September Penalty Notice Letter to Parents

Meadow Primary School Attendance Policy

Attendance at Meadow Primary School

At Meadow, we aim to ensure that all our children and their families have a clear understanding of the importance of regular attendance at school.  We hope that the following will answer any questions you may have and will help to explain to you, the very real impact that every missed day at school has.

Why is attendance important?

Regular attendance at school gives your child a sense of belonging, develops friendships, helps them to gain independence and to grow as individuals, as well as the obvious importance of academic learning to prepare them for the next step in their education.  At Meadow, we expect children to be in school every day and we ask that families aim to achieve 98% attendance. Nationally, 95% attendance or higher is considered ‘good’ however, by missing 5% of their time in school, your child will have missed 10 full days of learning (20 sessions) over the course of the school year.

It is hard for us to get to school by 8:45am in the morning. Why does it matter if my child is a few minutes late?

All schools are required by the Government to provide 6.5 hours of education per day to all pupils.  The school day at Meadow is from 8:45am – 3:15pm.  Registration at Meadow is at 8.45am upon which time the school doors will be shut.  However, we encourage children to arrive at school at 8.30am.  Between 8:30am and 8:45am, children are engaged in activities to support their learning. This time is an opportunity for them to work one-to-one or in a small group with their teacher and to ensure that they are fully ready to start the day’s learning. Even being five minutes late can cause anxiety for your child, as they are ill prepared for their day, and they may have to walk into a classroom where lessons are already taking place.

My child does not like coming to school, why should I bring them in?

At Meadow, the teachers and support staff work hard to make each day of learning fun and exciting and to support children whenever they need it.  If your child is finding an aspect of school life hard, please speak to their class teacher in the first instance.  We will do everything we can to work with you to put adjustments in place to support your child.

The first and last weeks of terms are just for playing. The children do not do any work these weeks do they?

This is not the case.  The pupils of Meadow Primary work very hard to develop their learning throughout the whole school year.  Often their year group productions, design technology projects and vital consolidation of learning takes place at the end of a term or half term. Missing out on this learning will leave your child with gaps in their knowledge and skill development, which will make future learning more challenging.

Why should my child not attend routine appointments during the school day?

We understand that some medical appointments during school time are unavoidable, however we have seen an increase in numbers of children being collected early for routine dental appointments and doctor visits. Unless absolutely necessary, we request that these appointments are scheduled for outside of the school day so that children are not missing important learning.  Where it is not possible to take these outside of the school day, we request that you show us a copy of the appointment letter or email for our files.  Children are not to miss school because their sibling has a medical appointment.

What happens if my child is not in school?

If your child does not come to  school and we have not heard from you, we will ring you to find out where they are.  If they are unwell, we request that you let us know before the start of the school day so that we do not need to contact you unnecessarily.

This contact can be made in either of the three ways below:

  • Leave a message on school Absent Line 020 8393 4839
  • Send a message via Arbor App on the ‘in-app messages’.
  • Email the school on

Depending on the circumstances, your child’s absence will be either authorised or unauthorised.   All absence from school, whether it is authorised or unauthorised, counts towards you child’s school attendance percentage, and this is taken into account when considering whether requests for absence will be authorised or not. 

If your child is absent for a period of 5 days or 10 sessions over a 10-week period (this does not need to be consecutive) without prior authorisation by the school, then we will automatically put information forward to the local authority to issue a Penalty Notice (a morning or an afternoon counts as one session – therefore, a whole day is two sessions).  This notice requires all parents and registered carers to pay a fine for each child that is out of school, so a family with 2 absent children would incur 4 fines – one for each child, for each parent.  The money from these fines goes to the local authority and any failure to pay will result in the local authority seeking court action.

From 19 August 2024, the regulation surrounding absence from school are changing.  The Local Authority will issue a Penalty Notice for all periods of absence of 10 sessions or more within a rolling 10-week period and will only issue 2 Penalty Notices within 3 years.  If a parent or carer is liable for a third Penalty Notice within this timeframe, then this will automatically be put forward for prosecution by the Local Authority in the Magistrates Courts.

Please note also that a Penalty Notice can be issued as above for 10 lates after registration has closed in a 10-week period.

If your child’s attendance falls below 90% for any reason, or they have 8 or more sessions of absence within a 10-week period, we will write to you informing you of your child’s attendance rate and requesting that this improves.  If your child’s attendance does not improve following a monitoring period of 3 weeks from the date of this letter, you will be required to attend a meeting with the Attendance Officer, where we will seek to put support in place to improve attendance.  This support may also involve sharing with other professional bodies where we feel they can provide support for you and your child in ensuring your child is attending school.  If, after a further monitoring period, attendance has not improved, then the school will apply to the Local Authority for a Fixed Penalty Notice to be issued.

What if my child is ill?

We understand that illness is a natural part of childhood and that sometimes children are not well enough to be in school.  If your child has vomiting or diarrhoea, they must be kept home for 48 hours in line with government guidelines.  The school office can also give information about other infectious diseases such as chicken pox, and the requirements to isolate if your child has these.  For most other illnesses, children do not need to be kept off school for any length of time.  Perseverance and Responsibility are two of our Meadow Values and we work hard with parents to teach children that by coming to school and keeping going, they are gaining valuable skills for adult life.  If your child has a cough or a cold, they should still attend school.  If they are unwell at school, then the office will always give you a ring to discuss whether they can have medication such as Calpol or whether they are unfit to be at school, in which case they will be sent home.

If your child is absent on several occasions or for long periods of time, even due to illness, we may ask you to provide a medical certificate to support their need to be absent from school.

To support families with filling in gaps due to lost learning, class teachers will provide you with a list of the areas of learning missed if your child has been absent for 3 days or more. Teachers will not, however be able to provide learning activities.

