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Somersham Primary School


Primary School


Why good attendance matters


Regular school attendance is an important part of giving children the best possible start in life. The aim should be to attend 100% of the time.


We believe excellent attendance and punctuality at school is vital for:

  • a child's ability to learn and achieve;
  • the social skills they learn interacting with their peers and adults;
  • for learning habits that will last into later life;
  • for equipping them to compete in employment and the working world;
  • safeguarding children from harm.


The whole school community – pupils, parents and carers, teaching and support staff and school governors – have a responsibility for ensuring good school attendance and have important roles to play. 


As a parent/carer or a school-aged child, you should:

  • Send your child to school on time every day 
  • Notify the school on the day of an unplanned absence – for example, if your child is unable to attend due to ill health – by 9.30a.m or as soon as practically possible
  • Return your child to school as soon as they are well enough
  • Take family holidays during school holidays

Missing a few days of school here and there may not seem a big deal, but research shows that it can have a significant impact on children's learning.
Children who miss a substantial amount of school fall behind their peers, and struggle to catch up.

Poor attendance often starts at primary school, and children who fall into this pattern are likely to underachieve at secondary school. Pupils who miss between 10 and 20% of school (that’s 19 to 38 days per year) stand only a 35% chance of achieving five or more good GCSEs, compared to 73% of those who miss fewer than 5% of school days.

Friendships can be affected by persistent absence, too: it can be hard for a child who misses lots of school to form relationships with their classmates.

Poor attendance also reflects badly on our school. Ofsted expect all schools to have good attendance rates, and they are marked down in inspections if their absence figures are too high. 


What counts as good attendance?

An attendance rate of 95% is generally considered good.


Persistent absence (PA) is defined as an attendance rate of 90% or below.

Where absence falls below 90%, the school will invite parents to a meeting to discuss the reasons for the absences. Plans will be put in place with the parents and pupil to resolve any difficulties and improve the attendance within a specified time limit. It will be explained to parents that any future absences will be unauthorised unless there is clear evidence of a good reason for them.