Jesus said, ‘I am the Good Shepherd… I know my sheep and my sheep know me.’ John 10.14

Being in school matters!

We want all the children attending Bayford School to achieve their full potential. To do that it’s really important that they attend school regularly, providing they are fit and healthy enough to do so. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school. We really want your child to enjoy being at school and for you to feel that school is a positive and enriching experience. So do talk to us if you have any concerns about attendance.

Following our vision, we try hard to be ‘good shepherds’ and know what’s going on, so we’re always anxious if a child is missing from school and we don’t know why. If your child is ill, please ring the school before the start of the school day on the first morning of absence and give us some idea of when he/she might return. If it’s likely to be more than just an odd day, we can find ways to help minimise the learning missed in school and make sure you child still feels part of the school community.

Photograph of pupils at Bayford School
Image of a bandaged teddy bear

Is my child too ill for school?

Mostly it’s very clear to parents when a child isn’t fit to go to school. But sometimes it’s harder to make that call, and often it’s not easy to judge when it’s right for a sick child to return.

If you’re not sure what to do for best, please call us. We have plenty of experience and information we can share with you. You can also look online. The NHS has a very helpful guide you can read using the second link below.

Children can attend school if they are taking medicines. However, we can only give children medicine if a form has been filled in which is available from the office or can be downloaded here (you can also complete the form online using Arbor).

Download our medication consent form

Advice from a medical professional is really important if your child has an infectious illness (like measles, rubella, chicken pox, mumps, vomiting, diarrhoea, or impetigo, for example). Check with your family doctor, or use the first link below. to open or download a PDF file with advice about infection control and guidance on how long to keep children away from school or nursery if they have various illnesses or infections. Children with rashes should be considered infectious and assessed by their doctor.

Remember NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.

Please contact the Public Health Agency Health Protection Duty Room (Duty Room) on 0300 555 0119 or visit their web site if you would like any further advice or information, including the latest guidance.

Whatever you decide to do, please keep us up to date!

Unauthorised absence

If a child is not in school and we don’t receive an explanation, then the absence will be treated as ‘unauthorised’. In other words, we didn’t authorise the absence. Even if a medical professional has advised you to keep your child at home, please let us know as soon as possible.

Teaching staff mark the class register at the beginning of every morning and afternoon. The registers have to show whether an absence is authorised or not. We are obliged to provide figures concerning absence to the Department for Education on a regular basis, and we also work closely with the local authority’s Attendance Improvement Officer. In exceptional circumstances the local authority may issue a Penalty Notice (£60 fine) or even prosecute parents for their child’s irregular attendance.

Please remember that any child who arrives more than ten minutes late in the morning will be recorded as having an
unauthorised absence for the morning session. Things do go wrong for all of us from time to time, but if you have a problem one morning, please let us know!

Image of an empty school desk
Image illustrating a wedding

Exceptional circumstances?

Parents sometimes ask for permission to take a child out of school in term time. Although the general rule is that we will not authorise leave of absence, there may be some exceptional circumstances in which you’ll find we say ‘Yes’!

There are sometimes very special family occasions, for example, or opportunities for children to compete in sports events, or take examinations that cannot take place after school hours or in school holidays. We really want every child to flourish, and the benefit to your child may exceptionally outweigh the loss of time spent in school. These circumstances will always be given due consideration, but authorisation may not necessarily be granted. Please talk to us as early as possible, and if it seems possible that permission could be given, the Headteacher will ask you to write to the governing body.

For guidance, the governing body have decided that, in line with Government advice and Ofsted guidance, the
following are some examples of unacceptable reasons for your child’s absence:

  • Holidays
  • Shopping
  • Looking after family
  • Family outings
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Getting up late

Please try to arrange routine dental checks and eye tests in school holidays or at the weekend. Sadly we know that sometimes children will need to attend a hospital or other health-related appointment in school time and naturally we would authorise absence for such important cases. Parents/Carers should bring the appointment letter into school before the day of the appointment. However, if your appointment time allows your child to come to school for registration and then leave, this will have a positive impact on their attendance figure. Likewise, if they are able to be back in school for afternoon registration after lunch.

You can read our full Attendance Policy by following the link below.

This page was last updated on 7th February 2024