Hornchurch Academy Trust

School Attendance

New Statutory Duty for Attendance from 19.08.2024 - Information for Parents

The Department for Education has issued new statutory guidance for attendance called Working Together to Improve School Attendance. This comes into effect on the 19th August 2024. It details what schools, parents and Local Authorities should do to improve pupils’ attendance at school.

There are some important changes to attendance management from the 19th August 2024 which will affect the support parents and pupils receive from schools, and the legal sanctions that are used in certain circumstances.

Schools are legally obliged to provide support and intervention for pupils who are at risk of persistent absence (90% attendance or below). This will take the form of meetings with parents, school-based interventions, and the offer of support from outside agencies and professionals.

Schools are very keen to identify the barriers to attendance that families face and will welcome opportunities to overcome these barriers together. However, when a child's attendance falls outside of the parental legal obligations to send their child to school, there are legal pathways that must be followed.

Changes to Penalty Notices:

Term Time Leave

If a pupil takes unauthorised term time leave for 10 consecutive sessions or more (generally 5 days) they will be subject to a penalty notice. The fine for a penalty notice is increasing - to £80 per parent, per child. This increases to £160 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days for pupils who are of statutory school age. If a penalty notice remains unpaid, parents may be the subject of court proceedings for failing to ensure the regular school attendance of their child and this could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to 3 months per parent.

For second offences of unauthorised term time leave (10 consecutive sessions or more) within a three-year rolling period, the fine is a flat £160 per parent, per child.

For the third offence in a three-year rolling period, the referral will be automatically considered for prosecution in relation to Section 444 Education Act 1996.

These fines will apply to term time leave taken after 19th August 2024. Previous penalty notices from the last 3 years will be taken into account when a period of term time leave is taken after the 19th August 2024. Therefore, if parents have already received one penalty notice in the last three years, they will get a fine of £160 per parent per child for their next one. If they have received two or more in the last three years, they should expect to be referred for prosecution.

Working Together

As part of the ‘Working together to improve attendance,’ we also meet with the School liaison Officer from Kent County Council 3 times a year to provide information inclusive of Persistent absence and severe persistent absence and to discuss actions needed.

This is in line with our 3 weekly and termly attendance sweeps resulting in letters home to keep you informed of your child’s attendance percentage and any necessary actions needed.

The lead people for attendance in our school are:

  • Mrs C Holder – Acting Head of School
  • Mrs L Deamer - Administration Officer
  • Mrs J Haile – Family Support Worker

The Government expects Schools and Local Authorities to:

  • Promote good attendance and reduce absence, including persistent absence;
  • Ensure every pupil has access to full time education to which they are entitled
  • Act early to address patterns of absence
  • Parents to perform their legal duty by ensuing their children on compulsory school age who are registered at school attend regularly
  • All pupils to be punctual to their lessons

Please see the latest Government guidance on attendance:

Working together to improve school attendance

Attendance guide for parents

Absence Requests

Please click on the links below for more information regarding absence requests during term time.

All absence requests must be completed on the 'request for leave of absence during term time' form. Letters will not be accepted. This should be returned to the school a minimum of 14 days before the start of the absence.

Request for leave of absence during term time

HAT Attendance Policy 2023 24