OFSTED July 2023 - We are a GOOD School!

Attendance & Absence

Benwick Primary School aims to work together with Parent/Carers and the Local Authority Attendance Officers (LAAOs) to ensure that all children registered at school attend every day and on time, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. Regular attendance at school is vital. Absence means missed learning and without good attendance the learning process becomes fragmented and unsatisfactory. It is a legal requirement that students of compulsory school age receive full-time education and this, with the exception of those educated at home or elsewhere, means regular attendance at school. Irregular attendance leads to students missing important learning and therefore not fulfilling their true potential. 


Parent/Carers must:

  • Ensure all children registered at Benwick Primary School attend regularly and punctually everyday unless prevented from doing so by illness or medical appointment.
  • Inform school in advance of any medical appointments during school time, parents will be asked to provide supporting evidence from the hospital, doctor or dentist, such as appointment details card/letter/text message in relation to the time requested.
  • Ensure their child arrives at school in time for registration. Lateness is monitored and will be recorded as unauthorised after 8.55am.



  •  The gate is opened at 8.40am.
  • The gate is locked at 8.45am.
  • The gate is locked at 8.45am.
  • Once the gate has been locked, entry to the school is via the office entrance.
  • Registers are open at 8.40am and closed at 8.45am. Pupils who arrive at school after this time will be recorded as L, late on the register.
  • Pupils who arrive at school after 8.55am, without an unavoidable reason, will have their lateness recorded as U, unauthorised late which then impacts on their overall attendance level.


Parent/Carers must contact school on the first and every subsequent day of absence by 9am. A message can be left on the absence line giving the student’s name, class and reason for absence or can be emailed to office@benwick.cambs.sch.uk .


For any pupil not present at the close of registration, and the reason is still unknown, a member of staff will attempt to make contact with the Parent/Carers once the registers have closed.  


Non-attendance and the law

All parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child receives an education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and any special needs. Most parents fulfil their legal obligation by registering their child in a school.

  • Children must legally be in education between the school term after their fifth birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.
  • The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. Raising the participation age means that young people must continue with some form of education or training until they are 18.

Non-attendance at school

Failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at school is a criminal offence. If with support from the school's attendance officer and/or the Local Authority, your child’s attendance does not improve, the Local Authority will consider one of two actions:

  • Penalty Notice. We can give each parent a fine of £60, which rises to £120 each if you do not pay within 21 days. If payment is not received within 28 days from the issue of the penalty notice, we may prosecute you for the offence of 'irregular attendance'. You could then be subject to a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction.
  • Prosecution in the Magistrates' court. Both parents could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to three months each. The court may also give you a Parenting Order.

The offence will apply to each child individually. Both parents are liable for the offence. The Education Act considers each 'responsible adult' as a 'parent'. This includes a family friend or relative if the child lives with them and they provided day-to-day care.


Guidance for Parents – Term Time Leave


Parents do not have the right or entitlement to take their child out of school for a term time holiday. Recent government guidelines have removed the discretion on head teachers agreeing to term time leave. Any requests for leave of absence need to be submitted before the leave is taken. Parents must complete a Leave of absence form and provide any supporting evidence, if applicable, with their request. This also applies to parents requesting to take their child out of school during the school day.


If the school suspect Term Time Leave has been taken but the parent/carers have not completed a leave of absence form, we will write to all parent/carers giving them an opportunity to clarify the reason for absence and provide supporting evidence. Failure to respond to or provide supporting evidence will result in a referral to the Local Authority for unauthorised leave from school and could be subject to a penalty notice/fine for pupils of statutory school age.


Exceptional circumstance (definition of exceptional: rare, unavoidable, short) will be considered on an individual basis, such as

  •          day of religious observance
  •          exceptional family circumstances, such as bereavement
  •          visits with a prospective new school

The following examples of requests for leave of absence that do not meet the criteria of an exceptional circumstance and will not be authorised and could be subject to a penalty notice/fine for pupils of statutory school age are:


  • Cheaper holidays/flights in  the UK or abroad
  • Holidays that overlap the beginning or the end of term
  • Trip of a life time
  • Visiting family or friends who have different half term holiday dates
  • Family weddings for more than 1 day or visits to see family abroad
  • Relatives  coming to visit
  • Extension of leave if a pupil has not returned to school after an agreed absence if does not meet grounds for an exceptional circumstance

Any parent who takes a child out of school for term time leave for 6 consecutive sessions (3 days) or more, not authorised by the school (under exceptional circumstances rule), may receive a Penalty Notice. 

Schools may also request prosecution, in exceptional circumstances where a parent takes a child out of school during term time for an extended period (20 days or more).