Attendance Policy



Whiston Willis is a successful school and your child plays an important part in making it so. Our aim is to ensure your child’s education is the best that it can be and that they can achieve the highest standards in education. Therefore, it is vital that children attend school on time, every day when the school is open, unless the reason for absence is unavoidable.

Ensuring a child attends school is the legal responsibility of the parent/carer and permitting absence from school, without a valid reason, creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.

Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and recurrent absence will seriously affect learning and progress. Pupils' absence also disrupts teaching routines, which can then affect the learning of others in the same class.

Promoting High Attendance

Helping to create and maintain a pattern of high attendance is everybody’s responsibility, parents/carers, pupils and all members of staff.

To help us focus on this we will: 

  • Make your child’s attendance record available to you
  • Monitor closely the attendance levels of all children from Nursery to Year 6
  • Inform parents/carers when there are concerns over attendance or punctuality  
  • Should concerns arise, we will invite parents/carers to come into school for discussion, so that we can work together to ensure your child attends school and on time
  • Celebrate good attendance and punctuality with class certificates, trophies, achievement assemblies and rewards for classes and individual children.

Understanding types of absence

Every week, any child who is absent from school will be classified, by the school, as either authorised or unauthorised. This is why information regarding the cause of any absence is always required.

Authorised absences (mornings and/or afternoons) from school must have a valid reason such as illness or dental /medical appointments that unavoidably fall in school time. The school should be informed of any medical/ dental appointments and may request appointment cards or doctors’ letters before choosing to authorise an absence. 

Unauthorised absences are those which school does not consider reasonable and for which no leave has been granted. This type of absence may lead to School Attendance Services making home visits or seeking to take legal proceedings.

Absence deemed to be unreasonable:

  • Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • Truancy during the school day
  • Children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
  • Shopping
  • Birthdays
  • Holidays in term time

Holiday requests in term time are at the complete discretion of the Head Teacher and may only be considered, in the most exceptional of circumstances. This will also be dependant on whether your child exceeds the expected level of attendance.

Persistent Absenteeism (PA)      

A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ (PA) when they have 10 sessions (5 days) of unauthorised absence in any rolling 10 week period. Absence at this level can cause considerable damage to a child’s educational prospects and we need the co-operation and support of parents/carers to tackle this. We monitor all absence thoroughly. Any pupil that is approaching the PA level, may be issued with a penalty warning notice by post, stating that if there is no improvement in unauthorised absence, then an Education Penalty Notice (EPN) may be issued.

PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully by the school and will automatically be made known to School Attendance Services. In this instance parents/carers may be required to attend an attendance panel, with the head teacher, learning mentor and representatives from the authority.

Education Penalty Notices (EPN)

An Education Penalty Notice is an alternative to prosecution and aims to improve attendance.

It is an offence if a child fails to attend school regularly. Absences are classified as unauthorised if without a valid reason or school cannot or has not given permission.

If an EPN is issued, then a fine of £120 payable within 28 days of the notice must be paid. This will be reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days.

Education Penalty Notices may be issued in the following circumstances:

  •    Poor school attendance – at least 10 school sessions (5 school days) lost to unauthorised absence within a period of no more than 10 weeks.
  •    Lateness – in cases where a child persistently arrives at school after the register has closed and has lost 10 unauthorised late marks within a period of no more than 10 weeks.
  •    Poor school attendance and lateness – a combination of reasons which amounts to 10 sessions lost to unauthorised absence within a period of no more than 10 weeks.
  •    Leave of absence – leave of absence of at least 10 consecutive sessions (5 school days) not approved by the head teacher as exceptional.  
  •    Where siblings are registered at more than one educational establishment ( typically secondary and primary) there is an expectation that the head teachers strive to reach a consensus on whether the leave of absence is exceptional. The Local Authority is unlikely to issue an EPN where only one school authorises the absence.

    For further guidance see Knowsley Council Penalty Code Of Conduct attached to this policy.  


If the unauthorised absence of any child shows no sign of improvement even with the support of school attendance service, the matter may, in accordance with local authority guidelines, be regarded as a safeguarding concern. 


Poor punctuality is not acceptable. The school day begins at 8:50am (though doors are opeed at 8:40am) and we expect children to be ready to enter school at this time. Registers are marked by 9:00am and pupils will receive a late mark if they are not on time.

Registers will close at 9:20am and if a child arrives after this time they will, in accordance with regulations, receive a mark that shows them to be on site. This however will not count as a ‘present’ mark and will mean the child will incur an unauthorised absence.

Should persistent lateness after 9:20am continue the School Attendance Service may become involved.

Whiston Willis is committed to working with parents/carers and pupils to maintain the highest levels of attendance and punctuality possible. Good attendance and communication between school and families is the key to successful schooling and we will strive to work with parents/carers to avoid, where possible, the involvement of School Attendance Services.        


Absence procedures

The following Attendance procedures are as outlined by the Governing Body of Whiston Willis Primary Academy:

  • Should a child be ill and therefore unable to attend, parents/carers should contact school with a valid reason, by 8:30am on the first morning of absence
  • If a child is ill and a telephone call is received from the parent/carer, it is entered in the ‘Reasons for Absence’ record and class teachers are informed
  • Parents are asked to inform us regularly of progress/updates
  • If there is no communication, school staff will contact family as first response
  • For children/families whose absence gives cause for concern, a courtesy telephone call is made regularly during periods of absence
  • Should school be unable to make contact with the parent/carer, the matter may be handed over to the Authority Attendance Officer
  • Parents/carers must ensure that contact details are updated regularly
  • The parents/carers of any child approaching 7 sessions of unauthorised absence may be issued a penalty notice warning letter

General Information

School Times

Foundation Children -  Nursery

a.m. Group = 8:30/8:45a.m. - 11:30a.m.

p.m. Group = 12:20p.m. - 3:05/3:20p.m.

Key Stage 1 -  Infant Children (Reception, Year 1, Year 2)

8:50-12:00  :  13:00-15:00

Key Stage 2 -  Junior Children (Year 3, Year 4,Year 5,Year 6)

8:50-12:00  :  13:00-15:10

Contact the school

Call and speak to either

Mrs Joyce Jones

on 0151 477 8270

Whiston Willis Community

Primary School, Milton Avenue

Prescot, L35 2XY

Our Twitter

View our latest tweets