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Walkley Primary School - Attendance Ethos

Walkley Primary promotes a whole school culture that values attendance. We understand that excellent attendance helps to improve outcomes for a child. We provide a supportive, calm orderly and productive environment for children to attend, learn and develop within. We promote our Attendance ethos within school and ask that all parents work with us to uphold these values. The school Attendance policy can be found here


Why is attendance Important?

Every child has a right to education and every school has a responsibility to support and encourage school attendance for pupils on their roll. Excellent attendance at school helps a child to meet their full potential.


Below are just some of the reasons why it is so important for children to attend school:  

  • To learn,
  • To have fun,
  • To make new friends and learn social skills,
  • To experience new things in life,
  • To develop skills - problem solving, time keeping, 
  • To build confidence and self-esteem,
  • To get into daily routines that set a pattern for life,
  • To receive support from school.


Attendance Rewards

Success in improved attendance and punctuality will be talked about in classes and across school. All staff will recognise the patterns in improvement across the school and acknowledge them.


In October 2022 we started our new attendance rewards. We celebrate achievements in attendance in our weekly Friday assembly with parents.


We have carefully reviewed our awards to ensure that they are fair and represent the effort that families are making to ensure excellent attendance.


The awards are given following close monitoring of the register (attendance and punctuality) by the Inclusion Manager and Senior Leadership Team. We look for patterns in improved attendance. This could involve improved punctuality for one child within a class. It could be improved attendance for identified pupils within a class. This method is more precise than a simple award for highest attendance. It offers the opportunity for any class to win each week. 


In Key Stage one, we award a class with two soft toys. Tocky the time Ted and Rainbow the Register Rabbit. 


These soft toys wear the Walkley uniform with pride and represent the school ethos in excellence in attendance and punctuality. In Key Stage two we award a special attendance trophy.


Each week one class in Key stage one will have the opportunity to win the soft toys in their classroom for the week. They join the class to celebrate the success of the pupils. In key stage two the chosen class will be awarded the trophy which will then be placed in a prominent place to celebrate their success.


The awards will be referred to throughout the week by the class teachers, demonstrating their importance and praising their class.



Every Lesson Matters

In line with “Working together to improve attendance guidance 2022” We believe that every lesson is an opportunity to learn and develop. Each lesson has its own learning goals and provides a chance to learn something new and gain a new experience. Many lessons follow ongoing schemes of work and missing one can mean a child may miss out.


When we think about attendance in school we no longer refer to percentages. We talk and think about actual lessons missed. Minutes of learning missed. Lessons can be missed due to issues with punctuality or they can be missed to be absence from school. If a child is missing lots of lessons we want to work with families improve this and to overcome any barriers to this.


The Legal Requirement

Walkley Primary School is required by law, to record the attendance of every child on roll and to show who is absent or late. Figures for attendance and for authorised absence and unauthorised absence are monitored by Sheffield City Council.  The council works closely with school and advises on next steps where attendance issues are ongoing.


Parental Role in Attendance

Parents play a vital role in their child’s attendance at school. Where parents decide to have their child registered at school, they have an additional legal responsibility to ensure that their child attends school regularly. This means their child must attend school every day that the school is open except in a small number of allowable circumstances such as being too ill or being given permission for an absence in advance from the school.


Parents have a responsibility to

  • Encourage and promote the school value of attendance.
  • To inform school of the reasons in the case of an absence using the “Three W’s method” as a guideline for the information you need to provide to school.
  • The Three W's are: 
  • Why- the reason for the absence,
  • What- What is the illness or issue, and what help/advice is being sought. (We recommend use of NHS website. The “Should my child go to school today” section. This provides clear guidance on school attendance in response to a range of medical conditions.

  • When- When your child will return to school


How You Can Help and Support At Home

  • Establishing a good routine. This can involve preparing for the next day at school the night before, and in the morning getting your child ready for the school day ahead.
  • Ensure your child arrives at school on time.
  • Arrange dental and medical appointments outside school hours when possible.
  • Most dentists and GP’s in Sheffield are signed up to the Sheffield Attendance Charter and within this have a duty to offer appointments outside of school hours where possible.
  • If your child does have an appointment in school hours they should return to school once the appointment is completed. This means they can still receive one of their attendance marks (am or pm).   
  • Talk to your child about school and encourage the importance of school. Remind your child that this is where they can see their friends and have fun.
  • Ensuring your child attends everyday from the first day they start school. They may start in the nursery and attendance is as important in this class as in any other. Nursery and reception forms the basis of getting them into a routine of excellent school attendance.
  • Contact school with any issues that you feel will affect your child’s attendance. For example; if your child has had an issue in school (related to learning or issues with another pupil) please contact the school at the earliest opportunity to discuss the concern. Please do not keep your child off school which can lead to further complications. Most issues can be easily addressed and your child will not need to be absent whilst they are resolved.  We have a pastoral and safeguarding team in place to help support and attend to any concerns as they arise

  • Contact school if you are unsure if an illness means your child needs to be absent from school.  We also recommend use of the NHS website. The “Should my child go to school today” section provides clear guidance on school attendance in response to a range of medical conditions. We use this within school to guide our recommendations. 



