Attendance FAQ

Parents and Carers: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


What can I do if my child is starting to present attendance difficulties?

There are lots of reasons why a young person might start not wanting to attend school.  These difficulties can present in a number of different ways.  For example, a reluctance to get ready for school in the morning, feigning illness, failure to attend school even though the child is sent or missing lessons whilst in school.  Whilst the school will be vigilant to these matters, the earlier any difficulty in this area can be identified, the better for finding solutions.  If parents/carers have any concerns if this area, you should:

  • Talk to your child to try to ascertain if there are any problems or worries at school on the journey to or from school or at home
  • Contact your child’s Year Team as soon as possible and discuss your child’s presentation

Your child’s Year Team will be able, if appropriate, to make contact with other staff within school – such as the Personal Learning Support Unit (PLUS) – and/or other professionals such our Education Welfare Officer (EWO) for further advice.  Depending on what the presenting issues are, the school may also liaise with external agencies for further support.


Why doesn’t Cheam High authorise holidays?

We are very aware of the essential role good attendance plays in achieving good academic progress and developing strong social skills.  We, therefore, took the decision many years ago that we could not authorise holidays in term time as doing so would be in direct contradiction to what we know is best for our students.


Why do you issue fixed penalty notices if parents/carers remove their children for a holiday?

We cannot authorise an avoidable absence which causes harm to the continuity of a child’s education.  We are aware that holidays in term time are cheaper than those in school holidays and that this can be a motivating factor.  The penalty notice therefore attempts to remove this incentive as well as reinforcing the importance of school attendance.  Please note: the fine monies are not given to the school.


Would I have received a fixed penalty notice if I had lied about the absence?

We expect honesty in our dealings with parents/carers and we are sure parents/carers expect honesty from the school and wish to model this to their children.  However, it is also our experience that children will tell their friends of their holiday who often share this with school staff.  The length of absence can also trigger attendance officer investigation, including home visits, leading to the truth of the matter. 


What should I do if my child is reluctant to attend school?

There may be many reasons why a child is reluctant to attend school, both issues related to school but also issues which are not related to school in any way.  Contact the Year Team as soon as possible if your child is reluctant to attend school.  They will suggest a meeting with you and your son/daughter to discuss strategies which can be put into place to support his/her attendance at school.


If my child refuses to attend school, can I be held responsible?

Yes.  As the child’s parent, you are expected to ensure that they receive an education.  If your child does not attend school you could face court action resulting in a possible fine and or even imprisonment.  Please contact the Year Team if you are concerned about your child’s attendance.


Can I be prosecuted if I pay the Penalty Notice but my child is still missing school?

Not for the period included in the Penalty Notice - payment discharges your liability in this respect. However, it may be the case that a prosecution might be considered for further periods of poor attendance not covered by the Penalty Notice, depending upon the circumstances. If this is an issue, it is vital that you work closely with your child's school and support agencies such as the Borough Schools' Attendance Service.


What do I do if my child is ill?

Telephone the school office on each morning of your child’s illness by 8.30am. If your child experiences a prolonged absence, a note from his or her doctor may be required by the school.


Do I need to send in a letter about my child’s absence?

If you have rung or otherwise contacted the school, then we would not require a note as well.


What do I do if I don’t agree with the school’s policy on attendance?

Much of our attendance policy is designed to satisfy DfE regulation but as always, if you feel an approach is unfair or unreasonable, then you can write to the Headteacher and/or Governing Body asking for a review.  However, whilst any such policy is in place, the school will operate as stated.