St Thomas of Canterbury Church of England Voluntary Aided Infant School is committed to providing every child with a sound Christian education in accordance with our mission statement and to encouraging each child to let their little light shine brightly. We believe that all children benefit from the education that we provide and, therefore, from regular school attendance. Irregular attendance and late arrival will inevitably undermine the children’s learning and is not fair on the child concerned, the other children in the child’s class or the school staff.

The law states that parents/carers have a legal obligation to ensure that children within their care attend school regularly. School and local authorities have a duty to ensure that poor school attendance is dealt with swiftly.

We expect the following from parents:

  • to ensure their children attend school regularly and punctually
  • to ensure that they contact the school as soon as reasonably practicable whenever their children are unable to attend. This should always be before 10am on the first day of absence and the school should be kept informed if the absence continues
  • to inform the school and request permission of any problem or reason (such as medical appointments) that may prevent their children from attending school.

Amended regulations relating to term-time holidays came into effect from 1 September 2013. Leave of absence can now only be granted during term time where there are exceptional circumstances with the school determining the number of days that a child can be away from school if leave is granted.

Leave of absence is at the discretion of the Chairman of Governors (or another governor in his absence) and is not a parental right. Application must be made 28 days in advance by completing an absence request form that is available from the school office or by clicking here. The governor must be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances which warrant the leave. Examples of such circumstances are:

  • service personnel and other employees who are prevented from taking holidays outside term time if the holiday will have minimal disruption to the child’s education and is not during times of assessment
  • when a family needs to spend time together to support each other during or after a family crisis or close family bereavement (parent or sibling).

The following are not exceptional circumstances:

  • availability of cheap holidays
  • availability of desired accommodation
  • poor weather experienced in school holiday periods
  • overlap with the beginning or end of term.

Leave of absence that has not been approved will be unauthorised and may lead to a referral being made to the school Education Welfare Officer and the issue of a penalty notice (fine) to each parent who fails to ensure their children’s regular attendance at school. Amendments have also been made to the rules governing penalty notices in relation the timescales for paying. The penalty notice is £60 for each parent for each child if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid within 28 days.

The school is committed to working with parents to encourage good attendance in school. We have both a weekly Attendance Cup and Punctuality Bear to encourage attendance and punctuality.There are also termly and yearly awards for 100% attendance. These are keenly sought after.


Please help us to help you give your child an excellent education. Every day makes a difference to your child’s future.