Gateway Academy Westminster

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Attendance and Absence


Why it is important to attend school regularly?

  • To give your child the best possible start in life
  • They will be able to keep up with their work
  • They will achieve better results
  • They will develop friendships and social skills

School attendance is central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential. The government has set a target of 95% attendance for all pupils. This rate allows for periods of illness or particular circumstances when absence from school is unavoidable. We want your child to attend school regularly as this supports their learning. If your child is not well or if you have a planned reason why your child cannot attend school, please inform the school at the earliest opportunity.


The Law

Children of compulsory school age must, by law, receive a full time education.

Each person with day-to-day parental responsibility could be taken to court and fined for each child who is not attending school regularly or who is persistently late.

The Education Act 1996 states that all pupils should attend school regularly and punctually. ‘If a child of compulsory school age, who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.’

Some key attendance facts:

  • Attending 90% of the time or less will have a serious effect on learning.
  • One day’s absence every two weeks will give 90% attendance.
  • Up to the age of 16, 90% attendance will mean losing over a year of school – more than half


How close is your child to 100% attendance?

Number of days off school a year

Percentage attendance

Number of lessons missed

Level of concern

0 days




2 days


10 lessons


5 days


25 lessons


10 days


50 lessons

Slight concern

20 days


100 lessons


30 days


150 lessons

Significant concern

Arrival at School

The school gates will open at 8.45 am. Your child should be in school by 8:55 am for the start of the school day.

The school gates will close at 9:00 am and if you arrive after 9.00 am, you must enter the school via the school office. If your child comes into school after 9:05 am,  it will be recorded in the late book.



Every Minute of Learning Counts!

Persistent lateness can:

  • Cause embarrassment to the child
  • Make it harder for the child to settle
  • Cause disruption to the rest of the class

The school operates a First Day Response and will telephone families where children have failed to attend school in time for morning registration.

Unplanned Absences

Please inform the school before 9.30 am on the morning of the first day of absence.

Keep the school informed if the absence is to continue.

A written explanation of your child’s absence may be required on return to school.


Authorised and Unauthorised Absence

The school can only authorise any absences in the following circumstances:

  • Genuine illness
  • Dental/medical appointments (these should be made out of school hours where possible)
  • Close family bereavement
  • Recognised religious observance
  • Examination


What is NOT acceptable?

  • Caring for a parent or sibling
  • Going shopping
  • Day trips
  • Birthdays
  • Bad weather
  • Family holidays will not be authorised

This is not a conclusive list.


Exceptional Circumstances

If you wish your child to be absent from school for any exceptional circumstances, please complete a Special Leave of Absence Request form (available from office).

This should be done at the earliest possible opportunity and with at least 2 weeks’ notice.


Planned Absences

Where possible, organise authorised absences well in advance.

Please try to arrange medical appointments during holiday times or out of school hours.

If you cannot make doctor or dentist appointments out of school hours, wherever possible, the child should come to school before the appointment and return to school afterwards.


Religious Observance

If you wish to take your child out of school for a religious observance, please inform the school.


Family Holidays

Family holidays must not be taken during the school term. The guidelines from the DfE states that schools should not authorise absence for holidays or other circumstances on the grounds of cost.

If you take your child on holiday without authorisation, the Local Education Authority has the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £60 per parent per child, rising to £120 if not paid within 28 days.


Rewarding Good Attendance

We promote the importance of good attendance and punctuality as part of our pupils’ education. At the start of the academic year, ‘great attendance’ is the focus of a class assembly. The Early Bird initiative is introduced to the children.

As part of this:

  • Every class is equipped with a ‘birds nest’ which is prominently displayed.
  • At Friday’s phase assemblies, the class in a year group with the highest attendance and punctuality is awarded the Early Bird to sit proudly in their nest. The winning class keeps the bird for the week.
  • The Early Bird display in the atrium is updated every Friday afternoon.
  • A photo of a class with the overall highest weekly attendance is published in the weekly newsletter along with a list of the year group winners.
  • At the end of every term, all children with 100% attendance and punctuality are awarded an Early Bird badge.