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Why is it important to attend school regularly?

School attendance is central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential. Regular attendance enables your child to keep up with their work and achieve better results. In addition, it gives your child the best possible start in life and allows them develop friendships and social skills.

There is a clear link between attendance and academic achievement. Statistically, those with higher that 96% attendance achieve higher levels of attainment at Key Stage One, Two and beyond to GCSE and A levels.

‘If a child of compulsory school age, who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.’

Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring their chid is in receipt of education as outlined under the Education Act 1996, section seven. This can be either by attendance at school or choosing electively to home educate them. Where a child is on roll at a school, parents and carers have a legal duty to ensure their child attends regularly and punctually.

Each person with day to day parental responsibility could be taken to court and fined for each child who is not attending school regularly or who is persistently late.

Some key attendance facts:

  • If a child has 95% attendance, this still equates to nearly two weeks absence in a year.
  • If a child has 90% attendance, this still equates to nearly four weeks absence in a year.
  • If a child has 85% attendance, this still equates to nearly six weeks absence in a year.

Arrival at School

The school gates will open at 8.40 a.m. for drop off in the playground. Your child should be in school by 8.50 a.m. for the start of the school day. Parents and carers will be able to use either the pupil entrance on Buckingham Road or the back gate by Sainsbury’s.

The school gates will close promptly at 8.50 a.m. and if you arrive after this time you must enter the school via the school office where you will be asked to sign the late form. If your child arrives between 8.50 a.m. – 9.20 a.m. they will be marked late. If your child arrives after 9.20 a.m. they will receive an unauthorised absence mark for the morning session.

Remember that persistent lateness can be legally counted as unauthorised absence. 

Lateness can:

  • Cause embarrassment to your child
  • Make it harder for them to settle as they will have missed instructions for the task at hand
  • Cause disruption to the Class Teacher and the rest of the class


If your child is unable to come to school, for any reason, you must notify us by 9.30 a.m. on the first day of absence and each day thereafter. You can do this by calling

020 8941 2548 or email info@buckingham.richmond.sch.uk  A specific reason must be provided, rather than a ‘not well’ message. Without specific information the absence will remain unauthorised.

Please try to make medical or dentist appointments outside school hours. Proof must be provided for any absence due to medical or dental appointments, without it the absence will not be authorised. If you cannot make appointments out of school hours, your child should come to school before the appointment and return to school afterwards.

Authorised and Unauthorised Absences

We can only authorise absences in the following circumstances:

  • Genuine illness
  • Close family bereavement
  • Recognised religious observance

We do not authorise absences for three school days either side of school holidays unless there is medical evidence.

We will not authorise absence in the following circumstances:

  • Day trips
  • Shopping trips
  • Birthdays
  • Bad weather
  • Family holidays taken in term time - please see our School Attendance Policy
  • Tiredness
  • Other family members illness

N.B. Please note this list is not exhaustive and additional reasons sited may also be unauthorised.


It can be tricky deciding whether or not to keep your child off school when they’re unwell. There will be times when it is obvious that your child is too unwell to attend school.

Please refer to the government guidelines for school that say when children should be kept off school and when they shouldn’t.

Examples of when your child should still come to school if:

  • they have head lice – but we would ask you to treat them before the school day
  • they have a slight cold
  • they have a mild headache
  • once they have started treatment for impetigo or ringworm
  • if they have hand, foot and mouth disease and seem well enough to come to school
  • if they have a sore throat but do not have a fever
  • if they have threadworms and have taken treatment

For example when your child should not come to school if:

  • they have a raised temperature (over 37.5C)
  • they have diarrhoea and vomiting and should stay away from school for 48 hours after their symptoms have gone

Please be assured that your child’s health and well-being is of the upmost importance to us, therefore, if we feel a child should not be in school because they are too unwell we will send them home.

We work closely with our local authority allocated Education Welfare Officer (EWO) to improve attendance and regularly review attendance and punctuality. Where pupil attendance falls below 90%, deemed Persistent Absence, our allocated EOW will invite parents/carers to attend a meeting. Where attendance and/or punctually does not improve, further procedures will follow and may lead to court action.