Attendance Policy

Attendance Policy

1. Statement
2. Aims
3. Related policies, legislation and guidance
4. Responsibility and management
5. Monitoring and improving attendance
6. Legal requirements, safeguarding and SEND
7. Procedures for reporting absence or late arrival
8. Authorised and unauthorised absence
9. Attendance for students holding a Child Student or Student visa
10. Online Distance Learning
11. Inset days, study leave and summer revision
12. Examination contingency days

Appendix A: Attendance staff members
Appendix B: Attendance codes

1. Statement
Ashbourne’s adult-style learning environment is designed to encourage and support students to take responsibility for their own behaviour and academic performance. Students are required to show a high level of maturity and commitment to thrive in such an environment where excellent attendance and punctuality are key drivers for success.

Ashbourne therefore expects all students to be punctual and to maintain an attendance record of more than 95%. Attendance is continually monitored, as required by law, and students failing to meet these expectations, without good cause, will be supported to make improvements or face sanctions, as set out in the Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy.

All parents or guardians of compulsory school-aged children (up to 16 years old) have a legal responsibility for ensuring their children regularly attend full-time education. This means their child must attend every school day except where the child is too ill to attend or has been given permission by Ashbourne in advance for an absence. Parents and guardians should consult the College term dates.

All staff are made aware that if children are missing from education, particularly if this is on a regular basis, this may indicate potential safeguarding issues including neglect, abuse, sexual and/or criminal exploitation, mental health concerns, substance abuse and radicalisation. The College has robust measures for recording and monitoring attendance however any concerns related to absence should be raised with a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and/or the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) as early intervention is essential for identifying possible risks and prevention.

2. Aims
This policy aims to promote a whole-school approach to maintaining excellent attendance, to set out the procedures for reporting, recording and monitoring attendance, and to clarify what constitutes authorised and unauthorised absences.

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3. Related policies, legislation and guidance
3.1 Related policies

3.2 Legislation and guidance

  • Equality Act (2010)
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education
  • Working together to improve school attendance
  • Summary table of responsibilities for school attendance

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4. Responsibility and management
4.1 Responsibility
Whole-school approach
Ashbourne provides a comprehensive academic and pastoral support network for all students comprising operations, teachers, personal tutors, senior leaders, designated safeguarding leads and SEND support. The aim of this is to guide and support students so they can be happy at the College and have the best chance at being successful in their studies. If a student’s attendance and/or punctuality starts to fall below the expected level they will receive individual support to improve or resolve any issues that might be holding them back.

A level students are responsible for getting to lessons on time, seeking permission for planned absence and contacting the College in good time and with valid reasons if they are unable to attend. These rights may be revoked if students are persistently late or absent without good cause; all responsibilities will revert to their parents/guardians.

A level students are given considerable autonomy in most aspects of their College life but strong collaboration and communication with parents and/or guardians is vitally important to maintaining this approach. Ashbourne offers an open communication channel with parents and guardians and encourages them also to take part in termly College update webinars. Parents and guardians are also able to monitor their child’s attendance record on the College Portal.

Parents and guardians of compulsory aged children (up to 16 years old) are fully responsible for their child’s attendance and must communicate with the College regarding any planned or unplanned absences. Nonetheless, GCSE students are also encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and are expected to comply with the student code of conduct, as set out in the Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy.

4.2 Management
The Director of Studies is responsible for overseeing the management of attendance at the College in collaboration with the Attendance Officer and the DSL. The day-to-day management of attendance is the responsibility of the Attendance Officer, who works closely with reception and operations staff. This involves:

  • Logging all messages regarding absences in the register and ensuring all registers are updated accordingly.
  • Checking all absences are logged with the correct attendance code, (see Appendix B).
  • Coordinating with reception teams to record late arrivals.
  • Checking for unauthorised absences and calling the students and/or their parents/guardians.

5. Monitoring and improving attendance
Ashbourne monitors and analyses attendance in order to identify patterns of behaviour that may require attention and/or safeguarding intervention. The Attendance Officer and Director of Studies hold half-termly meetings to review attendance procedures and any areas of concern. They will then liaise with Personal Tutors to decide on appropriate interventions for specific students. Where serious concerns are raised relating to a student’s absence, the DSL will be consulted.

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6. Legal requirements, safeguarding and SEND
6.1 Legal requirements
Ashbourne is legally required to maintain admissions and attendance registers. All students, regardless of age, must be on both registers. All data on attendance is recorded electronically and backed up; attendance data is kept for three years.

Ashbourne is required to inform the Local Authority if a child of compulsory school age (up to 16 years) is absent without authorisation for 10 consecutive days.

Admissions register
The admissions register must contain specific personal details, including contact phone numbers and emails, of every student and their parents/guardians. These details will be used to contact students and/or parents/guardians for attendance purposes.

Ashbourne students need to have a parent or guardian in the UK who can be contacted by phone or email. All students must have a UK mobile number. Students are expected to check their Ashbourne email accounts regularly; the College will only communicate with students through Ashbourne email accounts.

Attendance registers
An attendance register is taken by teachers for all A level and GCSE timetabled lessons. In addition, GCSE attendance is recorded during morning (8.50am) and afternoon (1.50pm) registration.

