At Lyndhurst Primary School we recognise that learning is a life long journey. We aim for all pupils to engage in learning experiences which inspire, motivate and challenge them. We are an inclusive school where the cultural diversity that exists amongst us is celebrated and aids our deeper understanding of the world we live in. As such, we view excellent attendance at school not only a legal requirement but also a moral duty.

What the Government is saying post lock down

The Government is focusing on attendance at school since lockdown ended as many more pupils have missed too many days of school. They are looking to issue a fixed penalty notice where there are 5 days or more of unauthorised absence in a full term, and to begin court proceedings if a family already has 2 penalty notices issued to them.

We want to ensure all our families know about what might happen and also how we can support you to have at least 96% attendance in a school year.

An image displaying the outside of Lyndhurst Primary School
An image of a pupil learning on an ipad



To help you understand attendance at Lyndhurst, explore they key points below...

 Absence from School

Children are required to attend school for 190 days each year, if they do attend for 190 days, this would be 100% attendance. We aim for every child to be at school 100% of the time, however 96% is acceptable as this allows for the inevitable days of absence due to sickness. 

The table below indicates how just a few days absence can result in children missing a significant number of lessons. It has been proven that children who miss a lot of school achieve less.

10 Days
2 Weeks
50 Lessons
19 Days
4 Weeks
100 Lessons
29 Days
6 Weeks
150 Lessons
38 Days
8 Weeks
200 Lessons
48 Days
10 Weeks
250 Lessons
57 Days
11 1/2 Weeks
290 Lessons
67 Days
13 1/2 Weeks
340 Lessons

Late Arrival at School Explained

When a child arrives late at school, they miss important events like assembly, teacher instructions and introductions. Children also feel embarrassed at having to enter the classroom late.

The table below indicates how frequent lateness can add up to a considerable amount of learning being lost. This can seriously disadvantage children and disrupt the learning of others. Please help children in your care to be punctual.

5 Minutes
3 1/2 Days
17 Lessons
10 Minutes
7 Days
35 Lessons
15 Minutes
10 1/2 Days
52 Lessons
20 Minutes
14 Days
70 Lessons
25 Minutes
21 Days
104 Lessons

How We Celebrate Attendance

In school we encourage everyone to do their very best and come to school on time every day and we will be introducing the following:

  • We have displays about the importance of attendance around the school
  • We celebrate each class’ attendance with a certificate on each classroom door
  • We tell you about your child’s attendance during parents evening
  • Attendance is spoken about during assemblies
  • The class with the best attendance each term receives a reward
  • Pupils with 100% attendance each term will receive a certificate
  • At the end of the year, those pupils with 100% attendance and most improved attendance will receive an award

Who To Talk To About Attendance

If you have any questions at all about your child’s attendance, here is who you can ask:

  • Office staff – these are the staff you will speak to first if you phone the school about absence. You can explain to them the reasons for your child’s absence or lateness and they will note it down. They may ask you questions to be really clear they are putting down the right thing.
  • Ms Nowakowska – as a senior member of staff, Ms Nowakowska leads on attendance. She will invite you to meetings about attendance and you could ask to speak to her if you have important information about your child’s attendance. Ms Nowakowska mostly works with families where the children are persistently absent (attendance less than 90%), because this is very serious. She also does assemblies and rewards really good/most improved attendance
  • Mr Turnham– if you want to request a holiday during term time or special leave then you must write to Mr Turnham using the Request for Term Time Leave form. He is the only person who can allow families to miss any school for this reason. Please remember the policy of the school, the local authority, the Trust and the Government is to say no to holidays during term time.
  • Education Welfare Officer (EWO) – We work very closely with the Early Help Team. They support Ms Nowakowska by taking on the cases where pupil attendance is extremely low – less than 90%. Beverley Swack (Team Manager) is the person who works with the school to issue fixed penalty notices where they are required, and to prepare cases for court.

Arriving Late to School

Poor punctuality is not acceptable.  If your child misses the start of the day they can miss learning and do not spend time with their class teacher getting vital information and news for the day. Late arriving pupils also disrupt lessons which can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence.  Learning will not be stopped when late children arrive in the class as this is unfair on the children who are punctual to school.  It is the responsibility of all parents and carers to ensure that their child/ren are in school on time.

All times are taken from the clock in the main office

8.45am: School gates open and pupils can go into school

8.55am: School bell rings – children line up

9:00am:  School gates are closed, learning time begins – all pupils who are now late must go to the school office and are registered as ‘late’. Parents/Carers will have to provide the exact reason as to why they are late. This will be recorded on the register as code L up until 9:14am. Code L does not contribute to the issue of penalty notices.

9:15am onwards: Children are registered as ‘very late’. Parents/Carers will have to provide the exact reason as to why they are very late. This will be recorded on the register as code U. Code U does contribute to penalty notices as it is an unauthorised absence. It is very important to avoid code U by being on time for school every day.

Visiting the Doctor or Dentist

If it is possible please arrange for medical appointments to be outside of school time. However if you have had to go in an emergency for your child,you must bring with you evidence that you have been. This can be an appointment card, a prescription that has been issued on that day, or evidence that you called the surgery to speak to someone and take advice. If the school has seen the evidence then the absence will be recorded as code M. This is authorised. If there is no evidence then it will remain as code L or code U.

My child is unwell today - what should I do?

Everyone is unwell at times and needs to stay at home to get better. However, parents and carers have a legal duty to ensure that their children attend school regularly and punctually in order to optimise their learning, achieve the best they can and get the most out of their school experience.  Failure to do so is an offence under section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996.

