise the absence.
  • Parents/ carers considering applying for a request of absence must seek permission before taking their child/ren out of school. Without permission, parents/ carers may be issued with a penalty notice.
  • A penalty notice may be issued if a request is rejected by the headteacher and a child/ren do not attend school during the absence period requested.
  • Failure to pay a penalty notice will lead to prosecution.

What happens is an Absence Request is declined?

Where a child’s absence request is denied, and if the child does not attend during the absence period requested, it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and the school may apply the penalty notice procedure.

Further information on Suffolk County Council’s penalty notice procedures can be found by following this link:


All pupils are expected to be in their classrooms at 8.55am every day. If they arrive after this time, they will receive a late mark.

If pupils are not in their classrooms by 9.15am, they receive an unauthorised absence which can result in a penalty notice.

Good school attendance gives your child the opportunity to achieve.