6.2 Safeguarding and SEND
6.2.1 Safeguarding
Children missing education (CME), particularly repeatedly, may indicate potential safeguarding issues including neglect, abuse, sexual and/or criminal exploitation, mental health concerns, substance abuse and radicalisation. Early intervention is essential for identifying possible risks and prevention. All staff must be aware of the possible implications of children missing education and understand the College’s procedures for monitoring attendance and action required when a child is missing.

CME falls under the remit of Child Protection. Where a student’s attendance record indicates potential safeguarding issues, the DSL, in collaboration with the SLT, will intervene in accordance with the College’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.

6.2.2 Support for students with medical conditions and/or SEND
Ashbourne’s Access and Arrangements Team will provide agreed individual support for students with medical conditions and/or SEND in relation to attendance, in accordance with the SEND and Access Arrangements Policy.

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7. Procedures for reporting absence or late arrival
Students are expected to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of their first lesson. All lessons start on the hour. GCSE students should arrive 15 minutes before morning and afternoon registration.

7.1 Reporting absence on the day
A level students must report any absence before the start of their first lesson by contacting the College: 020 7937 3858 or email [email protected]. Students must contact the College each day they are absent, if more than one day.

For GCSE students, parents or guardians must contact the College by phone (020 7937 3858) or email ([email protected]) before the start of first registration at 8.50am. They must contact the College each day the student is absent, if more than one day.

7.2 Reporting late arrival
All students must report their late arrival at the reception where their lesson is taking place before going to class. There is no grace period for lateness; one minute late is still late.

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8. Authorised and unauthorised absence
8.1 Authorised absence
Absence may be authorised for the following non-academic and academic reasons:

  • Illness; where possible to do so, students should arrange medical appointments outside of class time
  • Serious family/personal issues
  • Compassionate absence (e.g. death in the family)
  • Religious observance: this is defined as ‘a day exclusively set apart for religious observance by a religious body’. No more than one day in any term will be authorised for any individual occasion of religious observance and no more than three days in any academic year.


  • Ashbourne school trips
  • Examination (at the time of the lesson)
  • Interview at a university
  • Agreed open day visit
  • Late registration students
  • Agreed exam-study leave

8.2. Unauthorised absence
Taking holidays during term time is not permitted, including leaving just before term breaks or returning just after term starts. Any unauthorised absence for such will be treated as a disciplinary issue, as set out in the Student Behaviour and Exclusion Policy. The College term dates can be found here.

Ashbourne does not authorise study leave.

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9. Attendance for students holding a Child Student or Student visa
All students are expected to maintain an excellent attendance record. Students on a visa sponsored by the College are advised on admission that their full attendance is vital to the retention of their visa, as well as their academic success. Ashbourne is legally obliged to report to UKVI any visa students who are absent for 10 consecutive contact points. Students may have their visas revoked if they fail to meet the attendance requirements. 

10. Online Distance Learning (ODL)
Ashbourne will only provide online distance learning, i.e. where timetabled lessons are delivered online, during a major event such as a transport strike or whole-school shutdown. In certain circumstances, individual teachers may be required/permitted to teach online. ODL provision will not be available on request for any students on an individual basis to replace normal face-to-face lessons under any circumstances.

Attendance requirements for ODL remain the same as in-class lessons. Please refer to the e-Safety Policy for the protocol on ODL provision.

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11. Inset days, study leave and summer revision
11.1 Inset days
Inset days are set aside for staff training; timetabled lessons will not take place, although there may be some exceptions. Nevertheless all students must be available to come to the College on these days as planned, compulsory activities for specific students are arranged.

For example, the inset day during Half Term (HT3) is usually set aside as the Careers day for Year 12 students. This day is compulsory for all Year 12 students and is a critical part of their post-A-level preparation. It involves university application preparation, personal statement workshops and speakers from universities and careers representatives.

11.2 Mock Week
There will be no scheduled lessons Monday to Wednesday for Year 12 and 13 students during the Half Term (HT4) Mock Week. Exams during this time will take place at the exam hall. Students can use this time to revise at home or are welcome to use Ashbourne’s facilities to study. Timetabled lessons will resume on Thursday and Friday of this week. (No exams take place at the weekend.)

11.3 Summer revision
Ashbourne’s last day of teaching is usually the last Friday in May. In the month of June Ashbourne organises 3-hour revision courses, primarily for Year 13 students, which students may attend if they want to prepare more thoroughly for the examinations.

12. Examination contingency days
The examination boards always schedule at least one ‘contingency day’ in case something happens to prevent one of the timetabled exam days from taking place, e.g. a major national incident such as a terrorist attack, extreme weather, transport issue.

All students need to be available on these dates, as well as on their scheduled exam dates. Students should not book holidays until after the final contingency date. The final date is usually at the end of June and will be confirmed by JCQ every year.

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Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2023
Effective date of the policy September 2023
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / students on request
Review date September 2024


Appendix A: Attendance staff members
Director of Studies – Lee Kirby
Attendance Officer – Sharan Kandola-Singh
Designated Safeguarding Lead – Fran Burns

Appendix B: Attendance codes

POT – Present and on time for a lesson
PLA – Present but late for a lesson
AA – Authorised absence
UA – Unauthorised absence
SR – School (academic) reason for an absence

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