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Understanding Types of Absence

Every half-day absence from school must be classified by the school (not by parents/carers) as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. Therefore, information about the cause of any absence is essential, preferably in writing so that it can be recorded correctly.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for an exceptional circumstance such as illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies, or other exceptional cause authorised by the Headteacher.

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave" has been authorised. These include, but are not limited to:

  • parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • truancy before or during the school day
  • absences which have never been properly explained
  • children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
  • shopping, looking after other children, acting as interpreters or birthdays
  • day trips and holidays in term time not authorised as an exceptional circumstance
  • medical treatment overseas (unless part of emergency treatment whilst abroad on an authorised absence). 

This type of absence can lead to the Peterborough City Council, School Attendance Team, using sanctions and/or legal proceedings.  

Whilst any child may be absent from school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents/carers and the child.  If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never an option to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending.  This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse.

Impact analysis

As part of our data analysis and monitoring process we will regularly assess the outcomes of our support/interventions to measure the impact that they are having on the improvement of children’s attendance and attainment.

We will continue to meet with and engage with families to find out and help resolve any barriers to regular attendance, including signposting or referring to other agencies.

We will regularly review cases to ensure that the school is providing the appropriate support/referrals as legal action, for our school is a last resort, but sometimes cannot be avoided.