Attendance and Punctuality

At Cheam High School, we believe that all students are only able to achieve their potential if they attend school punctually and avoid missing lessons.  We thus expect students to achieve 100% attendance and punctuality. Individual student records prove that this is achievable.


What constitutes good attendance?

Attendance percentages are not like examination results: an attendance percentage needs to be in the high nineties before it can be considered good. We grade attendance as follows:-

  • 100% = excellent attendance
  • 98% = very good attendance
  • 96% = good attendance

Each year, a number of students in every year group achieve 100% attendance records, showing that this is an achievable target. In addition, a number of children have achieved this level of attendance in successive years.

Attendance figures below 90% are of real concern.  Consider the following examples:-

  • 90% is the equivalent to missing one day per fortnight which equates to missing half a year’s education during the course of Years 7-11
  • 80% is the equivalent to missing one day per week which equates to missing one full year during the course of Years 7-11


Good attendance contributes to:

  • personal and social development
  • continuity of learning making retention and progress easier
  • success in tests and examinations
  • fulfilment of coursework requirements
  • good references for further education or employment
  • a reputation for reliability


What does the school do to encourage good attendance?

  • Inter tutor group competitions and rewards
  • Individual rewards for students with good and excellent attendance records
  • School, year group and tutor groups targets are set for attendance and individual targets where necessary
  • Regular attendance information sent to parents/carers to assist them in monitoring their child’s attendance
  • Regular promotion of good attendance in assemblies, the student bulletin, the Flyer and at parents’/carers’ evenings
  • Detailed analysis of attendance figures and trends for individuals, year groups, sub groups and the whole school
  • Regular reports to governors
  • Computerised registration system which allows every lesson to be monitored
  • A member of the office staff dedicated to the administration of attendance
  • Automatic contact with parents/carers when students absent or late
  • Dedicated School Attendance Officer
  • Support for students and parents/carers where attendance difficulties are emerging


Automated Contact System

In order to support parents/carers to help their child achieve ‘excellent’ attendance, the school has a telephone system which automatically contacts parents/carers when their child is absent from school unexpectedly or late on arrival. This ensures parents/carers know when their child has not arrived at school and allows parents/carers to record a reason for the absence or lateness.


Parents/carers make a vital contribution to their child’s attendance by:

  • supporting their child in achieving 100% attendance
  • monitoring their child’s attendance by checking the report which is sent home termly
  • avoiding dental/medical appointments during school time
  • ensuring their child arrives punctually at school
  • encouraging their child to catch up on work missed through absence
  • informing the school in the morning if their child will be absent
  • taking vacations during school holidays and NOT in term time


The school has a responsibility to:

  • record daily, students’ attendance and punctuality
  • provide attendance and punctuality percentages
  • monitor all attendance and punctuality
  • share concerns with regard to attendance and punctuality with parents/carers and the school’s Attendance Service
  • decide whether to authorise student absence from school (see below)
  • set attendance targets


Authorising Absence

Only the school can authorise absence. Government guidelines are specific and allow the school to authorise the following:

  • student absence through “leave” given by the school (this commonly includes medical appointments, interviews and other similar special circumstances)
  • student illness
  • religious observance where applicable

Examples of absence which have not been authorised in the past include:

  • shopping trips
  • “looking after” brother/sister, cat/dog,
  • elderly relative etc.
  • arrival after the close of the register (9.15am) with no valid reason for the late arrival
  • truancy
  • day trips
  • holidays taken during term time


Unauthorised Absence Fixed Penalty Notices

If a child has ten school sessions (ie. five school days) lost through unauthorised absence, the Borough Schools’ Attendance Service is able to serve parents/carers with a Fixed Penalty Notice. If payment is made within 21 days of receipt of a Penalty Notice the cost is £60 per parent/carer rising to £120 if paid within 28 days.
The School refers parents/carers who remove their child for a holiday to the Borough Schools’ Attendance Service for the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice.

London Borough of Sutton guidelines and further information on Fixed Penalty Notices can be found on the Fixed Penalty Notice page.


Further information regarding the new Attendance Support Team covering the London Borough of Sutton can be found here.