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Schoolsworks is a multi-academy trust in West Sussex. Our aim is to create small hubs of schools which work closely together to collaborate, share best practice and improve outcomes for children.


Whytemead Primary School



At Whytemead Primary School we consider attendance to be a priority for all children, after all we can only teach those who attend.

We courage high standards of attendance as research has clearly shown that regular attendance has a positive impact on children’s achievements. If attendance drops, not only does it affect the child's learning, but it can also lead to friendship issues, a loss in confidence and low self-esteem.

Understandably, there are times when children are unwell and need to be absent from school in order to recover fully as well as reducing the risk of the illness spreading. For more information on absence due to illness please see our Medical Information page.

Attendance Poster 2022 

 Attendance questions

What are the times of the school day?

School starts at 9.00am and finishes at 3.15pm.

The school gate opens at 8:35am and will close at approximately 8:45am. Children that arrive at school after this time will need to entre via the main entrance so that you can sign your child in.

Your child will be marked as late if they are not in school by 9.00am, therefore every effort should be made to ensure they are in class ready for learning by this time.

If your child arrives after 9.30am, a code of 'U' will be recorded in the register. This counts as an unauthorised absence.  

What should I do if my child is unwell?

 If your child is unwell and cannot attend school, please contact the school before 9am to confirm your child's absence. The school contact number is 01903 202639 

It is the parents' responsibility to contact the school to report any absence. Contact should be made on each day of absence.

If a call has not been made by 9:30am a code of 'U' will be recorded in the register. This counts as an unauthorised absence.  

When should my child return to school?

 After periods of sickness and diarrhoea, children should not return to school for 48 hours after the last bout. This helps to prevent the spread of infection.

In the case of other contagious illnesses, please see our Medical Information page, alternatively please contact the school office who can advise of recommended return periods based on health guidelines. 

What about medical appointments?

 We encourage parents to try, wherever possible, to arrange appointments such as dentist, routine doctors’ visits, etc. out of school time, however we do appreciate that this is not always possible. In circumstances where this is not possible, such as hospital visits, please let the school office know in advance, ideally by showing an appointment card or letter.

How can I request time off for other absences?

From September 2013, the Government introduced new rules on term time absence, which restricts the Headteachers authorising of absence unless there are Exceptional Circumstances. 

In total there are 175 non-school days a year. This gives families the opportunity to;

  • Spend time together
  • Go on family visits and days out
  • Go on holiday
  • Attend routine medical appointments

If your child has a holiday of just one week during term time and 10 days of illness, they would miss 75 hours of education in an academic year. If this pattern were to be repeated throughout your child's school life, they would miss almost a year of their education.

Children who go on holiday in term time may miss out on more than you think. After they return from holiday, they may not be able to access learning easily because they could have missed out on a vital part of their learning journey. 

If the absence is not approved, but your child is not in school on the requested days, then this will be treated as an unauthorised absence.

Request for Absence in School Time - Form

Does the school issue fines?

In common with other schools in the locality, including Whytemead Primary School, Fixed Penalty Notices may be issued by West Sussex County Council to families where a child has missed at least 5 days of school in a ten-week period without authorisation.

Penalty Notices incur a fine of £120 per parent, per child. This means that a family of 3 children with two parents missing school for a holiday could lead to combined fines of £720 for the family.

It is therefore important that school is kept informed of reasons for absence.

The Law 

The Education Act 1996 requires parents to ensure their children of compulsory school age receive efficient  full-time education. 

The law says that parents/carers whose children of compulsory school age are absent from school without good reason are committing an offence. 

Unauthorised absence includes but is not limited to;

  • Arriving late after 9.30am.
  • Shopping trips.
  • Birthday treats involving absence.
  • Visiting relatives.
  • Extra days tagged onto weekends
  • Holidays.
  • Having sick relatives or siblings who are sick.
  • Where there is no reason given for the absence.
You need to be aware that, although you may provide a reason for absence, it is the school which decides if the absence is recorded as authorised or unauthorised. 

Attendance Policy

WSCC - Prosecution guide for parents