Statutory duty of Academies

The ‘Education Act 1996, Section 7’ requires parents or guardians to ensure their child receives efficient, full-time education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

By law, all children of compulsory school age (between 5 and 16) must get a suitable, full-time education. As a parent, you are responsible for making sure this happens, either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements which provide a suitable full-time education.

Once your child is registered at a school you are responsible for making sure he or she attends regularly. If your child fails to attend regularly - even if they miss school without you knowing - the Local Authority may take legal action against you.

The Local Authority Education Welfare Department is responsible for making sure that parents fulfill their responsibility to ensure their registered children regularly attend school or any alternative provision provided. They can be contacted on 0115 8762965 or

If you think you may need to take your child out of school, discuss the reasons with us as soon as possible.

Our ethos

We are committed to meeting our obligation with regards to school attendance through our whole-school culture and ethos that values good attendance, including:

Promoting good attendance

Reducing absence, including persistent and severe absence

Ensuring every pupil has access to the full-time education to which they are entitled

Acting early to address patterns of absence

Building strong relationships with families to ensure pupils have the support in place to attend school

We expect all students to secure attendance of 96% or above.

Attendance is a critical factor to a productive and successful Academy career; at Nottingham Free School we will actively promote and encourage 100% attendance for all of our pupils. We will give high priority to communicating with parents and pupils the importance of regular and punctual attendance. We recognise that parents have a vital role to play and that there is a need to establish strong home-school links and communications systems that can be utilised whenever there is concern about attendance.

If there are problems which affect a pupil's attendance we will investigate, identify and strive, in partnership with parents and pupils, to resolve those problems as quickly as possible.

Why is it important for children not to miss school?

Most parents want their children to get on well in life and it is more important than ever to have a good education behind you if you want opportunities in adult life. Children only get one chance at school, and your child’s chances of a successful future may be affected by not attending school or alternative provision regularly.

If children do not attend school regularly they may:

  • Struggle to keep up with school work. In a busy school day it is difficult for schools to find the extra time to help a child catch up.
  • Miss out on the social side of school life. Poor attendance can affect children’s ability to make and keep friendships, a vital part of growing up.

Setting good attendance patterns will also help your child later on. Employers want to recruit people who are reliable. Children who have a poor school attendance record may have less chance of getting a good job.

Aims and principles

Parents are legally responsible for ensuring that a child of compulsory school age attends Nottingham Free School regularly.

Nottingham Free School will:

Work towards ensuring that all pupils feel supported and valued.

Consult with all members of the pastoral team and Education Welfare Service in developing and maintaining the the attendance policy.

Encourage parents/carers to be actively involved in promoting their child's attendance.

Ensure that all staff are aware of the requirements of the registration process and that they receive training on Registration Regulations and the Law relating to attendance.

Regularly inform parents and pupils informing them of attendance rates and related issues.

Promote positive staff attitudes to pupils returning following an absence.

Ensure regular evaluation of our attendance policy and procedures by the head teacher and Governors.

Consistent and vigorous monitoring and evaluation procedures will be in place.

How do we promote attendance at Nottingham Free School?

Attendance to school is the number one priority for achievement. Therefore, we reward pupils by using the following:

  • 98+ challenge – students who achieve 98+% each half term earn tokens. There are 6 tokens to collect in a year. Students can hand in their tokens at any point to claim a prize.
  • Attendance Cup – weekly tutor groups are ranked with the tutor group with the lowest attendance for that week to be knocked out. The winning tutor group at the end of the half term earns breakfast for their tutor set.
  • Treat Friday – the tutor set within each year group are awarded with a treat each Friday.
  • Achievement assemblies – each half term students are recognised for their attendance.
  • Students who achieve 100% attendance over 5 years are rewarded with £100.


Being on time is vital. Arriving late at school can be very disruptive for your child, the teacher and the other children in the class.

Expectations for students and parents:

Students should arrive in school between 8.15am and 8.28am. Students are expected to be in their tutor set at 8.30am. Our registers open at 8.30am and close at 9.00am.

Our approach to students who are late (are not in tutor set at 8.30am):

Any pupil who arrives after 8.30am is considered late and will be coded as L. Any student arriving after 9.00am will be coded with a U code. Any 5 U codes accrued in any 10 week period can be referred for a fine with Nottingham City Education Welfare Department, set at £60 per parent, per child.

