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The Importance of Excellent Attendance

Atherton High School is committed to a positive policy of encouraging pupils to attend school regularly. The school works in partnership with parents/carers, the Local Authority Education Welfare Officers and other relevant services to secure this aim.

The happiness and educational progress of all our students is a high priority and we believe that good attendance is a significant contributing factor in which these priorities can be achieved. When your child is absent from school, they miss important curriculum content which underpins the breadth of study, resulting in attainment and knowledge gaps affecting future learning and progress. It is for this reason that we ask for your support in this matter.



Attendance at a glance for Parents and Carers

We would like all students to attend school for more than 98% + of the time. We know that high attendance and achieving academic potential are linked. Punctuality is also very important at the school. All students must arrive on time and be ready for learning with the correct equipment, For students who have not had breakfast this is available in the canteen from 8.00am – 8.15am.

All students should arrive on the school site by 8:20am – any student arriving after 8:31am will be marked as late. All students arriving late will make up the time by attending a 30 minute late detention at the end of the school day. Parents/carers will be informed via classcharts regarding pending detentions.

Should your child be too ill to attend the school, please contact us on the first day of absence wherever possible before 8:20am, tel no: 01942 885500  Please keep us informed daily of your child’s progress. If you expect your child to be absent, please send in evidence of medication prescribed by your doctor or hospital. The school has a right to request evidence of illness or appointments to authorise the absence. This can be the school medical card stamped by your G.P or an appointment card from your G.P or medical centre. Should we not receive medical evidence, absences will be noted as unauthorised. Where attendance levels are of concern and monitoring is in place, medical evidence will be required for all absences. Telephone calls are made to every parent/carer of a student who is absent from the school every morning. If we cannot make contact, a text message will be sent. In some cases a follow up home visit may be made by the school Attendance Officer.

Why is high attendance important to my child’s education? 

As a parent/carer you want the best for your children. Having a good education is an important factor in opening up more opportunities in adult life.

  • A child who is absent a day of school per week misses an equivalent of two years of their school life
  • 90% of young people with absence rates below 85% fail to achieve five or more good grades of GCSE and around one third achieve no GCSEs at all
  • Poor examination results limit young people’s options and poor attendance suggests to colleges and employers that these students are unreliable

GCSEs may seem a long way off for you and your child but all absence at any stage leads to gaps in your child’s learning. This in turn can:

  • mean that they fall behind in work
  • affect their motivation
  • affect their enjoyment of learning
  • lead to poor behaviour
  • affect their desire to attend school regularly
  • affect their confidence in school
  • mean they miss out on the social life of school and extra curricular opportunities and experiences
  • affect their ability to have or keep friendships

Our Attendance Ambition

Our School expects all pupils to aim for 100% attendance.

98% attendance is regarded as good and should be achieved with an average amount of illness.

Any attendance level that creates a cause for concern would initiate intervention by the school. This could be a phone call with the head of year or may, in more severe circumstances, lead to the involvement of agencies outside of the school.

We will closely monitor attendance and we will inform you if your child’s attendance falls below 95%.

Attendance that falls below 90% is classed as persistent absence (PA) and if this occurs, we will request a meeting to discuss the reasons why your child’s attendance continues to be below the expected minimum.

A school based Local Authority Attendance Officer works alongside our school staff to support and promote excellent school attendance.

Wigan Council Education Penalty Notice Warning for Non-School attendance Letter Sept 2023

Attendance Example

Joe is in Year 8. His attendance rate is always around 90%. He thinks this is pretty good. So, what does an attendance rate of 90% look like?

90% attendance means that he is absent from lessons for the equivalent of one half a day every week.

In Year 7, Joe’s 90% attendance rate means that he has missed the equivalent of four whole weeks of lessons in the school year.

If Joe continues to attend for only 90% of the time, then over five years he will miss the equivalent of about one half of a school year.

How do you think 90% attendance rate will affect Joe’s chances of doing well in school?

Research suggests that 17 days missed from school equates to a GCSE grade.


  • Each day we have a choice to be late or on time.
  • Lateness means we lose valuable learning time and the sanction is a school detention.
  • Good time-keeping means we can use every opportunity to succeed.
  • Law of EVE 2

Lateness to School

  • Each day children who arrive late to school will need to sign in electronically in the reception area.
  • Repeated lateness to school will result in a parent/staff panel meeting.
  • Student late detentions will be held daily.
  • Late to school = same day sanction B4 (30 mins).
  • 2 or more late marks in the same week = after school detention on the Friday of that week.

Illness and Accidents Procedures

  1. If a student feels ill or has an accident, they should tell their teacher, form tutor or any other staff member if they are not in a lesson.
  2. If a student has an accident they will be looked after by a qualified First Aider.
  3. If a student feels unwell a qualified First Aider will come to the classroom to assess the situation.
  4. If a student is unable to continue lessons, a family member/guardian will be contacted by the school before they are allowed to go home.
  5. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a student leave the school site without prior permission or with an appropriate adult.
  6. If a student has been given permission to leave, they must REMEMBER to sign out using the inventory system in reception.

Leaving Site

Students should be on the school site at all times during the school day unless there is a specific reason for leaving. They will need written permission from a parent/carer and must complete the signing out process in Reception.


  1. If a student has an appointment with the doctor or dentist, they must bring a letter from their parent/carer. Ideally these appointments should try to be arranged outside of school hours.
  2. To get permission to leave site, students should see the Attendance Lead Miss Foster. If she is not available, then they should speak to their HoY.
  3. If a student is leaving school during a lesson, please let the specific class teacher know at the start of the lesson.
  4. As students leave the premises they must sign out electronically in the Reception area.
  5. If a student returns, report to Reception and sign in before going to lessons.

Health and Safety

All students will be responsible for

  • Complying with school rules and procedures.
  • Taking reasonable care of themselves and others.
  • Co-operating with their teachers and other school staff.
  • Using equipment and substances in the manner in which they are instructed.
  • Not misusing anything they believe to be hazardous or dangerous.