Gillingham CofE
Primary Academy


Research commissioned by the Department for Education shows missing school for even a day can mean a child is less likely to achieve good grades, which can have a damaging effect on their life chances.  At The Kingfisher Federation our aim is to work with parents to ensure that all our pupils receive the most from their education and reach their full potential.  

This letter is to remind all parents/carers regarding the law that requires them to ensure that their child attends school regularly.  The Government remains very clear that no child should miss school apart from in exceptional circumstances and schools must continue to take steps to reduce absence to support children’s attainment. 

In the DfE policy document entitled, ‘School Attendance: Guidance for maintained schools, academies, independent schools and local authorities’ it states, ‘Head teachers should not grant leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances. The application must be made in advance and the head teacher must be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances based on the individual facts and circumstances of the case which warrant the leave. Where a leave of absence is granted, the head teacher will determine the number of days a pupil can be away from school. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the head teacher’s discretion’

If the school does not receive a request for leave, the head teacher will be unable to consider your individual circumstances and the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. There will be no obligation on the head teacher to reconsider authorising the leave if an application has not been made in advance.  

The Local Authority operates a system where any pupil will meet the criteria for legal intervention where they have: 

  • at least 9 sessions (4.5 school days) lost to unauthorised absence by the pupil during the last 6 school weeks 

The intervention could be in the form of a fixed penalty notice. Any pupil at Ditchingham Primary who meets the criteria, will be referred to the Local Authority for action to be considered. 

If a fixed penalty notice is issued the arrangement for the payment will be detailed on the penalty notice. The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days of the receipt of the notice. The fixed penalty notice is per parent per child. You should be aware that failure to pay the total amount within the timescale will result in legal action being taken. All leave of absence requests need to be made in writing in advance. These will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances. If your child is unwell and is going to be absent from school, please report the absence to the office by 9.30am.

If your child is ill please either send us a message via MyEd or leave us a message on our absence line. If we have not heard from you by 9.30am, a member of staff will telephone you or text to find out where your child is. This is for your child’s safety and to ensure that we know they are safely with you. If we are concerned, we will contact the police to do a welfare call.

Gillingham CofE Primary Academy

For all enquiries, or if you would like to visit the school please contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions or make an appointment for you.

Telephone: 01502 713425 •

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