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Chambersbury Primary School “Learning, Growing, Achieving... TOGETHER”

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Authorised and Unauthorised guidance for parents & carers

Authorised Absence


Absence will continue to be authorised for the following reasons:


  • Medical and dental appointments, although non-urgent appointments should be scheduled outside school hours where possible
  • Illness
  • Exams – Dance, Music etc…
  • Bereavement
  • Religious Observance


The above statements are not exhaustive and it is recognised that there will be times when compelling and exceptional reasons will mean absence from school. 


Unauthorised Absence


There are 190 school days in a year – this leaves 175 days for time with family, cultural activities and holidays. 


Only the school can authorise an absence.  The fact that a parent has provided a note or other explanation (telephone call or personal contact) in relation to a particular absence does not, of itself, oblige the school to accept it, if the school does not accept the explanation offered as a valid reason for absence. 

If, after further investigation doubt remains about the explanation offered – or when no explanation is forthcoming at all – the absence will be treated as unauthorised and the parent informed.


Leave of absence can be applied for in advance.  It is the school’s decision as to whether this is granted because of exceptional circumstances relating to the application (parents cannot expect, as of right, that the school will grant leave of absence). Parents/carers will be asked to complete an ‘Leave of Absence’ form 4 weeks in advance of the leave.


The following requests for absence will not be authorised:


  • Holiday requests during term-time will not be authorised, unless there are exceptional circumstances;
  • Absence request for a child's birthday, 'family reasons', to 'beat the rush hour', 'parents' work commitments', 'cheaper holidays' will not be authorised;
  • Any absence at the start of the school term and particularly in September, where the start of the year is so formative, will not be authorised;
  • Permission will not be granted for any absence during formal assessment periods or in the run up to Statutory Assessments.    



Schools have a duty to inform the Local Authority if any pupil has 10 days or more unauthorised absence from school. Should overall attendance drop below 85% for whatever reason this will also trigger an investigation from the school's Attendance Officer. If attendance does not improve, legal proceedings may be considered by the Local Authority in accordance with Government Legislation.

Requests which promote children’s educational opportunities, and which may be judged ‘special or exceptional’ will be considered. 



Our school follows Hertfordshire County Council’s Penalty Notice for Truancy Code of Conduct and procedures. 

  • We expect parents/carers to work with us to address attendance problems.
  • If a pupil has at least 15 sessions (half day= 1 session) unauthorised absence in the current and/or previous term (including unauthorised holidays), the Head Teacher may ask the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice.
  • The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £120 if paid after 28 days. 
  • There is no right of appeal by parents against a Fixed Penalty Notice.
  • If the penalty is not paid the Local Authority may prosecute parents/carers for their child’s irregular attendance.
"Pupils at Chambersbury Primary School receive a good quality of education. They know staff want them to do well." OFSTED, November 2022