Junior School


At Firside Junior School we know that good attendance is the key to success.

We believe that all our pupils are entitled to the highest standard of education and are capable of achieving great things.

However, this is only possible if pupils attend school every day.

All schools are expected to rigorously monitor and challenge poor pupil attendance.

We aim for 100% attendance and have a target of 96% or better for the school.

If a pupil’s attendance falls below 90% this is considered persistent absence.

We expect parents to work with the school to improve their child’s attendance if they fall below 90%.

Absence of less than 90% over the course of a pupil’s school life works out at over half a year of missed education. Research shows poor attendance can significantly impact on future academic success.

If a child is classed as persistently absent, you will be contacted by the school. We expect you to work with us to improve attendance.

In some cases, we will have to make a referral to the local authority school attendance service which can lead to fixed penalty notices. Additionally, in some cases referrals will have to be made into children’s social care and other extended services, particularly if we feel that the welfare of the child is being affected.


Punctuality is part of good attendance.

The school day starts at 8:45am. This is the time we expect pupils to be at school. Therefore they need to arrive on the school premises between 8:30 and 8:40.

Arrival after 8:45 will be recorded as a late mark. Registration closes at 9:15. Arrival after the register has closed will result in unauthorised absence mark.

Contacting school about absence

If your child is absent from school, you must telephone the school before 9:30am.

Appointments should be made outside of the school day where possible.

If appointments fall in the school day, pupils should attend school before and after the appointment.

Holidays should not be taken during the school terms. The law states that children should attend school every day and there is no entitlement for parents to take their child on holiday during term time. It makes clear that schools must not grant any holiday or other absence unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Parents will receive a penalty notice from the Local Authority if their child has had 10 or more absences without the consent of the school. 1 absence is a morning or afternoon session. One whole day counts as two absences.

IMPORTANT changes to Penalty Notice fines

From 19th August 2024 a first offence Penalty Notice costs £160 per parent, per child (reduced to £80 per parent, per child if paid within 21 days).

A second offence (within 3 years of the first) will result in a Penalty Notice of £160 per parent per child with no reduction for early payment.

For a third offence and any other offences (within 3 years) no Penalty Notice will be issued and the case will be presented straight to the Magistrate’s Court. Prosecution can result in criminal records and fines of up to £2,500.

For more information on fixed penalty notices, follow this link:


For general information around school attendance, please follow this link:

What is an “Unauthorised” absence?

An Unauthorised Absence is any absence that the school has not given permission for, or the parent/carer has been unable to provide a reason for the absence, which is acceptable to the school.

What is an “Authorised” Absence?

Regulations make it clear that schools can only authorise a leave of absence for:

  • Medical appointments
  • Religious observance
  • Exceptional circumstances (e.g. a family funeral).

Neither should schools authorise absences if they believe it is to the detriment of a student’s education or if the absences are during school exam periods and SAT’s.

What about family holidays in term-time?

The regulations make it clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Family holidays do not constitute exceptional circumstances.

What happens if we still go on holiday anyway?

If you still go on holiday, the school has to refer the case to the Local Authority for action to be considered. You could be liable for a Fixed Penalty Notice.