Felixstowe School


Why is regular attendance so important?

Face to face education is important in helping your child to fulfil their potential.  During school time we believe your child should be in class with their teachers and peers enjoying all the benefits that brings.

Being in school every day is crucial to your child’s achievement, wellbeing, and their wider development. Research suggests that being in school regularly helps to:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Make it easier to connect with friends and teachers.
  • Improve learning and confidence in learning.

Evidence also shows that children with the best attendance gain the best results in SATs, GCSEs and A Levels. The data shows:

  • Pupils with higher attainment at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 had lower levels of absence over the key stage.
  • Pupils who did not achieve the expected standard in reading, writing and Maths had an overall absence rate of 4.7% over the key stage, compared with 3.5% among pupils who achieved the expected standard and 2.7% among those who achieved the higher standard.
  • Pupils who did not achieve grade 9 to 4 in English and Maths GCSEs had an overall absence rate of 8.8% over the key stage, compared with 5.2% among pupils who achieved a grade 4 and 3.7% among pupils who achieved grade 9 to 5 in both English and Maths.
  • Among pupils with no missed sessions over Key Stage 2, 83.9% achieved the expected standard compared to 40.2% of pupils who were persistently absent.
  • Among pupils with no missed sessions over Key Stage 4, 83.7% achieved grades 9 to 4 in English and Maths compared to 35.6% of pupils who were persistently absent.

The following illustrates the impact absence can have;

Attendance %Days absent in a year

1 day off a month =  2 weeks missed at school each year

17 days off school each year = 1 Grade lower at GCSE  


Students must arrive at school before 8.25am and be in their registration group by 8:30

Students are expected to be on time for school every day and on time for every lesson.  Consistently good punctuality is essential for students to reach their full potential.  As with attendance it is also perfect preparation for adult life and the world of work, as well as informing all references that are provided to further education institutions and employers. 

A register is taken each day and during every lesson, any pupils arriving late are recorded as thus on the register.  These records can be accessed by parents through Go4schools.

According to the Department for Education guidelines, attendance registers must be closed after registration time in the morning.  Therefore, any student who arrives after 9.00am cannot receive a late mark but have to be marked absent for the entire morning session.  

The school places a huge emphasis on good punctuality and has a rigorous system of sanctions for students who are repeatedly late.  Such as, the issuing of detentions and punctuality report.  Parental contribution to punctuality is just as vital as it is to attendance and the school always encourage parents to:

·        Ensure their children get up in plenty of time to get ready and prepared for school.

·        Ensure that their child packs their bag with the necessary books and equipment the night before.

·        Support the school when dealing with any issues regarding punctuality.

When can my child be absent from school?

When you register your child at a school, you have a legal duty to ensure your child attends that school regularly. This means that your child must attend every day that the school is open, unless;

·        Your child is too ill to attend that day. See NHS guidance here https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/is-my-child-too-ill-for-school/

·        You have asked in advance and been given permission by the school for your child to be absent on that day due to exceptional circumstances.

·        Your child cannot attend school on that day because it is a day you are taking part in religious observance.

·        Your local authority is responsible for arranging your child’s transport to school and it is not available on that day or has not been provided yet;

·        You are a gypsy/traveller family with no fixed abode, and you are required to travel for work that day meaning your child cannot attend their usual school. In most circumstances, however, your child is required to attend another school temporarily during such absences.

These are the only circumstances where schools can permit your child to be absent.

What do I need to do if my child needs to be absent from school for one of those reasons?

If your child is unable to attend school please contact the school’s absence line on: 01394 288122   by 7.30am on each day of your child’s absence. 

Please state clearly your child’s name, tutor group and a short reason for absence.

If you do not, we will contact you on the first morning of their absence to find out why. If no response is received, other contacts held for your child will also be called.  If we have not heard from any contacts, then a home visit may be conducted. 

If no contact is made following the home visit, the school may consider the need for a referral to the Local Authority as a possible Child Missing Education. Contact may also be made with Children’s Services and/or the police in line with safeguarding procedures.

You can request a ‘leave of absence’ for your child which gives them permission to be absent from school. Leaves of absence must be applied for before your child will be absent and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

The headteacher has the final say over whether to approve the request and how long your child can be absent. Their decision will be made after considering the specific facts and circumstances behind your request.

