Attendance at Woodham Academy

All students are expected to attend school on time, every day to gain the greatest benefit from their education Woodham Academy is committed to maintaining the highest levels of attendance and punctuality and to reducing levels of absence. We believe that attendance at school is pivotal to keeping children safe, to social inclusion and to equality of opportunity. There is also a strong and direct correlation between attendance and attainment. We recognise that we have a duty of care to monitor attendance and punctuality, to identify patterns and trends and to address attendance-related issues, including truancy. Our school target for attendance is 96%.

The School believes that excellent attendance and punctuality underpin successful teaching and learning and will:

  • enable students to achieve at their highest level
  • enable students to keep up-to-date with their work
  • prepare students for adult life and the world of work
  • provide the school with a record of reliability on which to report in references.

Students should be on the school site by 8.45am ready for line up at 8.50am. Telephone calls, letters to, and meetings with parents of children whose attendance and punctuality are of concern, will be constructive and supportive, but designed to secure improvements.


Parental responsibilities

It is the statutory duty of the person who has parental responsibility for a child to ensure that she is in full-time attendance at school, to receive an appropriate education for her age and ability. It is Woodham Academy’s policy to enforce this and we may refer the matter to Durham County Council’s Attendance Improvement Team (AIT) to take the appropriate enforcement action when a parent / carer fail to comply with the regulations related to attendance and punctuality.

The School and / or AIT will explore irregular attendance and patterns of parentally condoned absences and will ask parents to provide medical evidence of absence. If a student is persistently late, the lateness may be classed as unauthorised absence and the matter referred to the AIT for consideration of a Penalty Notice or prosecution.

A Penalty Notice may be issued by the AIT for unauthorised leave of absence taken without permission. This may incur a fine.


Authorised Absence

We accept the following reasons for absence:

  • Illness
  • Legal / court appointments
  • Real emergencies or accidents, such as fire, flooding, burglary, transport strikes and extreme weather
  • Conditions which affect transport
  • Religious observance during the academic year


Unauthorised absence

Examples of absence that will not be authorised include:

  • Family holidays, day trips and weekends away
  • Whole day appointments with a dentist / doctor
  • Time off for household matters such as child-minding or waiting in for home repair services. Parents are therefore asked to:
    1. Ensure their child attends school, on time, every day.
    2. Have a back-up plan in place in the event of inclement weather or transport difficulties.
    3. Arrange holidays out of term time.
    4. Keep the school informed about on-going / long term absence
    5. Specify the reason for absence by email / telephone on the first day of absence and the likely date of return. If it is unknown when they will return, the parent / carer should contact the school daily.



It's fine to send your child to school with a minor cough or cold. But if they have a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes. If you are unsure, please send your child in but let us know so we can monitor and support them to be in school. If they are really unwell we will contact you. For diagnosed conditions, the school follows the guidelines provided by Public Health England for how long your child should be absent from school. You can see the guideline here.

Long Term Absence

Parents should ring the school on the first day of absence and update the school on a weekly basis. Medical confirmation of the condition will be required in order to arrange the Educational Health Needs Team to be involved. This will allow your child to maintain their education in an accessible manner.


Emergency contact(s)

Parents who are temporarily away from home for work-related or personal reasons should notify the relevant school, in advance, and provide contact details for the nominated adult with responsibility for their child.


Late arrivals and early departures

A student arriving at school after 8.45am must immediately sign in at Student Support. An email / note / telephone call is required from parents to explain their late arrival which will otherwise be recorded as unauthorised.



Routine appointments should be made out of school time. Urgent appointments should be made as early or late in the school day as possible, or at lunchtime (12.30 – 1.15pm) to minimise disruption to lessons. A student attending an urgent medical appointment during the school day is expected to attend school for a significant part of the school day. An email / note must be received or presented in advance, clearly stating the time of the appointment and the time a student has to leave and / or will be returning to school. Where possible, the appointment card or letter should be brought into school. Students are not permitted to leave the premises during school hours, including lunchtimes, without written authorisation from parents.


Holidays during term time

Holidays during term time are not authorised.


Leave of Absence

Requests for Leave of Absence will be considered on an individual basis and will take into account the student’s attendance, punctuality, behaviour and progress and whether the leave is during an assessment / examination period.

Leave of Absence may be granted:

  • to students to participate in an event / activity at district / county level or above
  • to students to take part in a performance-related activity
  • to students to take part in performance-related activity if it is the equivalent of representation at, or above regional level, or there is an explicit educational value
  • to attend a wedding (or equivalent formal occasion) relating to a member of the immediate family. In this instance, Leave of Absence will only be granted for the day of the event, not for associated travel, save in exceptional circumstances.

Please note that Leave of Absence will not be granted:

  • for holidays during term time
  • for events / occasions which could take place during the school holidays, immediately prior to or during assessment or examination periods
  • for multiple performance-related activities
  • in retrospect, save in exceptional circumstances.

Where Leave of Absence is not granted, a parent may still choose to take his / her daughter out of school, however, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. Unauthorised absence is notified to the Durham County Council’s Attendance Improvement Team which may result in a penalty notice being issued or prosecution in accordance with the statutory guidance ’Parental responsibility measures for school attendance and behaviour’.


Woodham Academy is an exempt charity. It is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 8167333.
01325 300328
Woodham Academy, Washington Crescent, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, DL5 4AX
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