Bushey Primary

Education Federation

Educating Today's Child For Tomorrow

Late/Absence Procedures

Attendance & Punctuality


At both of our Bushey Primary Education Federation schools, we work extremely hard to ensure children are learning to their best ability and are happy within our schools.


An essential part of this is every child’s punctuality and attendance.  Every child and parent/carer has a part to play, as well as every member of staff, in making sure that we have excellent standards for attendance and punctuality.


We have high expectations for all of our pupils and that starts with attendance. 

Designated Lead for attendance is Mrs T Harrington at Bushey & Oxhey Infant School, and Mrs A Forster at Bushey Manor Junior School.  Both members of staff meet termly with the Attendance Improvement Officer from Hertfordshire and review children for whom attendance at school is a concern.



Attendance should be at least 97%.  97% is the same as 6 days off school during the whole school year.

 You can read our full attendance policy by clicking on the link at the bottom of this web page.



If your child cannot come to school you must:

  1. Phone the school, before 9.30am, to let us know that your child will be off and why.
  2. If your child has an appointment and will be off for part of the day you can show us the letter or appointment card.
  3. If you do not contact school on the first day of absence we will try to contact you, this may include coming out to your house.
  4. If you do not provide school with a reason for absence we have no choice but it mark it as unauthorised.



Every morning, our admin staff check who is absent and follow routine safeguarding and checking procedures. If you have not informed school about your child’s absence we will try to contact you. We will phone and may make a home visit to try and find out why your child is absent. If you have told the school why your child is absent but they are off school for longer than a week, then school may phone to check on how they are. Both schools record all reasons for absence. If you do not provide a reason for why your child was off school we have to record that absence as unauthorised.



Government rules about taking holidays in school time are strict and place the importance of a child being in school as paramount, and an absolute right of the child. In line with this, neither of federation schools can allow or authorise any holidays in term time, unless there are REALLY exceptional circumstances. This includes trips to a country of origin to visit extended families, which can be made during school holiday times.


It is likely that parents/carers will receive a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice) from the council if they take their children on holiday during term time.


If you need time off during school time please fill in the form at the bottom of this web page and give it to the school office or email the form to school at the relevant office email address. Mrs Cooper is always happy to meet with parents who believe their circumstances to be exceptional in applying for term time leave. 



Attendance is counted in sessions. The school day is made up of two sessions, the morning and the afternoon. If a child is absent in the morning but comes into school in the afternoon they have missed one session, if they are absent for the whole day they have missed two sessions.



This is when the school authorises an absence because they agree that the reason is acceptable, for example:

  • Illness severe enough to prevent the child coming to school
  • Exceptional family circumstances
  • Part of the day being missed for an essential medical appointment – routine check ups should not be done in school time.



This is when the school has not allowed the absences because the reason is not acceptable, for example:

  • Taking a whole day off school for a medical appointment
  • Minor illnesses or very frequent absence due to minor illness unless backed up with a medical note
  • Holidays
  • Birthdays or day trips
  • Being tired
  • Shopping



If a child comes to school after registration period closes at 9.15am they are considered so late that they will lose their morning mark. This type of absence is automatically an unauthorised absence.



This is the group of children that schools and the council must particularly concentrate on because there attendance is poor. The Department for Education refers to a Persistent Absentee as pupils who have an attendance below a level of 90% school attendance.

90% attendance means a child has been absent for 19 days in the school year.

Persistent absenteeism is monitored every half term and children who have missed a certain number of sessions (half days) will be considered at risk of becoming persistent absentees by the end of the school year.

Persistent absence is monitored throughout the year and the names of children missing a high level of school time (regardless of the reason for absence) are collected by the Department for Education each half term.

Even if an absence is authorised it is still an absence and will count towards a final figure at the end of the year.

Persistent Absenteeism can result in Fixed Penalty Notice warnings and fines or legal action.



