Attendance Policy


Tavistock College is committed to providing a full and effective educational experience for all students. We believe that if students are to benefit from education, good attendance is crucial. Irregular attendance undermines the educational process and can lead to educational and social disadvantage. As a College we do all that we can to ensure maximum attendance for all students. Any problems that prevent full attendance will be identified and addressed as speedily as possible.

It is the policy of our College to celebrate achievement. Attendance is a critical factor to a productive and successful school career and establishes a good pattern for later life. Our College will actively promote and encourage 100 per cent attendance for all our students. We recognise that parents have a vital role to play and that there is a need to establish strong home-school links and communication systems that can be utilised whenever there is concern about attendance.


  • To encourage full attendance and punctuality
  • To ensure that parents / carers are aware of attendance / punctuality concerns
  • To work with EWS and other appropriate agencies to support good attendance & punctuality
  • To record and monitor attendance and absenteeism and apply appropriate strategies
  • To acknowledge and reward a successful record of attendance through the College’s rewards system
  • To ensure a consistent approach throughout the College
  • To improve attainment and achievement of pupils through improved levels of attendance.

Statutory Duty of School and Parents


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The Education Act 1996 requires parents/carers to ensure their children receive effective, full- time education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Schools and Colleges are responsible for recording student attendance twice a day; once at the start of the morning session and once during the afternoon session. At Tavistock College an electronic registration system is in place. Student attendance is recorded for every lesson.


Parents/carers are legally responsible for ensuring that their children attend school. This extends to ensuring that students arrive at College on time, properly attired, with correct equipment and in a condition to learn. The College will make every effort to promote good attendance, giving advice and support where needed.

The Education Welfare Service (EWS) & School Attendance

The EWS is a part of the Devon Local Authority (the LA). Its aim is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to benefit from a full time education by attending school regularly. The EWS can help and advise parents/carers who may be experiencing difficulties that prevent this. It is the responsibility of parents/carers to ensure that their child attends school regularly and the EWS expects parents/carers to do all that is necessary to make sure this happens.

What happens if your child does not attend school regularly (and their absence is not authorised)?

It is a criminal offence for a child not to attend school regularly and, as the parent, this is your responsibility. A Penalty Notice may therefore be issued, requiring you to pay a fine of up to £120 per parent/carer, per child if their attendance is below an acceptable level. In certain circumstances you may be prosecuted and be required to attend the Magistrates Court where you could face up to 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £2,500. You will be given every opportunity to improve your child’s attendance and you will receive a written warning before any legal action is taken.

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Statutory Attendance Responsibilities

There is a legal responsibility to have a morning and an afternoon registration

The School will:

  • Record and monitor attendance and absence. Legally we are required to do this twice a day
  • Use electronic registration system to record and monitor attendance of all lessons during the school day to ensure the safety and welfare of all pupils
  • Record and monitor the punctuality of all students and, where necessary, inform parents of persistent lateness and apply appropriate consequences. Registers are closed at 9.10am, and 2.35pm: Pupils arriving after registers are closed will be recorded as an unauthorised absence (U)
  • Only authorise pupil absence in exceptional circumstances where absence is unavoidable
  • Maintain strong home-school liaison to inform and support parents with their child’s attendance. The college uses School Comms as a communication method to follow up daily absences
  • Work closely with the school Educational Welfare Officer and other appropriate agencies where there are concerns regarding attendance.
  • Help to investigate, identify and resolve any issues with children and their families which prevent full attendance at Tavistock College and will do everything possible to help return students to full attendance
  • Promote the importance of attendance through weekly assemblies and celebrating students who achieve 100% attendance.

Parents should:

  • Ensure their children arrive on time to college with the correct equipment and full uniform.
  • Be aware that any person who has the care of a child or who has parental responsibility is responsible for ensuring good attendance.
  • Ensure that they are fully aware of school procedures – see appendix A

Reporting Absences

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Up to 3 Days’ Absence

  • It is the responsibility of the parents/carers to inform the College of the reason for a student’s absence by 9.00 a.m. on the day of absence.
  • The College will operate a First Day Calling system and the parents/carers of every absent student will be contacted by the Attendance Officer.