If your child is absent you must tell the school as soon as possible. You can do this by:

  • Calling us on 0207 703 3046 on the first day of absence, and then each day that your child is absent. It is important to do this everyday so we know where your child is. We will make a note on our registers of when we spoke to you and what you said.
  • Visiting the school office in person, where you can speak to a member of staff. Parents who have more than one child at the school often use this method.
  • When your child returns to school, please send a note in with an explanation of the absence – you must do this even if you have already telephoned us – it is important for our records.

If your child is absent we will:

  • Telephone or text you on the first day of absence. We may do this even if you have already called in and left a message. We will note down on our registers the time we made, or tried to make, contact with you, and the reason you gave for absence.

If we are very concerned and worried about your child’s attendance because it is lower than 96%, we will:

  • Invite you in to discuss the situation with Ms Nowakowska
  • Refer the matter to the Southwark Education Attendance Officer (EWO) if attendance moves below 90%.

What happens if only one of my children is ill but it means I can’t bring the others to school?

The absences for those children who are not unwell is unauthorised. It will be recorded as code O. Code O will go towards a penalty notice (or court proceedings).

What happens if I am unwell, as a parent/carer, and I can’t bring my child/ren in to school?

The absences for those children who are not unwell is unauthorised. It will be recorded as code O. Code O will go towards a penalty notice (or court proceedings).

Only the school can authorise the absence

Parents and carers think that they can authorise their child’s absence, but this is not the case. Only the school has the authority to do this. If your child is away from school due to a lot of illness, then the school may decide not to authorise the absence. If our attendance staff believe that this is a possibility in the near future for your child, they will get in touch with you to let you know and warn you, that in order to have any future absences authorised due to illness, the school will require medical evidence.

What is medical evidence?

Medical evidence is something that you could easily get if your child has been unwell. It is NOT asking your GP for a letter, it is NOT asking you to tell us all the details of your child’s medical history. Here are some suggestions of what you can bring to us:

  • An appointment card/slip/text/email that is from your surgery and the date on this matches a day your child was absent from school
  • A copy of the prescription that has been issued – it must be in the name of the child who is absent and also cover the date/s of absence
  • A record on your mobile telephone that you called your GP surgery to ask for advice. When you call, please ask for the name of the person that you spoke to.

If the school has authorised the absence due to illness it will appear as code I on your child’s attendance record. Code I means ‘illness’

If the school has not authorised the absence it will appear as a code O on your child’s attendance record. Code O means ‘reason provided for absence but the school has chosen not to authorise’

What if I think my child or a close contact has COVID-19?

The rules around what we must do if we have COVID-19 have changed many times since the pandemic started. As of March 2022 if you have confirmed COVID-19 as the cause of illness through a PCR or LFT then you should/must stay at home for three days.

On the 4th day, if your child feels well enough (specifically no temperature/fever/vomiting) then they can come back to school. There is no requirement to be absent for any more days or a negative test result.

There is no requirement to self-isolate, so any other members of the household or any other close contacts can attend school as long as they are well.

Having COVID-19 is really like having any other illness, there are no special directions.

Christmas Absence

We have had a number of families who have gone away at Christmas or other school holidays, saying their relatives are ill and on the due date for return have either not come back or have called to say something else has happened and they don’t know when they will be returning. If we do not hear from you and you do not return on time, we must report your child to the local authority as a child missing in education. If it has not been possible to return on time you will need evidence to prove why, but you are risking a fixed penalty notice of £120 per child.

Absences around the holiday period

We monitor very closely and it is always noted when a child is ill just before or just after a holiday period. If we suspect that you have gone on holiday you risk being issued with a penalty notice (£120 per child) We are very thorough in our checking, we will phone parents and carers and will expect to be able to get hold of you. We may also come to visit your home address.

Remote Education

Learning through a screen is not a substitute for learning in the classroom, particularly if your child is the only one online. We do not view being educated remotely as a mitigation for a holiday during term time. No school is required to provide remote education except on the  occasions when individual pupils, for a limited duration, are unable to physically attend their school but are able to continue learning, for example pupils with an infectious illness.

Asking for special leave

What is special leave?

This is when you need to take your child/ren out of school during term time because you cannot avoid it. An example of this is a religious observance.

Religious observance (code R)

Lyndhurst recognises that there may be times where children of different faiths observe religious festivals that fall outside of school holidays and weekends, and will consider authorising absence for these times. This covers important events in the calendars of the six main world religions, such as Eid or Orthodox Christmas or Easter. We expect parents to be aware of these dates, well in advance. If it is authorised, the headteacher will decide how many days. The first day can be code R, subsequent days would be authorised under code C

External examinations (code C)

Some of our children take additional classes or study additional skills outside of their time at school. This is something we greatly encourage at Lyndhurst. If time is needed to sit an exam for these activities, or appear in a public performance then this is considered to be special leave. Evidence of the date and time of the exam/trial, or a performance license, in the case of appearing in a public performance, will be needed in order to authorise.

Induction days/interviews/examinations for secondary schools (code J)

Only for year six pupils and most likely to happen in the autumn term and the end of the summer term. Evidence of being registered for an exam and being invited for interview/induction, must be provided in order to authorise.

Applying for special leave

For all of these circumstances (above) parents should now request the leave  by completing a term time leave request in advance (download the PDF or collect from school office).

If you believe you have a very good reason to take your child out of school during term time, and it is not one of the above, then please put it in writing to Mr Turnham using the form here. If Mr Turnham makes the decision to authorise, then, no matter the circumstances, we will always ask for evidence. Mr Turnham will then write to you, telling you what evidence is required.