Reporting Absence

If a child is absent parents/carers are asked to

- telephone the school on the first day of absence, giving the reason for the absence; messages can be left on the dedicated absence line.

- send the child back to school with a letter of explanation of the absence. If a child is absent and there is no reason given for that absence by 10am in the morning the admin officer will contact parents. Only genuine reasons for absence (such as a specified illness) will be authorised by the school. If absence is unauthorised then it will result in a referral to the Education Welfare Service (EWS) where the attendance meets the EWS referral criteria.


We ask parents to arrange all appointments out of school hours if possible. We recognize that sometimes this is not possible. In these circumstances we ask that your child is taken for their appointment after they have registered in either the morning or afternoon. This means that they will gain their attendance mark and the absence will not affect their individual attendance percentage. We ask that you bring your child back into school as soon as possible after the appointment, bringing in the appointment card in order for the school to authorise the absence. If it is unavoidable that your child misses morning registration then you must leave a message on the school's absence line before registration. When the child returns to school please sign your child in at the front desk.  


Absence is monitored by the admin officer, who will refer this to the Headteacher. Letters are sent to parents of pupils who are persistently absent (87.5% and less attendance over 2 terms), those with unsatisfactory levels of absence (93% and less) or those with concerning patterns  (where attendance meets the EWS referral criteria)  and may be asked to meet with the Headteacher.


Leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday is unlikely to be granted. The Governors of Cranmer Primary School believe that leave of absence should be avoided if at all possible as it can have a damaging effect on a student’s education and overall achievement. However, it is recognised that on occasions there may be extenuating or compassionate reasons that justify such leave.

The school policy is as follows:

1. Parents must request leave as far in advance as possible, for leave of absence this should be at least one term in advance and before booking flights or accommodation etc.  

2. The request must include the reason why it is necessary to take leave of absence in term time, including any extenuating or compassionate reasons, including evidence of circumstances such as medical certificate or letter from employers.

3. The request should usually be made in writing using the leave of absence form (available from the school office) and an appointment made to speak to the Headteacher.  Verbal requests will be recorded in writing.

The Department for Education make it clear that:

“Headteachers have the discretion to grant leave, but they should only do so in exceptional circumstances. If a headteacher grants a leave request, it will be for them to determine the length of time that the child can be away from school. This leave is unlikely, however, to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday”

Leave of absence taken for the following reasons will not be authorised:

  • Availability of cheap flights or accommodation.
  • Availability of desired resort or accommodation.
  • Poor weather previously experienced in school holiday period.
  • Overlap in conjunction with the beginning or end of term.

On receipt of an application for leave on the appropriate form, together with any supporting documentation, and after meeting with the headteacher, consideration will be given to the circumstance. A letter outlining the decision of the school will be sent to you within 7 days.

Any leave of absence that is not authorised is very likely to result in a Penalty Notice being issued by the London Borough of Merton. The Penalty Notice carries a fine of £120 per child per parent. Failure to pay the fine may result in prosecution which may incur a fine up to £1000 and potentially a criminal record.

Only those applications based upon very exceptional circumstances will be considered. Governors have made the decision that applications with exceptional circumstances, for pupils whose attendance record for the ‘rolling’ year prior to the application falls below our school target of 96% will not be sanctioned. At Cranmer we consider that if 96% is our government target, we should not authorise any additional absence which causes an individual to drop below that. If the leave of absence is taken then this absence will be recorded as ‘unauthorised’. Leave of absence cannot be sanctioned in retrospect. Parents can appeal to governors if a leave of absence is not authorised. The governors can have the discretion to authorise leave of absence in individual exceptional circumstances where the attendance of a particular pupil falls below 96% for the rolling year.    


These will not be sanctioned as an extended leave of absence from school is very likely to result in a child falling below our school target of 96%. Those parents/carers who, nevertheless, take extended leave for their child/children that we have not sanctioned may result in losing their school place/s at Cranmer. In these cases the EWO will be notified and the absence will be recorded as ‘unauthorised’ which, almost certainly, will trigger a ‘penalty notice’ and may ultimately lead to a court appearance. The Penalty Notice carries a fine of £120 per child per parent. Failure to pay the fine may result in prosecution which may incur a fine up to £1000 and potentially a criminal record.

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