** Any absence where a reason is NOT provided, will be followed up with a letter from the Attendance Officer.

More than 3 Consecutive Days’ Absence

  • Parent/carer must contact Attendance Officer on 3rd day of absence giving expected date of return.
  • Where there has been no parental/carer notification after 3 consecutive days, Tutor should contact parents/carer.
  • Where there has been an absence of more than 4 consecutive days and parents/carers have not made contact or cannot be contacted by school, EWO should be informed.
  • In the case of long term illness the college should be notified so that teachers can set work. Medical evidence may need to be provided to the school to support the absence. If it is known that the student will be absent for more than 2 weeks, the EWO should be notified.

Methods of Reporting Absences

In any case of absence, parents/carers should contact the College by one of the following methods:

  • By phone to the Attendance Officer
  • Personal contact with Attendance Officer who will note the reason for absence on SIMs. Attendance Officer will notify the tutor of absence and reason.
  • If you are unable to contact the Attendance Officer, a parental note explaining the absence must be passed to the Attendance Officer on the first day back at College.
  • Notification by fax and e-mail cannot be accepted, we do however accept messages via School Coms

Authorised Absence

Reasons for Absence

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Be aware that absence from school will only be authorised if it is for the following reasons:

  • Genuine illness
  • Unavoidable medical / dental appointments (but try to make these after school if at all possible)
  • Days of religious observance
  • Exceptional circumstances, such as bereavement or marriage of immediate family member
  • Seeing a parent who is on leave from the armed forces
  • External examinations
  • When Traveller children go on the road with their parents

Absences during Term Time


The law does not grant parents/carers an automatic right to take their children out of school during term time. If the request is for an absence in term time you must have Parental Responsibility and be the parent/carer with whom the child normally lives. Permission must be sought in advance. If the circumstances relating to this request are considered exceptional and the absence is authorised by the school, the authorising of the absences will be conditional on the child’s(rens’) attendance being satisfactory up to the date covered by this request.

Warning: If the school refuses your request and the child is still taken out of school, this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. A significant amount of unauthorised absence may make you liable to a Penalty Notice for each child, payable by each parent/carer, or the subject of court proceedings which could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to 3 months. Absences will only be authorised if there are considered to be exceptional circumstances AND none of the following apply;

  • The holiday is within the first 3 weeks of any term.
  • The pupil is in Yr 10 or 11
  • Yr 7 pupils in their first term at Tavistock College
  • The pupil’s attendance is 95% or less (and there is no underlying medical problem affecting this)
  • The holiday period exceeds 10 school days

Absence Request Form S2 must be submitted a minimum of four weeks in advance to the College (available from Student Services). The absence will only be authorised at the Principal’s discretion.

If an absence is authorised by the school it remains conditional upon attendance being 95% or over, up until the date of absence. If the school withdraws the authorisation due to the attendance dropping to an unacceptable level, the parent/carer will be informed of this in writing.

If a parent/carer is refused an absence request and the student is still taken out of school by the parent/carer, you may be issued with a penalty notice for the unauthorised absence.

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It is the legal responsibility of parents/carers to ensure their child attends all lessons as required. Parents/carers will be informed by the Attendance Officer if their child has been identified as truanting from the college. Persistent cases may be referred to the EWO who may consider issuing a Penalty Notice

When Attendance causes concern

(See Appendix A Section 7)

  • Tutors will set targets to encourage good attendance and to address any concerns
  • Contact will be made with parents to advise them of poor attendance
  • Pupils may be put on daily report and / or an Individual Attendance Improvement Plan for lateness or poor attendance
  • A referral will be made to the Education Welfare Service and you may be contacted by the EWO with regard to your child’s attendance. You could be asked to attend either an attendance meeting or legal meeting in school to look at how the issue can be resolved.


It is the responsibility of parents/carers to ensure their child attends full time education and arrives at college on time. Punctuality is monitored by the College and parents will be contacted if their child is not arriving to College on time. If a child persistently arrives after the registers close, cases will be referred to the EWO who may consider issuing a Penalty Notice.




This document was adopted by the Full Governing Body on 11/12/2013
The document is subject to review on a annual basis.



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Page updated 06 January 2014


Tavistock College
Crowndale Road, Tavistock
Devon PL19 8DD

01822 614231
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