It is better to be late than not to arrive to school at all. However, when children arrive late it can be unsettling for both the child and the teacher. The teacher has to stop the lesson and ensure the child is settled in, therefore the class can be disrupted. The latecomer misses the first part of the lesson and can miss out on important learning. Children can often feel uncomfortable and less settled if they are late and this does not support their learning and emotional well - being.


Support for Issues with Punctuality

Walkley run a free Breakfast club and attending this club can help if your child is struggling with a morning routine. They offer a breakfast and play activities.  You can apply for a place via the school office. There is currently a waiting list but we can work within this for vulnerable families in need. Walkley Pastoral Team can also make referrals to MAST to seek support with daily routines.  


Family Holidays

Parents can demonstrate their commitment to their child’s education by not taking holidays during term time. Any child who is absent from school due to a holiday will miss out on important learning and this can have a negative impact and they can fall behind with school work.

In each school year there are only a maximum of 190 statutory school days - this allows time for holidays to be arranged outside of term time. Parents must inform school and  seek prior permission from the Headteacher before taking their child on a holiday in term time.  Holiday forms can be obtained from the office and should be completed at least a week prior to the holiday.  Holidays taken during term time are mostly categorised as unauthorised absence. 


What you can expect if your child is absent

Follow up on your child’s absence can be expected for all classes in school. This includes the school nursery.

The office will call you. They will follow the three “W’s strategy" and ask for the following information:

  • Why: The reasons for absence
  • What: If this is medical what the illness is and any treatment or advice sought or medication being taken.
  • When: The expected date of return to school.  

If you leave a message on the office machine regarding absence we will call you to follow up and gather and confirm this information.


You will also receive a daily call on each day of the absence to gather an update for the SIMS record.  


The information you provide will be recorded on SIMS to explain the absence and a code will be issued.  The school has a choice based on this information if the absence is coded authorised or unauthorised.  


If you do not call or if we cannot receive the further information about the reasons for absence then the absence will be unauthorised.

In line with attendance guidance If a child has had a significant amount of time absent from school, a pattern of concerning absence where we do not feel that the absence is warranted then this can also be coded as an unauthorised absence. We will inform parents if an absence will be coded as unauthorised.


Where absences are coded as unauthorised you will also have been invited to meet with the attendance office and Inclusion Manager to consider the reasons for the attendance issues and make an attendance plan with the school to support and improve attendance.

The office may explore further options and advise the Pastoral Team to contact you.


Attendance Support

In Walkley we understand that there can be barriers that lead to attendance and punctuality issues. For families where attendance and/or punctuality is a concern we have a range of interventions that we can offer.  Walkley builds relationships with families to listen and understand the barriers to attendance.


In the first instance parents will receive a call from the office. This can be followed up with a call from the Pastoral Team.

For families where attendance is an ongoing concern a meeting with the Inclusion Manager Mrs Homer and School Attendance officer Julie Scott Whitehead will be arranged with parents. Within this meeting we discuss the barriers to attendance and consider together how a support package can be put together by the Pastoral Team and/or SENDco.


Support can include:


  • Writing an attendance plan with parents which identifies the barriers to attendance and the support needed to improve attendance. This will also record the views of all involved including the child’s wishes and feelings in regard to attendance and school.    
  • A medical care plan in place to support the child’s medical needs in school,
  • A referral to MAST for family support to help with routines (with agreement of parents).


Pastoral Support

At Walkley we are creative in our responses and our experienced pastoral team can support in a range of ways. We are informed by our training in solution focused work and also with our links to outside agencies such as The Autism Team and Local Authority Attendance Support Team.


Pastoral interventions include:

  • Meet and greet for a child and parent at the door,
  • Rewards for daily attendance (stickers etc),
  • Use of an attachment object to help support transition between home and school,
  • Use of Social Stories to help name and address concerns about transition,
  • Use of resources – visual timetables and 'now and next' to support at home.


The pastoral Team are:


Mr Clements                                  Mrs Homer                                  Julie Scott Whitehead

Learning Mentor                           Inclusion Manager                     Attendance Solutions 



They can both be contacted via the school office on 0114 234 0550 or email for attention of pastoral team. They are also on the school yard at the start and end of school to greet children and their families and attend to any queries.