Can I take my child on holiday during term time?

Parents should plan their holidays around school breaks and avoid requesting leaves of absence for holidays. As leave of absence is only granted in exceptional circumstances as detailed within the attendance policy, it is extremely unlikely that your child’s headteacher will agree to a leave of absence for a family holiday.

If permission is refused and you keep your child off school on the days requested, you are likely to be committing an offence and be issued a fixed penalty notice or be prosecuted.

Where can I get support to help my child attend school?

Children may struggle to attend school for a wide range of reasons. If your child is struggling to attend school, we will help you to support your child’s attendance.

·        In most cases, if your child’s attendance level is falling, we will contact you to explore the reasons and discuss what help can be put in place to help you overcome the barriers they are facing.

·        If your child is struggling to attend school, you can expect us to meet with you and your child.  We will want to understand the reasons for their absence and what support you or they need to overcome the barriers to attendance they are experiencing.

·        If the barriers to your child’s attendance are in school, such as they are having friendship problems, we will help and work with you to help overcome the issues please contact your child’s form tutor.

·        If the barriers to attendance you or your child are facing go beyond the remit of the school, such as a transport or a mental health issue, we will also help to support you. This may involve signposting you to the wider support that is available locally including from the Local Authority. 

·        As part of the conversation, we will have with you we will agree on a set of joint actions you will all take to help overcome any barriers to attendance. This agreement will often include a commitment to refer or help you to access support services in exchange for an agreement from you to engage and take part in the support offered. We will also arrange times for you to come together to review these and your child’s progress. This agreement may take the form of an informal action plan, an early help plan, or a parenting contract, depending on the complexity of the reasons for your child’s absence.

·        The attendance team are always happy to support improving attendance. 

How can parents and carers help?

Parents and carers can help by:

  • make sure their child arrives at the school on time – 8.25am for 8.30am start of tutor time;
  • ensure that their child attends the school regularly and provide a note of explanation if s/he is absent;
  • support their child’s attendance by keeping requests for absence to a minimum;
  • not expect the school to automatically agree any requests for absence, and not condone unjustified absence from the school;
  • make sure their child brings to the school whatever they need for the day (e.g. P.E. kit, pens and pencils, etc.);
  • ensure that their child wear Felixstowe School uniform in line with the school policy;
  • attend progress evenings to discuss their child’s progress;
  • share with the school any problems or concerns which might affect their child’s behaviour or work;
  • encourage their child to do their best at all times in the school;
  • actively support their child in homework and other opportunities for home learning;
  • support Felixstowe School’s policies and guidelines for behaviour;
  • get to know about their child’s life at the school.

Parents/carers are also expected to:

  • notify Felixstowe School on the first day of absence by telephoning the absence line (01394 288122) to report the absence.

Meet the team:

Amelia List

 I am Amelia, Attendance Improvement Officer. I started in post in January 2024. I am enjoying getting to know the students and families and being able to support them with any issues surrounding attendance. I have been looking at innovative ways to raise attendance….watch this space! As a new team we are excited to start to implement some interesting initiatives and to build positive relationships with our families in order to raise attendance, which will lead to more positive outcomes for our young people.     

Emily Fitch

I’m Emily, I started in my role as Family Liaison Officer just before the Christmas break 23’. I work with students who fall in the 51-80% attendance bracket. I am here to work with not only the students, but I also offer a friendly face and a hand to reach out to any parents or carers who are struggling with any issues which may affect student’s attendance. I offer home visits and meetings in school for extra support.

Abi Wilkinson
Hi, I’m Abi, one of the Family Liaison Officers here at Felixstowe School.   I make regular home visits and hold meetings in school to listen to students and their parents’ views.  From this student-led approach, together we agree on action plans to help improve the student’s attendance and overall feelings about school.  I like to see all behaviour as a form of communication and take a curious and empathetic approach to the issues a young person might be having with school.

From September 1 2014, Suffolk County Council changed the Code of Conduct for the Penalty Notices to tackle non-attendance in schools/academies. Please take a moment to view Suffolk County Council’s Code of Conduct by clicking here.