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Chesswood Junior School

Chesswood Junior School

Attendance & Punctuality

COVID-19 & School Attendance

It is the government’s decision that “pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term”. We are fully supportive of that decision and the absolute need to ensure all children return to a full-time curriculum, even though that return will not be Covid-19 risk free. It will however, be managed risk, especially as the prevalence of Covid-19 has decreased and we have specific control measures in place. It is therefore expected that children can return to a safe school environment in September. On that basis, ALL parents would be expected to ensure their child attends school full time from that point.

We recognise that a small number of families may have exceptional medical reasons that would underlie a significant concern about their child returning. We would ask families in such circumstances to seek advice from their GP or medical consultant in the case where your child or a member of the household is extremely clinically vulnerable. We understand that guidance would still be that a child would still attend school with an individual risk assessment so all are aware of the risks and control measures.

We also know that a small number of families are genuinely worried about the return as the perceived threat is constantly streamed across the media. We will work alongside families to build confidence in their children attending school. We do not propose to manage school attendance with fixed penalty notices at this time, we hope to manage this in a positive partnership with parents and there are various ways we can secure and build school attendance. However, if it is the school’s professional judgement that an individual child is likely to suffer significant academic harm or there is an underlying safeguarding concern for the child and progress is not being made on school attendance then it is likely we will proceed with a fixed penalty notice when it is appropriate to do so.

Normal rules will apply to school absence in the event that a family does not have a genuine exceptional reason for their child to remain at home i.e. a family holiday of more than 5 days will almost certainly incur a fixed penalty notice, unless there is an exceptional reason.

 Attendance and Punctuality Aim

All members of the school community will have good reason to take pride in their school and the part they play in making it an exceptionally positive environment for all to learn.  As a result, all children really want to attend school and get there on time. School will work in close partnership with families to optimise attendance for all children and ensure their learning experience coherent. Unless there are exceptional circumstances the minimum expected attendance rate for any child is 96%.

Attendance and Punctuality Overview

At Chesswood we firmly believe that for all pupils to gain the greatest possible benefit from their education, both academically and social, regular school attendance is of vital importance. Non-attendance at school, even for short periods, can impact on academic achievement.

Any absence also disrupts teaching and learning for others in the class as important work missed by an absent child will have to be addressed. Regular attendance is also is important for setting an expectation for future patterns of behaviour as they become part of the working world. To this end we will do all we can to encourage parents/carers to ensure that the children in their care achieve maximum possible attendance and that any problems that prevent full attendance are identified and acted on promptly.

We do not measure, record or report attendance for any target driven reason, simply because any time away from the planned curriculum is likely to have a negative impact on your child’s learning. The overwhelming majority of parents recognise this and take every opportunity to ensure their child attends school, even when they are not on top form or feeling under the weather – this is the right thing to do. The table below indicates the impact of certain proportions of time away from school - as you will see over the school life of a child absence can quickly add up to missing the equivalent to a full school year:


Years Absent

95% 1 year absent in 20 (approximately six months over whole school life)
90% 1 year absent in 10
80% 1 year absent in 5
75% 1 year absent in 4
66% 1 year absent in 3

Parent Responsibilities

We expect that all parents who have day to day responsibility for their children will:

  • encourage regular school attendance and be aware of their legal responsibilities;
  • Instil the value of education and regular school attendance within the home environment;
  • ensure that the child/children in their care arrive at school punctually, prepared for the school day;
  • ensure that they contact the school whenever the child/children is unable to attend school, stating clearly the reason for absence;
  • contact the school by phone on the first day of the child's absence and keep the school fully informed for longer periods of absence;
  • contact the school promptly (before 9.30 a.m.) whenever any problem occurs that may keep the child away from school;
  • inform the school of any change in circumstances that may impact on their child’s attendance;
  • not keep children in their care away from school for any unauthorised reason;
  • avoid unnecessary absences. Wherever possible make appointments for the Doctors, Dentists etc. outside of school hours
  • avoid making requests for term time absence unless there are exceptional circumstances. 
  • ensure that the school has up to date contact details.



Please click on the image opposite to open the school attendance policy in a new window.


Department for Education Attendance Guidance for Maintained Schools. Please click the link opposite to read national guidance for schools in England.


West Sussex County Council - School Absence Guidance. Chesswood works wihtin national and Local Authority guidance for school attendance. Please click on the image opposite to open the guidance set out by West Sussex Local Authority for parents. 

The guidance includes important information about:

Authorised and unauthorised absences

The pupil entitlement and investigation team

Fixed Penalties

Holidays in term time

The West Sussex Team may be contacted at: