Attendance at school and attendance at every lesson is a vital part of an A Level student’s education and is essential to ensure that students have the best chance of achieving or exceeding their potential. The Head of Sixth Form has responsibility for their group’s school attendance and welfare and as a school, we have high expectations of each and every individual in the Sixth Form.

Purpose of this policy

  • To secure attendance at school unless an absence is authorised.
  • To identify problem areas that would explain non-attendance.
  • To work together with parents and students to maintain good attendance, securing help for students with problems.
  • To provide a clear framework to deal with unauthorised absence and to provide methods to support students in the improvement of their attendance where necessary.

Sixth Form Attendance Policy

  • Students can stay at home to study if they have no lessons during periods 1 and 2.
  • Students who wish to work from home during P1/2 must get a parent to complete the google form that is sent out by the Administration Team at the start of the academic year.
  • All students must be in for AM Registration.
  • When a student has finished for the day, they are allowed to go home. They must sign out using their lanyard.
  • Students are to only leave the school site at break and lunch. During their free periods, they can use the Quiet Study or Library to do independent work or they may go to the Sixth Form Common Room.
  • All students must sign in and out using their lanyards. This is so we know who is on-site in the event of an emergency.
  • If a student is not meeting the expectations that we have in relation to behaviour and attendance, interventions will be put in place. Students who do not respond to the support offered may be asked to leave.

Strategy to deal with Attendance Issues

  1. In order to deal with attendance problems effectively and efficiently, the following strategy will be followed by the school:
  2. Registers need to be marked accurately and attendance will be monitored during each lesson using the SIMS system.
  3. Parents are required to inform the school of the absence of a student on the first day of absence by telephone, using the absence line. If this is not done, parents will be contacted to confirm the reason for their absence.
  4. If an absence is known in advance parents are expected to inform the Head of Sixth Form.
  5. If a student is taken ill or for any reason has to go home, contact with a responsible adult must be made by a member of the administration team.
  6. A fortnightly attendance review will highlight any student who has unauthorised absences from school. The KS5 Co-Ordinator, will discuss these absences with the student in question. An opportunity to authorise such absences will be given and if this is not done the unauthorised absence procedure will be initiated.
  7. Subject teachers will keep records of non-attendance at individual subject lessons and form teachers will be notified of regular unexplained absences. Again, students will be given the opportunity to explain any absences and failure to do so will initiate the absence procedure.
  8. Parents will be sent the list of reasons for authorised absences.
  9. The granting of leave rests with the Headteacher.
  10. Family holidays (up to 10 days) must be requested a fortnight in advance and will only be granted where there is no undue interruption to a student’s work, such as missing vital coursework deadlines. Permission for taking a student out of school for an annual holiday can only be given by the Headteacher. Parents will complete a leave of absence form and return it to the school. Permission may then be given subject to his/her attendance record.
  11. Permission to attend University Open days must be sought in advance and permission may be given subject to his/her attendance record.
  12. The situation will be monitored at school by the Sixth Form Team.

At all times parents will be informed of problems with any of the above.

Authorised / Unauthorised Absence

The law requires all schools to indicate in their attendance register whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised. Authorised absence means that the school has given approval in advance or the explanation has been accepted as satisfactory (Education Regulations 1995).

Authorised absence

  • (a) Absence is authorised by LAW if:
  • Leave is granted for an annual holiday normally with parents. The granting of leave rests with the Headteacher.
  • Attendance is prevented due to sickness or any other unavoidable cause
  • Religious observance
  • Lack of suitable transport and the school is not within walking distance
  • Performance licences by the LEA.
  • Attendance at court in any capacity.
  • (b) Situations where authorisation might reasonably be given:
  • Domestic circumstances such as bereavement or a house fire. These would usually be deemed to be exceptional circumstances.
  • Exclusion for a fixed period
  • Attending interviews, e.g. another educational establishment
  • Medical appointments
  • Approved sporting activity
  • Study leave
  • Educational visits
  • Work experience
  • With permission granted by school and parents to upper sixth students who have free afternoon periods and wish to study at home (granted subject to attendance record and being up to date with work).

Unauthorised absence

Absence without parents’ knowledge or approval.

Condoned absence – Pupils who are kept at home for shopping, babysitting, minding the house – regardless of an explanation being given by a parent. Illness of a parent cannot be accepted as a valid reason for a student to be absent, save in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the Headteacher.
A note giving explanations for absence does not authorise the absence. The responsibility to authorise lies with the Headteacher.

Lateness – (needs to be a deferred period for registers to remain open). If a student arrives after this time he would be marked as an unauthorised absence if the reason is not accepted.
Extended visits – the length of absence needs to be determined where possible. Failure to return after the arranged date would be followed up with enquiries. If the absence continues, arrangements may be made to remove the student from the roll.

All absences must be supported by a written note from a parent or responsible adult. This will also apply to students who have attained the age of 18 years but are in full time education if living with parents. The only circumstances in which a note will be accepted from the student himself/herself is when he/she is living independently from parents. Any failure to present such a note will initiate the absence procedure. All such notes need to be retained by form tutors.


Form tutor/ school action on attendance

The role of the form tutor is crucial in recording absences and their significance. They are the first stage in the recognition and recording of concern. Parents need to be encouraged to make contact as soon as possible, not only as to absences but also with regard to other possible causes of concern. Students need to have good attendance reinforced with positive messages. Procedures should be made clear to them.
Subject teachers should be vigilant as to absences from their lessons and should complete forms for form tutors regarding non-attendance as soon as practicable.
Concerns as to absence from school or from individual lessons will be communicated to the Sixth Form Pastoral Team. Where necessary the absence procedure will be implemented.

Interpretation of data

Form tutors should look for unexplained absences and patterns of absence, e.g. Our KS5 Co-Ordinator will also run fortnightly reports to look for these patterns.

  • Regular absences or lateness on the same day
  • Frequent absences for short periods
  • Students absent for more than 3 or 4 days in any 4 weeks
  • Any group absences
  • Frequent lateness
  • Regular lateness
  • Regular absence from morning/afternoon sessions/a particular subject lesson
  • Sudden onset of absences
  • Frequent illness
  • Frequent absence with permission.
  • Staff should refer to the absence procedure (see separate document)


The Head of Sixth Form will keep attendance regularly under review and report to the Governors’ Curriculum Committee once a term on the attendance figures and any particular issues arising.

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