Why should I not take a holiday during the school term?  Holidays can be educational too!

Yes, holidays provide children with experiences and opportunities to learn and discover new things and we absolutely support children and their families having well-earned time off.  At Meadow, we want to work with families to enable children to become fully rounded individuals, this means having the full input and experience of being in school as well as making the most of their holidays. The school year is 195 days. This leaves 170 days for families to plan holidays.  Planned absences such as holidays in term time will only ever be authorised in exceptional circumstances and any requests for absence must be made in writing to the Headteacher using the ‘Leave of Absence’ request form well in advance of the time you wish to take.  We will never authorise requests for absence which are submitted retrospectively, without evidence that the failure to notify the school in a timely manner was outside of your control.

School procedures followed should your child’s attendance be below 90%

When the registers are checked every 4 weeks and Target Support Meetings take place with the Inclusion Officer, children’s attendance below 90% is highlighted.  If the school and the Inclusion Officer are concerned about the reasons for absence the following is initiated:

  • A letter is sent to parents highlighting the percentage attendance and the school’s concern, stating that the attendance level needs to be improved.  Where absence due to illness is high, we will request proof of absence.  This can be in the form of a copy of medical appointment, medication prescribed, prescription issued copy of hospital letter.
  • The child’s attendance is then monitored over the next 3 weeks.
  • If attendance levels do not improve, parents or carers will be requested to attend an Attendance Meeting, where support from the school, and in some cases other professional bodies, will be offered to enable you to improve your child’s attendance.  At the Attendance Meeting actions the school and parents can do to help improve attendance will be discussed.  An Attendance Contract between the school and the parent is agreed with the outcomes if attendance does not improve highlighted.
  • A follow up meeting will be arranged to determine whether attendance has improved or whether referral to the Local Authority for a fixed Penalty Notice is required.

If you would like to talk to the school concerning your child's attendance please contact your child's class teacher.


The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (

Penalty Notices to Address Poor Attendance at School

Under new Government regulations regarding Attendance from 19 August 2024, the School has an obligation to submit request to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice, where a child’s attendance falls below 90% and where all measures to support attendance by the school has been unsuccessful in raising attendance, or where there have been 10 or more periods of absence within a 10 week rolling period.

A Penalty Notice may be issued as an alternative to the prosecution of a parent or carer for their child’s unauthorised absence from school (absence without the agreement of the school or not covered by a medical note) and will be used by Surrey County Council in the following circumstances: -

1. Pupils identified by police and Attendance Advice Officers (formerly Education Inclusion Officers) engaged on Truancy        Patrols and who have incurred unauthorised absences.

2. Leave of absence in term time (5 days or 10 sessions or more).

  • Please be aware that The Education (Pupil Registration)(England)(Amendment)  Regulations 2013, which became law on 01 September 2013 state that Headteachers may  not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • The Headteacher is also required to determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if leave is granted.
  • In such cases the Headteacher/Governing Body must decide whether there are exceptional circumstances.  They may request that Surrey County Council issue Penalty Notices when the absence is not authorised.

Warnings will not be given where it can be shown that parents have been notified that such absences will not be authorised.

3. Finally, the issuing of a Penalty Notice will also be considered where it is judged that a parent is failing to ensure their child's regular school attendance.

This will be considered when a pupil has incurred 10 or more unauthorised sessions in the previous 10 school weeks, which may include a pupil arriving late after close of registration.

If you believe at any stage that your child’s absence from school may leave you liable to receive a Penalty Notice, it is extremely important that you act without delay to secure their regular attendance. 

If you have any questions or require further support to achieve an improvement in your child’s attendance, please contact your child’s school or the Attendance Advice Officer.

Penalty Notice relating to Exclusions

If a child is excluded from school, Section 103 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 places a duty on parents/carers to ensure that their child is not in a public place without justifiable cause during school hours. 

This duty applies to the first five days of each exclusion.  Failure to do so will render the parent/carer liable to a Penalty Notice. (Alternative education provision will be made available from the sixth day of any exclusion.)

Amount Payable for a Penalty Notice and Consequences for repeat uauthorised absences

1.         If you have not incurred a penalty notice relating to this child/children in a rolling 3 year period since 19 August 2024, then the penalty notice will be charged at the rate of £160.00, per parent/carer per child, if paid within 28 days. This will be reduced to £80.00 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice. Failure to pay the Penalty Notice will result in Surrey County Council considering legal proceedings against you in the Magistrates Court.

2.         If you have incurred a penalty notice relating to this child/children since 19 August 2024, the rolling 3 year period will be activated from the date of the first penalty notice and the second penalty notice will be charged at the flat rate of £160.00, per parent/carer per child, if paid within 28 days. There will be no reduction for payment within 21 days. Failure to pay the Penalty Notice will result in Surrey County Council considering legal proceedings against you in the Magistrates Court.

3.         If you have incurred 2 penalty notices relating to this child/children in the rolling 3 year period since the first penalty notice was issued, then you will NOT receive a third penalty notice – Surrey County Council will have no option but to consider a prosecution, per parent/carer per child, in the Magistrates Court under s 444 Education Act 1996.

Surrey County Council is not responsible for authorising pupil absence and therefore cannot withdraw any Penalty Notice requests without the written permission of the Headteacher.

Advice and support is available from an Attendance Advice Officer by contacting Surrey Attendance Service as follows :-

North West     -     Tel: 01483 518130    South West  -    Tel: 01483 517179

North East       -     Tel: 01372 833588    South East       -     Tel: 01737 737777


Should you have any questions relating to the Government Regulations please contact the school to speak to our Attendance Officer.




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