Therefore, to avoid these steps we have a tiered response to pupils who arrive late to school (beyond 8.30am):

First late = email home and students receive an R20 - a 20-minute detention that day

Second late = email home students receive an R40 - a 40 minute detention the same day.

Third late = email home and 1 hour Friday Head Teacher detention

Fourth late = email home and 2 hour Friday Head Teacher detention

Fifth Late = Parental meeting / internal suspension at another school

It is important to note, that parents are responsible for communicating any concerns with the school so that we are able to put in place the right support for children. Please contact their Head of Year or Susan Seymour or Natalie Mills if you seek further support

What about authorised absence?

Of course there may be times when your child has to miss school because they are ill. This is to be expected and for this you should follow the school procedure for notifying illness.

Children may also have to attend a medical or dental appointment in school time. All appointments are requested to be made outside of the school day wherever possible but if an appointment has to be made during the school day, we expect the student to be in before and/or after the appointment, depending on the time. If a student is absent for the full day we will mark them as unauthorised for either the AM or PM roll call.

Any absences must be requested as far in advance as possible and can only be authorised by the school.

Nottingham Free School treat every application for leave of absence on an individual basis; however, school will not authorise absence for the reason of a family holiday unless there are exceptional circumstances.


All parents must complete a holiday form, however Nottingham Free School does not authorise holidays, in line with Government's policies -

Holidays during term time are marked as G. Exceptional circumstances would be authorised at the discretion of the Head of School (i.e. service personnel on leave after returning from overseas duties) however, even then we would take into consideration what year the student is in and whether any exams or assessments are taking place at the requested time of absence.

Parents/Carers need to be aware that we will request a ‘Penalty Notice’ for any requested holiday. If found that a student was removed for the purpose of a holiday without permission/notification from parents/carers, a ‘Penalty Notice’ will also be requested, even after the pupil has returned from the holiday.

What happens if your child does not attend school regularly?

As a school we are responsible by law for reporting poor attendance to the Local Authority Education Welfare Department. As a parent, you are committing an offence if you fail to make sure that your child attends school regularly, even if they are missing school without your knowledge, and may be issued with a penalty notice or taken to court.

The Education Welfare Department may decide to prosecute a parent who fails to ensure that their child attends school regularly. If this happens:

  • Parents can be fined up to £2,500 or imprisoned .
  • Magistrates can also impose a parenting order, which means that the parent has to attend a counselling and guidance programme and parenting classes.

What might the impact of poor attendance be on your child?

Research has shown that children who are not in school are the most vulnerable and are easily drawn into crime. Those children who play truant are more likely to offend than those that do not. The following graph shows the link between percentage attendance and GCSE grades 9- 4. The higher the attendance percentage the higher the number of GCSEs achieved.

  • Attending school every day = 100% attendance.
  • Attending 4.5 days a week = 90% attendance = 4 weeks missed per year.
  • Attending 4 days a week = 80% attendance = more than half a term missed each year or 2 full years missed over the course of their school career.
  • Attending 3.5 days each week = 70% attendance = more than a quarter of the school year missed.

Attendance thresholds

What can you do to help?

  • If you suspect that your child may be missing school or is unhappy at school, you should contact the school as soon as possible so that you can work with them to resolve any difficulties.
  • Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of them missing school, but be on the alert for any particular reasons for non-attendance, such as problems with school work and discuss these with the school.
  • If your child is ill or absent for any other reason, contact the school on every day of absence by 8.15 am on 0115 8964949.
  • If your child is attending a medical appointment during the school day, you can notify the school by emailing or writing a note in your child’s planner.
  • Make sure that your child arrives at school on time.
  • Take an interest in your child’s education.
  • Ask them about their day and praise and encourage their achievements at school.

Leave of absence

If parents need to request a leave of absence for their child during the school term please download and complete the form below.

Who to contact if you have any concerns or queries:

  • Susan Seymour and Natalie Mills - Attendance Officers ( and
  • Kay Gray - Deputy Headteacher (
  • Meika Leivars - Head of Year 7 (
  • Sarah Cockayne - Head of Year 8 (
  • Alex Wells - Head of Year 9 (
  • David Baines - Head of Year 10 (
  • Natasha Harmer Weston - Head of Year 11 (

July 2024


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