Steyning Grammar School Steyning Grammar School


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Upper School: 01903 814555

Church Street: 01903 814786

Rock Road: 01903 744884

Boarding: 01903 817601

Main Email:

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At Steyning Grammar School we promote the importance of excellent attendance by working proactively and positively with students and parents/carers. As a school we expect students to have a minimum attendance of 95%. 

Research shows us there is a clear link between poor attendance at school and low academic attainment.

  • A student with 80% attendance misses the equivalent of 1 day a week which equates to 5 lessons (5 hours) per week
  • A student with 90% attendance misses the equivalent of 1 day a fortnight which equates to 5 lessons (5 hours) a fortnight

Through the use of Electronic Registration student’s attendance is regularly monitored and we have clear systems in place to identify attendance concerns and to highlight these with students and parents/carers. We value your support in working with us in addressing these concerns.

To assist with monitoring of attendance and to ensure your child is not missing out we would ask that you:

  1. Ensure your child is on site by 8.45am at the latest for registration with tutors at 8.50am
  2. Avoid taking your child on holiday during term time
  3. Arrange medical and other appointments outside of school hours where possible

In rare cases, there are justifiable reasons why your child may have low attendance - in these cases we expect parents/carers to work closely with us to support the student and they should engage and communicate proactively with the school providing clear information regarding the absence. The more information we have the better we can support the student with their education. It is ultimately the parent/carers responsibility to make sure their child attends regularly.

If a student has a pattern of persistent absence (Government defines this as an attendance figure of 90% or below) with no clear reason or evidence then the absence will be coded as unauthorised and we are duty bound to inform the local authority (WSCC Pupil Entitlement Team) who are responsible for taking further action.

As a school we have a duty of care to ensure students attend school regularly. Where there is persistent concern staff may complete a home visit in order to offer support and check on the welfare of the student.

If you are concerned about your child’s attendance then please contact their Head of Year or our Attendance Development Manager Miss Natasha Weir ( on 01903 814555 at your earliest opportunity.

over 98%

Excellent Attendance

Students with attendance above 98% have had less than 4 days absence in the year.

Above 95%

Acceptable level of attendance

Students with attendance above 95% have had less than 9 days absence in a year.


Persistent Absentee

Pupils with 90% attendance = 19 days absence over the year.  Students with this attendance are missing a month of school per year and may drop at least one GCSE grade.  Students are now categorised as a persistent absentee by the Department for Education.


Students with 85% attendance = 29 days absence over a year.  These students are missing 6 weeks of a school year; it will be very difficult for them to keep up with work and they may drop more than one GCSE grade.

Below 85%

Exceptionally low attendance

Students with 80% attendance have missed a whole year of school over the five years of secondary education.  The Pupil Entitlement Team will be informed and parents of students with this level of attendance will be issued with a Penalty Notice or have legal action taken against them.






















If your child is unable to attend school due to illness or some other reason please telephone the school as early as possible on each day of the absence giving a specific reason for their absence.

Years 7 and 8 Church Street - 01903 814786

Years 7 and 8 Rock Road - 01903 744884

Years 9, 10, 11 Shooting Field - 01903 810501

Sixth Form College Years 12 and 13 - 01903 810526

Where there are longer periods of absence due to illness or there are repeated absences parents/carers may be asked to provide a letter from the GP or other medically qualified professionals to confirm that their child was unable to attend school and for what reason. This may incur a charge from the GP. We are happy to contact professionals direct to speed up authorising absence, with your permission. The school reserves the right to code absence as unauthorised where no such evidence is provided.

Since September 2013 Head teachers are no longer allowed to authorise absence for anything other than exceptional circumstances. Holidays are not considered exceptional.

Exceptional Absence Requests

In exceptional cases parents/carers can request in advance to take leave of absence.

The law does not grant parents an automatic right to take their child out of school during term time.  Any absence from school will disrupt your child's learning.  You may consider that a holiday/leave of absence will be educational but your child will still miss out on the learning that other students receive. Children returning from a term time absence are also unprepared for lessons which build on the learning they have missed.

The Department for Education (DfE) allows a Headteacher discretion to consider authorising an absence during term time only in 'exceptional circumstances'.  Each request is considered on its own merit.  However, term time holidays are not considered to be 'exceptional circumstances'.

With the exception of part day or single day medical appointments or college interviews, all requests must be completed on the Absence Request form, letters and emails will not be accepted.  This should be returned to school at least 14 days before the absence is due to commence.  This form is available for download below or in hard copy from the school office.

A response will be sent to you as soon as possible.  If the absence is not considered to be an exceptional circumstance, and you nevertheless take your child out of school the absence will be recorded as unauthorised in line with DfE guidance.

In the case of an unauthorised absence, the Local Education Authority may be notified of the absence and a Fixed Penalty Notice may be issued.  Please note that such a Penalty is issued to each parent for each child taken out of school.  A penalty notice is a fine of £60 which increases to £120 if not paid within the first 21 days. Thereafter, if the penalty remains unpaid this may result in legal action.

Requests should be made on the Leave of Absence Request Form and should be sent to the appropriate school office at least 14 days in advance and a decision as to whether it will be authorised will be made and you will be informed.

Absence Request Letter 20192020.pdf
> Download (pdf)

Steyning Grammar School Student Illness/Absence Guide

As your child gets older and transitions to Secondary Education it can be harder to decide whether they should stay off school or not. A few simple guidelines could help.

  • Is your child well enough to complete the activities planned?
  • Would you take a day off work if you had the same condition?

How ill your child is will depend on whether you send them in or not however here is some guidance on common conditions/complaints in terms of school expectations:

  • Cough and Cold: a student would be expected to attend school unless they have a temperature
  • Headache: a minor headache can be treated with painkillers and the child would be expected in school
  • Rash: a student shouldn’t attend with a rash as this could be an indicator of something more serious and a GP should be seen before returning to school
  • Vomiting and Diarrhoea: a student shouldn’t attend with this until they start to feel better and are eating and digesting well
  • Sore throat, swollen glands, generally unwell: no need to be kept off school, painkillers and minor ailment treatment can be given

As our students transition into Teens this can also bring challenges in terms of attendance see below some Top Tips:

  1. Let them know how important excellent school attendance is and that every day missed will be harder for them
  2. Where possible make dentist/medical appointments outside of school hours, if unavoidable make sure they don’t use whole day
  3. Where attendance has dipped discuss it with your child and try making a contract with them to improve attendance and reward positive improvements
  4. If you think your child is trying to avoid school let us know as soon as possible so that the right support can be put in place
  5. Establish a time in the evening where TV, Phone and other devices are put to one side so your child can wind down and rest

Should you have any concerns you wish to discuss, absence and truancy are managed in the first instance by Heads of Year or our Attendance Development Manager.

Where absence levels remain unacceptable, our Attendance Development Manager may become involved and ultimately, a referral may be made to the Local Authority. Should a pupil accrue 10 sessions of unauthorised absence, a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) can also be requested. The Local Authority no longer monitor attendance for a 15 school day period and all appropriate referrals for a FPN will now immediately result in this being issued. There will now be equality across the system, so that irrespective of whether the absence was for an unauthorised holiday in term time (G code), persistent lateness (U code) or any other unauthorised absence (O code), a Fixed Penalty will apply.  

The Fixed Penalty Notice leaflet can be viewed below.

The Fixed Penalty Notice Leaflet
> Download (pdf)