School Opening Times

All schools doors, including Nursery, close at 8:55am. All children after this point must be signed in by a parent or carer at the school main entrance and a late mark will be recorded against their name. A significant number of late marks will be addressed with the Educational Welfare Officer.

School closes at 3:15pm and children should be collected from their class teacher at this time.


Our school attendance target, set by the Government, is 96%. The DfE have asserted that parents are responsible for making sure that their children of compulsory school age receive a suitable full-time education and ensure that their child attends all 380 sessions of an academic year. We take our policy guidelines from the Department for Education ( and these are outlined below.

How does this work?

Children must be present, in class, at 8:55am and 1:00pm to gain their mark in the register. Each session (am & pm) is counted towards attendance. Therefore for every day lost counts as two absences. A child who is off sick for a week will have ten absences and a child who goes on holiday for two weeks in term time will have twenty absences. Absence due to illness, medical appointments or lateness will be noted in the register. More information about attendance can be found on the Parent's Noticeboard at the school gates. 

How do I know what my child's attendance is?

Attendance is monitored weekly in school. Each term we send home RAG (Red, Amber, Green) letters with your child's current attendance so you are aware of their current percentage of attendance. Green letters go to anyone with attendance above 96%, Amber 90-95% and Red is below 90%. If your child's attendance is red or appears to be worsening action may be taken by the Education Welfare Officer to support you in improving your child's attendance. If at any point you are concerned about your child's attendance, please do not hesitate to contact the school office for an appointment. 


Absence Notification

From time to time, children may need to be absent from school. If your child must be absent, it is vital that we are notified as soon as possible. Please contact the school before 9:30am to inform the Office staff, who can update the registers appropriately. Upon your child's return to school we also request a written notification as to the reason for absence which can then be added to your child's records. Alternatively, download a copy of our Absence Notification template for parents which is a simple way of noting down the reason for absence and return to your child's class teacher. All evidence for a child's absence is recorded on their school record which can be inspected by the Local Authority where there are concerns. 

If you are planning on taking a child out of school is it vital that the correct procedures are followed. A request for absence form (available from the school office) must be completed and submitted two weeks before the first day of absence which will be put to the Senior Management for approval. You will be informed in writing whether your request has been approved or not. The letter you receive must be kept safely, and if travelling taken with you, until after the period of absence. 

What is unauthorised attendance?

Unauthorised attendance is when a child is absent from school either a) for a reason that school cannot saction/approve e.g. birthdays, shopping or  holidays; or b) when your child is absent and you have not informed school as to why they are not in. If a child has more than 10 unauthorised absences in an academic year, action can be taken by the authority via the Education Welfare Officer and this can lead to fines or even attending court. Where a dispute over whether an absence is unauthorised, advice will be sought from the DfE. As directed by the Department for Education, we are unable to authorise holidays during term time unless there are exceptional reasons for it. When applying for holiday leave please outline any reasons that you believe set your application as exceptional and these will be taken into consideration.

Please note: If we have evidence that a misleading or false reason for absence is given, we can investigate and it can lead to Education Welfare involvement and even a fine. As such we ask that parents/carers communicate openly and honestly with school staff regarding their child's absence.  

How do I avoid getting an unauthorised attendance mark?

Make sure you contact school on the first day of absence stating the reason for their absence e.g. they are ill - try to provide an overview of the illness. Make sure you return a note when they come back to school which covers the reason for illness. A proforma is provided at the top of the page. If your child is absent for a medical appointment, bring a copy of the appointment card to the office and they will copy it onto your child's attendance record. Finally, avoid taking holidays or travelling on school days. 

What is persistent absence?

As of September 2015, Persistent absence refers to children/young people who have 10% or more absence from school. This refers to all absence including, medical appointments, illness, religious observation and holidays in term time.Therefore any child who has more than 10% absence would be classified as persistent absence and questions will be asked as to the reason for absence. This does not mean that parents/carers will automatically be at risk of prosecution. However, questions will be asked as to whether there are interventions that could be put into place that would result in the reduction of days lost to absence.

What will happen if a child's absence goes over the 10% threshold?

During routine visits to school, the Education Welfare Officer will discuss all children who have 10% absence or more or those who are at risk of becoming persistent absentees. They will ask for details as to the reason given for the absence. Where there are genuine reasons and children's records are up to date, no further action will be taken. However, if it is felt that additional support is needed they could ask the school to speak directly to the parent/carer or speak to them their selves should they feel there are opportunities to improve the level of attendance.

What can you do about it?

  • Ensure your child is in school as much as possible.
  • All children do get ill but if they are off on Monday but better by Wednesday they should return to school rather than have the whole week off. If your child is ill in school they will contact you.
  • If the ailment is minor e.g. a headache, a cold etc. consider sending your child to school with a dose of medicine and approach the office to discuss the administration of a temporary medication for that day. 
  • Try to make medical and dental appointments at the end of the school day. This will not count as an absence. If they are during school time, make sure you pass a copy of the medical appointment to the Office to add to their record. 
  • Only keep children away for the required time of any appointments e.g. an afternoon appointment does not require a whole day off.
  • Avoid holidays in term time as far as possible. Legally, we are unable to give authorisation. 
  • Notify school if you are planning for your child to be absent - honesty is always the better policy and a more understanding approach can be taken by school where we have all the correct information. People have been prosecuted for misleading absence information and we wish to avoid this at St. Gilbert's. 


Try to take holidays in the 175 days that school is closed. Do not let your child miss out! 

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