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Why Does Attendance Matter?

At Cliff Park Ormiston Academy we are committed to providing all pupils with the best education possible. In order to do this, we need all pupils to attend regularly and punctually throughout the academic year. Attending school on a regular basis is the key to your child doing well at school and will set them up with good routines for later life, as well as giving them the opportunity to:

  • Make lots of friends and feel included
  • Increase confidence, self-esteem and improve their social skills
  • Learn new things, develop many skills and achieve their full potential

We expect our pupils to maintain attendance at 96% or over throughout the year as research clearly shows that pupils whose attendance drops below 90% often drop at least a GCSE grade below their ability in all subject areas. Students with an attendance below 92% is a cause for concern. We would therefore ask you to consider very carefully before deciding to keep your child off school.

If you know your child will be absent from the Academy, please telephone the Academy on 01493 661504 as early as possible every day your child is absent and select the Student Absence option from the automated menu.

Please note that if we do not hear from you on each day of absence a First Day absence text message will automatically be sent.

The Academy will only authorise absence for the following reasons:

  • Medical or Dental appointments
  • Illness (Medical Evidence must be provided to support absences due to ill-health if you child falls below 95%. This can be either a medical appointment card from the surgery, prescription or medical note from a medical practitioner)
  • Leave of absence that have been agreed by the Principal
  • Bereavement of a close family member
  • Religious observance for the religion to which parents belong
  • The child is entitled to free transport to the academy and the Local Authority have failed to provide this


Being frequently late for school also adds up to lost learning:

  • Arriving 5 minutes late every day adds up to over 3 days lost each year
  • Arriving 15 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 2 weeks a year
  • Arriving 30 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 19 days a year

Morning registration will take place at 8.50am when all pupils should be in form to be registered. Pupils arriving after this time will be marked as late. Pupils receiving a late mark will automatically receive a 15 minute break time Community detention. Students who are persistently late will have further consequences.

Students also receive a certificate and credits for 100% attendance every half-term.

What does the law say about poor school attendance?

Under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996, parents or carers may be prosecuted if their child does not attend school regularly and their absences are unauthorised (or in other words, the school cannot or has not given permission for them to be off school).

The Local Authority has introduced a system where any pupil who has an attendance of 85% or less with at least 15% unauthorised absence over a 6 week period of 10 consecutive sessions unauthorised absence (including holidays) will meet the criteria for legal intervention which could be in the form of a Fixed Penalty Notice.

For this reason, Cliff Park Ormiston Academy has an allocated Attendance Support and Enforcement Officer (ASEO) from Norfolk County Council who visits the school regularly to support families where attendance and/or punctuality is a concern. Any pupil at Cliff Park Ormiston Academy who meets either criteria, will be referred to the Local Authority for action to be considered.

If a referral is made you will be contacted either by phone, letter or invited to attend a meeting at the Academy to discuss any concerns and how the attendance or punctuality can be improved.

Additionally, under Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, Local Authorities were given the powers to issue Penalty Notices as an alternative to taking legal action. Penalty Notices are issued to parents or carers who are considered capable of, but unwilling to work towards improving their child’s attendance.

A Fixed Penalty Notice is a fine of £60 per parent per child which must be paid in one payment in 21 days. If unpaid a further invoice for £60 per parent per child is issued. Both individual invoices would then have to be paid making a total payment of £120 per parent per child in 28 days. Failure to pay the total amount within the timescale will result in legal action being taken.

A referral from the school has to be made to the Local Authority for a Fixed Penalty Notice to be issued for any child who has an attendance of 85% or less with at least 15% unauthorised absence over a 6 weeks period of 10 or more consecutive sessions unauthorised absence (2 sessions = 1 day). This will also include unauthorised leave of absence.

If you do not pay the Fixed Penalty Notice in full within 42 days of issue, the Local Authority is required to start legal proceedings against you for the original offence of failing to ensure your child attends school regularly. This may lead to a fine of up to £1000.

Can I take a holiday during term time?

Family holidays should take place during the Academy holiday dates. These dates can be found on the Academy Calendar and are published well in advance.

From 1st September 2013, the Government changed the regulations regarding children being taken out of school for holidays during term time. This means that that Principal “no longer has the remit to grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances”.

If a holiday in term time cannot be avoided, a Leave of Absence form should be completed to inform the Academy. These can be obtained from the Academy office. Any leave of absence will be recorded as an unauthorised holiday. Please be particularly mindful of not booking a holiday during any public examination periods.

For further information please download Attendance at school and legal intervention.

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