Attend to Achieve!

Excellent attendance is essential for a student to achieve their full potential.

The Priory School’s attendance target is for every student to achieve:

at least

We view any student not achieving this as a concern although we appreciate that for a very small minority there will be extenuating circumstances which prevent this from happening.

If a student’s attendance falls to below 92% you will be asked to provide medical evidence to support the absence so that it can be authorised.

Any student whose attendance is below 90% regardless of the reason, will be considered persistently absent by both the school and the government and this is when Surrey Inclusion Service may become involved.

A fixed penalty notice will be issued for unauthorised holidays.

If absence is known in advance please complete a Request for Leave of Absence form.

If absence was not planned, please use Edulink to report the student’s absence by 8:30am or if this is not possible call 01306 878 784

Important Notice

If parents/carers take their children out of school without authority for 5 or more days (which do not have to be consecutive), they will be liable to receive a penalty notice.

Currently the amount payable under a penalty notice is £60.00 per parent/carer per child if paid within 21 days.  Thereafter the amount increases to £120.00 if paid between 21 and 28 days. If the penalty notice remains unpaid after 28 days, the Local Authority will consider a prosecution in the Magistrates Court.

Please note that penalty notices are issued per parent/carer per child so a family of two parents and two children will receive 4 penalty notices.

Surrey County Council is not responsible for authorising pupil absence and therefore cannot withdraw any Penalty Notice requests without the written permission of the Headteacher.

What can parents and carers do to ensure that their child doesn’t miss out on important teaching and learning?

Every day matters

Remember that every day of attendance really does matter.

Arrive before 8:50am

Students are expected to be in school by 8:50am for an 8:55am start. Students who are over 5 minutes late will be given a break time detention.

Phone the school daily if your child is absent

Phone the school daily whenever your child is absent giving reason for absence.

Only let your child to stay off school for genuine illness

We all get colds and coughs and minor illness should not be a reason to miss a whole day. Feel free to call us for advice.

Do not take holidays in school time

We will not authorise them.

Do not allow days off

Do not allow days off for birthdays, shopping trips, etc.

Book routine appointments after 2:30pm

Make routine dental, optitians or doctor's appointments outside school time.

Ask your child about their day

to check in on any issues which may affect them wanting to be in school.

Be aware of your child's attendance level

Medical evidence may be requested to support absences – please click on the links to view Attendance Phases for Parent (1b) and Student (1c) on the Attendance Website.

Contact us if you have any concerns

Please do not hesitate to contact your child's tutor if you have any concerns regarding your child’s attendance. We will fully support your child to thrive and be safe in school.

Attendance Matters

We know that high attendance at school and achieving high grades are linked. Take a look at the table chart to see how attendance affects grades. Click on each circle to reveal how attendance affects results.

99-100% attendance


Great chance of achieving your GCSE targets.

96-99% attendance
The attendance target for every student.
90-93% attendance
Significantly reduced chance of academic success.
93-96% attendance
Cause for concern
Less chance of achieving GCSE targets.
Below 90%

Persistent absence
Serious attendance concern. You are unlikely to achieve your GCSE targets. Research shows that you will underachieve by a grade per subject.

Further Attendance Information

Please click on the headings below for further information

Phase 1

95 – 92%

Attendance concern

Unauthorised absences may be on the attendance record

  • The student will have an initial discussion with their Tutor to discuss their overall attendance.
  • Any underlying issues will be able to be fully discussed and parents and carers will be notified when required.
  • Parents will receive a letter of concern and asked to contact the tutor.
  • Attendance will be monitored each week by the school to ensure that it moves towards the school target of 96%.
  • Where attendance does not improve or where a student has regular unauthorised absences, or parents continue to fail to notify the school of the reasons, students will be automatically be moved to Phase 2 or 3.

Phase 2

92% or below

Unsatisfactory attendance level

Medical evidence

There are unauthorised absences on the attendance record.

  • Parents will receive a ‘need to provide evidence’ letter and will be asked to contact the Head of Year. Concerns will be discussed to support students and families in finding a positive way forward and to agree actions to improve the student’s attendance.  
  • Where there are frequent absences due to illness, the school will request that medical evidence is provided before any further absences are authorised. Medical evidence may take the form of a dated prescription, a prescribed medicine package with the child’s name and the date of issue or, an appointment card, dated with the child’s name on.
  • Please note that only the Headteacher, or delegated staff members can authorise school absence.

Phase 3

Below 90%

Persistent absence

Significantly below satisfactory attendance level

Unauthorised absences remain on the attendance record

  • Students’ attendance that is 90% or below is categorised as persistent absence by the Department for Education
  • Parents will be invited to attend a formal Attendance Review Meeting with senior staff present where further agreements will be made and expectations clearly shared.
  • Where concerns persist, school is required to complete a formal referral to the Local Education Authority for irregular attendance.

Phase 4

Failure to improve

Risk of Local Authority prosecution for irregular attendance

  • Parents/Guardians have a duty to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school and failure to do so is an offence under Section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996.
  • Where the Local Education Authority feel that there is sufficient evidence that an offence has been committed under the Education Act, section 444, the case will be recommended to be placed before the court. If parents are found guilty of the offence this will include a fine of up to £2,500 and the court can also impose imprisonment for up to three months.

Punctuality matters

Arrive on time

Students are expected to be in school and lining up for lesson by 8:50am for an 8:55am lesson start.

What happens if students are late

The student will be at a disadvantage. The student may miss important content at the start of the lesson and interrupt learning.

Students who are more than 5 minutes late will be required to complete a breaktime detention.

Persistent lateness – the tutor will require a meeting with students and parents to discuss lateness.


We welcome the opportunity to engage with parents and carers about their child’s attendance.
Please contact school to let us know if there are any issues that are affecting punctuality or attendance.
Early intervention and student support sits at the heart of our approach to raising levels of student attendance and achievement.

Student Leave of Absence Information and Supporting Evidence

Current attendance regulations state that a Headteacher may not grant a leave of absence during term-time unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Parents do not have the automatic right to withdraw pupils from school and, in law, have to apply for permission in advance.

Exceptional circumstances are defined as exceptional, significant family events or circumstances, and will be considered on a case by case basis. The Headteacher will consider every request individually.

Some of the examples of what will not meet exceptional circumstances criteria are:

  • Cheaper holidays in the UK or abroad
  • Family Day Trips
  • Relatives coming to visit
  • Visiting family or friends
  • Attending family weddings or visits to see family abroad

You are advised not to make any arrangements until your request has been considered by the school. If you withdraw your child without prior permission, you can be fined.

If your child is away from school during this period it will be recorded as Unauthorised Absence. As a school we are obliged to inform you that you may be subject to a Penalty Notice if your child’s absence from school is unauthorised.

The Penalty Notice fine would be £60 per parent, per child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent, per child if paid between 21-28 days. If the fine is not paid within 28 days you may be prosecuted under S444.1 of the Education Act 1996.

I must advise you that if the prosecution takes place, the maximum fine is £1,000 per parent, per child. This reflects the seriousness of unauthorised absence from school.

Please fill out this form to request a leave of absence for your child.

Leave of Absence Request Form

Contact Us

Main Office: 01306 887 337
Student Absence: 01306 878 784
Finance Office: 01306 878 796

The Priory School
West Bank