We know that sometimes children need urgent appointments, or parents/carers are given very little choice about the times for hospital appointments. however most appointments are routine, e.g. dental check ups, non urgent GP appointments. A lot of school time is missed due to routine medical appointments that could be arranged for a different time. While we understand that it can be hard to get appointments, we encourage parents/carers to make appointments outside of school time, or at least at the very beginning or end of the school day so children miss the least amount of time.



At Bushey Primary Education Federation, we know that a good education gives children opportunities for life. A good education starts with good attendance. There is an abundance of research which evidences the impact of high school attendance rates in the primary school years correlating strongly with strong outcomes at GCSE and A'Level. Being at school daily gives children the best chance to learn and to get the most out of all that school has to offer, such as the chance to socialise and have friends and to be involved in a wider range of activities from sports to music.

Attendance is important in every year group; in early years children learn the foundations for all of their future learning, and every year children learn more, building their knowledge and understanding.

Both of our Bushey Primary Education Federation schools are happy, successful schools and your child is part of that. We aim to give them the best opportunities for a successful future, where they quickly come to understand the importance and value of their contribution and commitment. 



Parents are notified termly if their child's attendance falls below 90%.  Some parents take issue with being informed about this and dislike the letters, particularly if there has been a one-off illness or good reason for absence.  Please try to remove the emotion from this information sharing around attendance.  We set up our computer systems to automatically send a letter to all parents/carers for whom their child's school attendance is falling below a key percentage at the end of a term, as we believe that in working together and being clear about potential issues that MAY be presenting for your child, then we are being  honest and transparent in raising your awareness and better enabling the right kind of conversations and communication between home and school. 

Please never feel the need to be defensive if your child's attendance is falling below 90%, defensiveness and anger with the school does not help your child, but instead work with us to ensure we can get your child back into school more regularly and improve the low figure. 


It might be helpful to be aware of the following. Schools talk about attendance levels in terms of percentages but what does that actually mean in days?


There are 190 days in a school year.

Percentage level          Days in school           Days absent

during the year           during the year          during the year

     100%           =            190 days           =       0 days

     97%             =            184 days           =       6 days

     95%             =            180 day             =      10 days

     90%             =            171 days            =     19 days

     85%             =            161 days            =      29 days

     80%             =            152 days            =      38 days


It is significant for your child if their attendance rates are below 85% - this means, over a school year, they have missed a month of schooling and education.  All children have a right to an education and when some of our children routinely fall below this figure, we are robust in ensuring that their rights are protected and safeguarded. In the school year 2023/2024, poor attendance falls under our safeguarding responsibility and so is now a safeguarding issue, as clearly adults who are not prioritising their children's right to an education at these levels of absence are failing their children.




Children should go to bed early enough:

Tired children are hard to wake up and find it difficult to learn. Going to bed at a reasonable time makes things easier for them and you.

Be in school regularly an on time:

It is settling for children and helps them get into a routine. The more regularly they are in school and on time the more they get used to it.

Get up early enough:

Avoid rushing and feeling stressed. Get up early enough and give yourself enough time to get ready.

Limit TV or game time in the morning:

Avoid arguments and lateness by limiting how long they are allowed to watch TV or play games in the morning (we would say not at all). If it regularly causes problems think about banning it completely in the mornings - most children who are regular attenders at school are not on devices before coming into school. 

Get things ready the night before:

If uniforms, packed lunches, etc. are ready the night before it saves a lot of time in the mornings - teach your child to take responsibility for this as soon as you can. 

Make time for breakfast:

Making time for breakfast can help to keep things calm in the morning and saves time rather than having to stop at the shops on the way to school. 



If your child is unwell please contact the school office on 01923 229731 or for Bushey & Oxhey Infants or 01923 226362 or for Bushey Manor, each day your child is off, by 9:30am.


If your child has had diarrhoea or sickness please keep them off school for 48 hours after their last bout of illness to ensure they are completely recovered.




Parents are discouraged from taking children out of school for a family holiday and are asked to request permission in writing, fill in a leave of absence application form and/or make an appointment with the Head teacher to discuss any such request which will be turned down unless there are exceptional circumstances. 

Bushey Primary Education Federation Attendance Policy