School Gateway

Hillbrook Primary School

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Absence & Punctuality

Did you know..?

If your child is late 10 minutes everyday, then over the course of a year, they will miss out on 32.5 hours of learning time – which is the same as being absent for more than a full week of school!

We want to work together with parents to provide children with the best possible start in life. Part of our role as adults is helping the children we take care of to develop important life skills, including attitudes towards attendance and punctuality.

Although we recognise that it is parental responsibility to ensure children are in school and learning, we also play our part.

Encouraging Good Attendance

Hillbrook Primary School encourages good attendance in the following ways:

  • By celebrating good and improved attendance/punctuality with our weekly Attendance Ted Awards;
  • By awarding children with 100% attendance with certificates and additional rewards;
  • By providing a caring and welcoming learning environment;
  • By responding promptly to a child’s or parent’s concerns about the school or other pupils;
  • By marking registers accurately and punctually during morning and afternoon registration.  If pupils arrive at school after the close of the register without a written explanation, the lateness will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and the pupil’s name recorded in the late book in case of a fire drill;
  • By publishing attendance statistics;
  • By monitoring pupils, informing parents/carers in writing of irregular attendance, arranging meetings with them if necessary and referring the family to the Education Welfare Service if the irregular attendance continues;
  • By hosting attendance panels and working in partnership with a proactive Education Welfare Officer.

Authorised and Unauthorised absences

We are only allowed to authorise certain categories of absence. If your child is genuinely ill, then this is authorised. If you go on holiday during term time, this is seen as wilfully preventing your child from accessing important education. In this situation your child’s absence will be noted as unauthorised. Our curriculum is carefully structured to teach your child important skills and knowledge throughout the term – therefore holidays during term time WILL NOT be authorised by the Head teacher. We have a legal and moral obligation to ensure children are not prevented from learning. If you go ahead and take your child out of school a penalty charge may be issued.

Absence and Lateness

If your child is absent or late, please contact the school office and speak to Mrs Jackie Simpson on 020 8672 3957. Children are expected to be in school at 8:45am. Children arriving late should report to the school office and then sign themselves in before heading straight to class. A reason for lateness must be provided to the class teacher.

A text will be sent on the first day of absence if parents have not informed the school of their child’s absence. 

If for any reason an absence is not explained, a letter will be sent.

Where common patterns occur the educational welfare officer will intervene at the request of the school, and attendance panels will be convened.

Parents/Carers with children with an unsatisfactory absence will be required to provide a doctor’s certificate to verify their absence.

Authorised and Unauthorised absences

Hillbrook understands that sometimes exceptional and unavoidable circumstances arise that may warrant an authorised absence. To get an absence authorised, please request and complete an authorised absence form; we consider each situation on a case by case basis. We ask you to note the following:

  • The school will not authorise any form of absence for children who have an absence level below 90% unless in exceptional circumstance or where a child has been ill for a period of time.
  • Occasional absences should only be taken in unavoidable circumstances and at the discretion of the Head teacher. Events that could take place at weekends or holidays such as visits to theme parks, museums etc will not be authorised unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • Where common patterns occur or attendance is poor the educational welfare officer will intervene at the request of the school and attendance panel convened. A fixed penalty fine could be issued unless satisfactory improvement is made.


  • Lateness is recorded
  • Doctor's appointments etc are recorded as authorised lateness using a different symbol.
  • Where there is concern a letter will be sent.
  • Where there is no significant improvement, the parents/carers will be invited into school to discuss the situation and meet at an attendance panel.

Late collection after school is also recorded. When children are picked up late persistently, parents will be contacted.