What does Good School Attendance look like?

We take school absence very seriously. We identify students whose attendance drops below 97% and provide support and intervention to help improve this. Whilst it is the law that you ensure your child attends school regularly, we have a moral duty to support where needed. It is important for parents or carers to work together with the school when attendance drops below 97%.

Aims and Concerns

  • At Woodham Academy, we expect our students to be in school at least 97% of the time. The Department for Education states GOOD attendance is 95% or above. This is outlined in real terms in the ‘Attendance Groups’ section.
  • Students below 97% attendance are monitored and under 90% classed as Persistent Absentees.
  • 80% attendance all through secondary school is equivalent to missing a whole school year of education.
  • Below 90% attendance gives students only a 27% chance of achieving their grades, whatever their ability.
  • 90% attendance sounds quite good BUT 1 day off in 10 over 5 years equals 95 days, which is 19 weeks and equates to half a school year!
  • There are 365 days in a year. This is made up of 190 school days per year, plus 175 non-school days per year. This gives you 175 days to spend on family time, holidays, visits, appointments, shopping, household jobs etc.

Attendance Groups

Annual Attendance %Days attendedDays/Weeks Absent
97%1846 days
95%1802 weeks
90%1714 weeks
85%1616 weeks
80%152More than ½ a term
75%1439+ weeks absent

Students who attend school at least 97% of the year, perform better in their exams. Low attendance can impact negatively on progress and well-being in several ways. Please contact Student Support if your child is struggling in school so that appropriate support can be offered to minimise absence.

School expects parents and carers to follow the advice below:

Reasons for absence

May we remind you that when phoning or messaging in for a student who is off school we need an actual reason for the absence.

If you just tell us the student is ill/unwell/not well/poorly etc. this will not be classed as an authorised absence.

Questions and Concerns

To report an absence or if you have any questions or concerns, or you need support to improve your child’s attendance, please contact us using the following details.

Tel: 01325 300328, option 1

If your child is struggling to attend school, please contact their Head of Learning on 01325 300328

Year 7 – Miss A Abson
Year 8 – Mrs S Ketch
Year 9 – Miss G Leybourne
Year 10 – Miss R Woolley
Year 11 – Mrs V Fawcett

Medical appointments

If your child has an urgent medical appointment that cannot be taken outside school hours he/she will still be required to be in school both before and after the appointment where possible. If your child is not in before /after their appointment this will be classed as an unauthorised absence.

In some cases, you will be asked to provide an appointment card/letter in order for your child’s absence to be classed as medical otherwise your child will be marked as either late or an unauthorised absence.


Students line up at 8:45am with their tutor. The school day starts at 8.50am. Any student who arrives after this time but before 9.40am will receive a late mark. Students who arrive to school after 9.40am will have an unauthorised attendance mark for the morning session unless medical evidence can be provided. The school day ends at 3.15pm.

Minutes late per dayEquivalent of missingHow many lessons that are missed
5 minutes3.4 school days per year17 lessons
10 minutes6.9 school days per year35 lessons
15 minutes10.3 school days per year51 lessons
20 minutes13.8 school days per year69 lessons
30 minutes20.7 school days per year104 lessons

What is Medical Evidence?

Medical evidence is requested when your child’s attendance falls below 95%. Parents/carers will need to provide medical evidence to the school for the school to be able to authorise the absence. Medical evidence for minor illnesses can be:

  • Prescription
  • Hospital letter
  • Signed note from the GP or nurse
  • Medicine with the prescribed sticker on it
  • Appointment card with name and date on it (to authorise appointment times only)

Please check with a member of the Attendance team if you are unsure about the evidence you have or need. Please liaise with the Student Support team for prolonged absence.

Leave of Absence

Requests for Leave of Absence will be considered on an individual basis and will consider 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 or county level or above
  • To students to take part in a performance-related activity
  • To students to take part in a 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 their child out of school, however, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. The Durham County Council’s Attendance Improvement Team are notified about unauthorised absence and this may result in a penalty notice being issued or prosecution in accordance with the statutory guidance ’Parental responsibility measures for school attendance and behaviour’.

You can find a Leave of Absence application form here.

Parents should expect school to adhere to the following:

School Communication

You will automatically receive notifications if your child is not registered in the morning and you have not provided us with a reason for absence. This will require a response from you to inform us of the reason your child is absent.

You are required to contact us every day by either phone or e-mail if your child is not going to be in school for illness or any other reason. This includes if your child is absent for a period of time.

If we do not hear from you in the morning the entire day will be marked as unauthorised.

Attendance phone line: 01325 300328 (Option 1)
Attendance email address:

Stages of the Attendance process

Sending a student home

This absence will only be authorised if the school has contacted you and advised that your child is being sent home.

If your child calls you and you come and collect them this will not be an authorised absence. Should your child call you, please advise them that they need to go to Student Support to be seen by a First Aider who will assess your child and contact you if they need to go home.