For a child to reach their full educational achievement a high level of school attendance is essential. We are committed to providing an education of the highest quality for all our students and endeavour to provide an environment where all students feel valued and welcome.

Parents/carers and students play a part in making our school so successful. Every child has a right to access the education to which he/she is entitled. Parents/carers and teachers share the responsibility for supporting and promoting excellent school attendance and punctuality for all. It is our duty to consistently strive to achieve a goal of 100% attendance for all children. Every opportunity will be used to convey to students and their parents/carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance. For children to take full advantage of the educational opportunities offered it is vital a child is at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. The routines children develop around attendance and punctuality at school are the same as the expectations of any future employer in the world of work. High attainment, confidence with peers and staff, and future aspirations depend on good attendance.

Good attendance is important because:

  • Statistics show a direct link between under-achievement and absence below 95%
  • Regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically
  • Regular attenders find school routines, school work and friendships easier to cope with
  • Regular attenders find learning more satisfying
  • Regular attenders are more successful in transferring between primary school, secondary school, and higher education, employment or training.

Improving attendance

Our attendance objective is to sustain above National Average at 95% attendance.

Attendance is directly linked to achievements and is essential in supporting success throughout school.

Any student below 90% is deemed by the government as being persistently absent, missing 4 or more weeks a year. For any student whose attendance is below 90%, parents will be sent a letter and invited to a meeting with the Head of Year to set short term targets.

  99%-100% Fantastic attendance - targets achieved
  97% - 99% Very good attendance
  95% Basic expectation (missing on average half a day per 10 days)
  92% up to 95% Concern (reduced chance of achieving targets)
  Below 90% Persistent absence (serious concerns)
  Below 85% A student misses, on average, almost a day a week (about 6 weeks per year)
  Below 80% A student misses, on average, a day a week (about 8 weeks per year)



Thornden School has a duty to provide appropriate education for all students who attend. Parents/carers have a legal obligation to ensure that their children receive an education by regular attendance at school.

Parents/carers must ensure that a reason for absence is reported to school. This can happen in several ways.

  • Telephone the school on the first day of absence
  • Telephone on each subsequent day of absence.
  • As a Safeguarding procedure we will text parents if a student does not register in the morning
  • Parents are always expected to send in a letter with the child upon return to School, or a note can be written in the student’s planner.
  • A medical note is required from a registered GP upon regular illness from school.

Reporting Absences

As a school, we are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of your child. 

  • Please report any absence before 8:30am on the absence line 02380 246577 every day that your child is absent.
  • If your child is going to be late because of an appointment, please also report this before 8:30am.
  • If your child has not registered and we have not received a message from you, you will receive the following text message:  "<Firstname> hasn't registered this morning and we haven't received a message from you. Pls call 023 8024 6577 with the reason for the absence.  Thank you."
  • Please respond to this text message straight away.  If we have not received a response by lunchtime, we will contact you by telephone.
  • If your child has to leave school early, please provide a note in their logbook and make sure that they sign out at reception when you pick them up.
  • Please also remind your child that they must first go to the school nurse if they feel ill and she will contact you; we discourage students contacting parents directly.
  • For children who are late in, please provide a note (unless a phone call has been made or you have responded to our text.) Whichever, they must always sign in at reception.  They will receive a note from the receptionist in their logbook that says "Signed in at.....". this will ensure that both you and the teaching staff have a record of the time your child has signed in. 

REMINDER: Phone number to speak to the School Nurse

  • If you are phoning in an absence, please continue to use the absence line phone number - 023 8024 6577.  If you wish to talk to the Nurse in person and the issue is not related to an absence, please phone 023 8024 6777.

Taking a leave of absence

Please complete this form.

Absence Request Form (PDF)

Absence Request Form (Word)

Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 have been amended (as of 1 September 2013) to prohibit the proprietor (headteacher) of a maintained school granting leave of absence to a pupil except where an application has been made in advance and the proprietor considers that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application.

In making a request for an authorised absence from school you will need to explain why the circumstances are exceptional. Please note: There is no general right to authorise absence for a family holiday.  If you take your child out of school without permission the absence will be unauthorised and we will consider legal action.

Su Whelan



Number Outcome
ANY LATE Immediate tutor detention at break
5 LATES Additionally, half an hour Head of Year detention
10 LATES Additionally, Senior staff detention