Heathwood Lower School

Heathwood Lower School

Attendance and Holiday Guidelines

The following guidelines have been adopted by all schools within Learning Community 2 (Leighton Linslade area) as from September 2009 

Why is it important to attend school?

If students are to achieve their potential, good attendance and punctuality are critical.  The link between attendance and achievement is well documented.  Figures from the DfE demonstrate this very clearly.

Attendance Level


Students with 93.5% and above attendance

75% Achieve 5+ A*- C GCSE Grades

Students with 89% and below attendance

25% Achieve 5+ A*- C GCSE Grades

We want all our pupils to achieve the very best results that they can.  Irregular attendance, can, however, have a significant impact on pupil achievement.  Pupils with irregular attendance...

  • Get behind with work
  • Lose the thread of the topics being taught
  • Become demotivated on return to school
  • Lose friendships
  • Miss out on important careers and guidance inputs
  • Miss out on extra curricular opportunities
  • Are less likely to feel part of the school
  • More likely to become involved in Anti Social Behaviour

What is good attendance?

Parents/carers and students often become confused about what good attendance is.  The school target for attendance is 96.15%.   In discussions with the Educational Welfare Service, we have introduced the following guide for parents....         

            100%              Outstanding

            98 - 99%         Excellent

            96 - 97%         Good

            93 - 95%         Below Satisfactory

            90 - 92%         Cause for concern

            Below 90%      Serious cause for concern

It should be remembered that 90% attendance is equivalent to one day of absence every fortnight.  Over an academic year this amounts to four weeks of absence (100 lessons missed!)

We will contact you if we have concerns about the attendance level of your son/daughter.  We also reward pupils who attend well and are punctual through our system of achievers assemblies and certificates.

Holidays in Term Time

We strongly discourage the taking of holidays during term-time.  A two week holiday in term-time means 50 hours of teaching missed and several homeworks too.  Pupils often find it difficult to catch up with work missed.  Parents/carers should be aware of the following:

  •  Any request for holidays in term-time must be made in writing to the Headteacher.
  • The regulations only allow the school to grant leave of absence for up to ten days in any academic year in ‘Special Circumstances'. This is not a right and the school is advised by both the DCSF and Local Authority to refuse requests which do not meet the requirements of ‘Special Circumstances'.
  • Requests must be received by the school at least six weeks (DfE recommendation) before departure. The letter must detail the exact dates, the reasons for requesting the holiday within term-time as well as full details of other siblings within local schools who are also asking for holidays within term time.
  • In considering such requests the school will take into account...
  • The time of year (permission will not be granted for holidays immediately before or during any national assessment period)
  • How long the holiday will be and how much it will disrupt the student's education
  • The attendance record of the student
  • Whether it meets the ‘Special Circumstances' requirements


Parents/carers are also responsible for ensuring that their son/daughter arrives at school punctually.  At Heathwood school starts at 9.00am each day.   We will contact you if we have concerns about punctuality (3 lates or more in a half term) and ask that you support our procedures to improve punctuality.

What Parents can do

  • Ensure students arrive on time each day, well equipped and in a fit state to learn.
  • Take an interest in the education of their son/daughter by talking to them about school and by attending school events (e.g. Consultation/Information Evenings etc.)
  • Ring the school before 9:00 on each day of absence.
  • Be alert to any signs that might indicate bullying or other issues that may affect school attendance
  • Inform the school immediately if there are any matters that arise that may affect the attendance of their son/daughter

The Law

"Time off school for a family holiday is not a right.  It is at the discretion of the Head Teacher to grant the holiday if they believe that the circumstances warrant it."  The Education (Pupil Registration) England Regulations 2016

If a holiday request is not authorised and the holiday is still taken there is the possibility of being penalised.  The Penalty Notice can be up to £60 per parent/carer per child. If the parent/carer does not pay the Penalty Notice it may lead to a prosecution.

Schools are not obliged to provide work for pupils during holidays taken in term time.


All requests for holidays in term time are considered on an individual basis and are at the complete discretion of the Headteacher.