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At Menheniot Primary School we consider that good attendance is essential to good progress and to a child fulfilling their full potential. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school. If a pupil misses one day a week for their entire school career they would lose the equivalent of two school years. The time missed at school can lead to gaps in knowledge that become difficult to fill.


We aim to raise levels of attendance through:

-promoting a welcoming and positive learning environment in which all children will feel safe and secure

-raising awareness of the importance of good attendance and punctuality

-monitoring attendance regularly and recording the reasons for absence accurately

-liaising with the County Educational Welfare Officer regarding unauthorised absences or high absence rates

-rewarding excellent and very good attendance through certificates


It is a legal requirement that children attend school and a parental responsibility to ensure that they do so.


Authorised Absences

There are times, however, when children are too ill to attend. It is important that the school office is informed of the reason for their absence as soon as possible, preferably before school begins. In these situations the absence will be marked as authorised.  We ask that all medical appointments are taken out of school hours if possible but we are aware that this is not always possible. In such circumstances where the medical appointment is essential, this is likely to be authorised. In some situations we may request doctor's notes or evidence of medical appointments.


Attendance data for each individual falls into the following categories: 



96% - 100%




90% - 95%

Requires Improvement and as such, attendance is closely monitored. 


RED Band

Below 90%

Serious Concerns and referral to the Educational Welfare Officer


Children whose attendance falls below 90% are categorised by the Government as Persistent Absentees. At 90% your child is currently absent from school for an average of half a day per week. This level of absence will clearly cause considerable damage to your child's education. 


We are aware that children may feel anxious about returning to school after a period of extended illness. In these situations please liaise with the class teacher, who will work with you to address any issues or worries. 


Unauthorised Absences

Holidays in term time are not authorised by the school except in very exceptional circumstances and these are very unlikely to be authorised during September, assessment and testing periods or where there are any unauthorised absences or the rate of absence is already below good. Absences for birthdays, shopping or long weekends aren’t permitted. We ask that anyone requesting an absence due to exceptional circumstances, puts their request in writing on an application form with clear reasons as to why it is considered exceptional. Application forms are available from the office and a copy is attached below. These should be returned to the office at least 20 days before the commencement of the leave of absence. Exceptions to this timing will be made in the event of funerals/emergencies. 

If your child is absent from school without authorisation, you will be committing an offence under the Education Act 1996. We may submit a request to Cornwall Council for a Penalty Notice to be issued, in accordance with Sections 444A and 444B of the said Act. Penalty Notices are issued per liable parent, per child and each carry a fine of £60 if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid after this but within 28 days. Failure to pay the Penalty Notice may result in legal action. Absence not authorised by the school may result in a prosecution in the Magistrates Court under Section 444(1) or Section 444(1A) of the Education Act 1996, leading to a fine of up to £2,500 and/or a custodial sentence. Cornwall Council may also apply for the costs incurred in taking the matter to Court.