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Regular and punctual school attendance is important.  Pupils need to attend school regularly if they are to take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them by law. Merefield School fully recognises its responsibilities to ensure pupils are in school and on time, therefore, having access to learning for the maximum number of days and hours.


Merefield School also fully recognises that some pupils face greater barriers to attendance than their peers.  These can include pupils who suffer from long term medical conditions or who have special educational needs and disabilities.  The senior leaders in the school will work closely with these families to ensure they are able to achieve the best possible attendance based on individual circumstances.


Our Policy applies to all children registered at this school and this Policy is made available on our school website to all parents/carers of pupils who are registered at our school.


The DfE has produced guidance for maintained schools, academies, independent schools, and local authorities:  Working together to improve school attendance.  

Our Attendance Policy reflects the key principles of that guidance.


This policy is written with the above guidance in mind and underpins our school ethos to:

  • promote children’s welfare and safeguarding
  • ensure every pupil has access to the full-time education to which they are entitled
  • ensure that pupils succeed whilst at school
  • ensure that pupils have access to the widest possible range of opportunities at school, and when they leave school


Although parents/carers have the legal responsibility for ensuring their child’s good attendance, the Head teacher and Governors at our school are committed to:

  • Building strong relationships with families, listen to and understand barriers to attendance and work with families to remove them
  • Working closely with other professionals and agencies to ensure that all pupils are encouraged and supported to develop good attendance habits.




Under the 2006 Education Regulations, the school is legally required to register students twice daily.  Registers are marked in the morning between 9am and 9.30am and in the afternoon between 1pm and 1.30pm.  It is essential that all students are registered on both occasions.


School starts at 9am when all pupils/students should be in their form/classroom, in preparation for the register being taken between 9-9.30am as pupils arrive into class, this allows for pupils to arrive at school from specialist transport vehicles.  At this time, pupils will be greeted by the class team and shown class and individual timetables for the day.  It is a legal requirement that a register is taken at the start of the day.  Not only does the process allow us to monitor attendance but also to act as a student checklist in respect of health and safety issues – e.g. Fire Drill.  Each year a school calendar is sent out and is also on the website which clearly indicates the days when your child is expected to be in school.



If your child cannot come to school because of illness, you should advise the school on the first day of absence by telephone.  If no message is received, we will assume that your child is absent without your permission.  We will then make every effort to contact you.  The school requires two emergency contact numbers.  It is essential that the school is kept informed of changes of contact details such as phone numbers and addresses.  

Merefield School process for ‘first day response’ if a child is absent.

If your child is absent, the school must be informed so that the school knows where they are and that they are safe.

A daily dojo message, email or phone call detailing the reason for absence should be made and this will be logged on the school system.

All absences are closely monitored in line with government guidelines.  Merefield School is committed to working with families and Sefton LA to ensure that children are attending school.

Merefield School fully understands that some pupils face barriers to their attendance due to their health, SEN and disabilities.  Individual circumstances are always considered when enforcing attendance policies and procedures.




The Headteacher may not grant leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances.’ They will also determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.  From this perspective, leave of absence in term time is no longer a parental right and will only be authorised at the Headteacher’s discretion. Under DFE guidelines the school will notify the Local Authority if a parent/s takes leave of absence without the Headteacher’s permission.  In these cases, the G code will be used on the register to show this absence is unauthorised.


Under these circumstances, the school will apply to the Local Authority for a Penalty Charge Notice Fine (£60-£120) to be issued by the Local Authority.  The £60 Penalty Charge Notice will need to be paid in full separately by both parents within 21 days and will rise to £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days.  If the Penalty Charge Notice is not paid within 28 days, parents can be prosecuted under section 444, the Education Act 1996.


Children attending Sefton schools, including (name of school), are not allowed absence for holidays.  Any absence, other than for illness or emergency medical attention, will be coded as Unauthorised, (G) – Family holiday not agreed or (O) Unauthorised absence.


Parents may choose to complete an ‘Exceptional Circumstances Form’ stating why they are removing their child during term time.  This is given to the Head teacher.  Only exceptional circumstances will be authorised.


If an ‘exceptional circumstance form’ is rejected, then the absence; should the parent still proceed with the removal of their child during term time; is dealt with under the Sefton Council Code of Conduct for issuing a Penalty Charge Notice.


It is important for parents / carers to note that the school will not authorise ANY leave of absence unless the school feels the circumstances are unavoidable.


The school reserves the right to either contact the parents/carers directly or make an immediate referral to social care or the police if the school feels a student is potentially at-risk while being taken out of school during term time. 


The school will seek advice from the Local Authority if a student fails to return from an extended family holiday during term time and the school have made reasonable enquiries but cannot locate the student or their family.  This applies to leave of absence that are both authorised and unauthorised by the school.  As a result, school will invoke CME procedures.  The school may remove the student from roll under such circumstances, in consultation with the Local Authority.