The Highcrest Academy

Attendance Counts

“Students of The Highcrest Academy are the best ambassadors for the school.

In a conversation with the IQM Assessor, they felt free to speak their mind and showed that they are aware of the current emphasis of the staff on attendance. They echoed a central message related to attendance by saying:

It is important to be here every day to receive a good education. Teachers want us to learn, they push us and say to try our best. If you are not here, you miss also socially because you do not see your friends.” 

Inclusion Quality Mark Assessor November 2023.

Why attendance counts

FACT: Being in school is important to your child’s achievement, wellbeing, wider development and mental health. 

  • Every moment in school counts, and days missed add up quickly.
  • For the vast majority of students, the best place to be during term-time is in school, surrounded by the support of their friends, teachers and other support staff. 
  • There is plenty of time for them (and you) to do other things together. Did you know that your child is only at school for 52% of a calendar year … the rest of the time is yours!

How does attendance affect grades?

FACT: Research shows that the students with the highest attendance throughout their time in school gain the best GCSE and A-Level results. 

  • While an attendance figure of 90% may not sound very low, research shows that it reduces a child's chance of achieving good GCSE/A-Level examination grades from an 81% chance to a 57% chance.

  • A student who averages 80% attendance effectively misses one whole year of education and significantly negatively impacts their chances of good grades.
  • If a Year 11 student misses just 17 days of school, it reduces their final GCSE results by one grade across all subjects.

Is my child well enough to go to school today?

FACT: Research shows that prior to the pandemic in 2019, secondary school students who did not achieve grade 9 to 4 in English and Maths missed on average 10 more days during their GCSE courses than those who achieved grade 9 to 5 in both English and Maths.  

  • We understand that sometimes children are genuinely ill and of course you must be the judge of this.
  • However, it is vital that we work together to prevent your child having odd days of absence – or “avoidable absence” linked to coughs, colds and mild anxiety.  
  • The following our guidelines from the NHS and Department for Education: to help you decide whether your child is well enough to attend school.  

Your child should attend school, even with the following…

  • Headache, earache and stomach ache - if these persist seek medical advice.
  • Coughs and colds - asthmatic children may need their inhaler more often.
  • Sore throat, tonsillitis and glandular fever.
  • Head lice.
  • Hand, foot and mouth, warts and verrucae, athletes foot, molluscum contagiosum and cold sores.
  • Conjunctivitis.

To help your child through the day, give your child a dose of paracetamol before school, and send them into school with plenty to drink. Let Matron know if you are concerned about your child in the morning.

Your child may need to take limited time off school with the following

  • High temperature, give paracetamol and plenty to drink. After paracetamol, if your child feels better, bring them to school. If your child’s temperature continues for three days or more, seek medical advice.
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting, your child can return 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • Flu (influenza), your child should return when recovered.
  • Whooping cough, your child should return to school five days after starting antibiotics, or twenty-one days from the onset of symptoms if no antibiotics.
  • Scabies, your child should be back to school after the first treatment.
  • Threadworm, your child should be back to school after they have started treatment.
  • Impetigo, your child can go back to school when their lesions are crusted or healed, or two days after starting antibiotics.
  • Measles*, your child should go back to school four days after the rash has started.
  • Chicken Pox*, your child should go back to school five days after the rash has started.
  • German Measles*, your child should go back to school four days after the rash has started.
  • Mumps, your child should go back to school five days from the start of swollen glands.

*Please let Matron know, as pregnant members of staff may be affected.

If you believe there are other factors which are causing reluctance to come to school, please contact your child’s Head of Learning. You can find our Useful Contacts List:

When is my child allowed to miss school? 

FACT: The higher a pupil’s attendance, the more they are likely to learn, and the better they are likely to perform in exams and formal assessments.  

There are only a small number of circumstances where missing a school day is permitted. Your child must attend every day the school is open, unless: 

  • your child is too ill to attend (see above for more information on how to gauge this). 
  • they are observing a religious event. 
  • your child does not have a permanent address and you are required to travel for work.
  • you have asked in advance and been given permission by the school for your child to be absent on a specific day due to exceptional circumstances.

What should I do if my child needs to be absent from school? 

FACT: Parents and carers have a legal duty to ensure their child gets a full-time education. 

  • You should contact us as early as possible to explain why your child needs to be absent, for instance if they are too ill to attend school.  
  • You can contact us by calling 01494 529866 and pressing 1 for attendance.
  • If we have not heard from you, we will contact you on the first morning of your child’s absence to find out why they are not in school. 
  • All parents can request a ‘leave of absence’ for their child which gives them permission to be absent from school.  
  • If you do wish to take your child out of school, please click here to complete the Holiday Request Form (pdf format) or click here (Word format).
  • These must be agreed with the school in advance and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. 
  • Please also read the Academy's Attendance, Absence and Punctuality Policy which details our support systems, interventions and legal sanctions.

Where can I get support to help my child attend school? 

FACT: At Highcrest, we are here to help and support you improve your child’s attendance.

  • In most cases, if your child’s attendance level is falling, one of our attendance or well-being team will contact you to explore the reasons and discuss what help can be put in place.
  • If you have any concerns, please contact your child’s Head of Learning, our Attendance Officer – Mrs J Hunt, or our Assistant Headteacher - Miss C To. Please refer to our useful contact list
  • Further guidance from the Department of Education on how to help your child to attend school is available here