Our School

Attendance & Punctuality

Before reading this page, please watch our Attendance Information video, narrated by our Assistant Principal and Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mr Reynolds.

Little Lever School strives to ‘help every person achieve things they never thought they could’, and recognises that for students to achieve their potential, they must have excellent attendance and punctuality.

Little Lever School aspires for all students to have 100% attendance. We strongly believe in the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of a Child, Article 28 statement.

Article 28 of the UNCRC says that children and young people have the right to education no matter who they are: regardless of race, gender or disability; if they’re in detention, or if they’re a refugee.

Little Lever School aims to support students and parents/carers by:

  • Promoting good attendance and reducing absence, including persistent absence.

  • Ensuring every student has access to the full-time education to which they are entitled.

  • Acting early to address patterns of absence.

  • Creating a safe and supportive environment where all students can thrive.

Little Lever School will also support parents/carers to perform their duty to ensure their children attend regularly and will promote and support their outstanding punctuality to the school and to lessons.

Little Lever School has a senior leader who is responsible for the strategic approach to attendance. This person is Mr S Reynolds (Designated Safeguarding Lead) sre@little-lever.bolton.sch.uk

Department for Education research shows that 17 school days absence results in all of a student’s GCSE grades dropping by one grade.

This could be the difference between passing or failing all of their courses.

Attendance Activation Tiers

Little Lever School believes that all stakeholders should be clear with regards to what to expect should a student’s attendance fall below our attendance thresholds.

Working together to improve school attendance (September 2022) makes clear that all parties; including schools, parents, multi-academy trusts and local authorities should place a strong emphasis on school attendance.

All students are expected to attend every session, but where a student’s attendance falls below our thresholds of 97%, or if anomalous patterns of attendance are discovered, our attendance procedures will be instigated according to the Little Lever activation tiers below:

96% - 100%

  • Praise and reward for improvement / maintain 100%
  • Regular monitoring of attendance to identify possible students of concern early.
  • Early intervention provided by form tutors
  • Referral to Learning Leaders

Under 96%

  • Praise and reward for improvement
  • First concerns of non attendance
  • Learning Leaders identify barriers that may be preventing attendance
  • Attendance support plans established
  • Referral to Team Education Welfare Service

Under 90% - persistently absent & severely absent

  • Intervention by Team Education Welfare Service
  • Identify barriers that may be preventing attendance
  • Attendance support plans
  • Daily monitoring
  • Legal action

DfE Guidance on Minor Ailments

Guidance from the Department for Education asks schools to remind parents that the NHS advises that it is fine to send children to school with a minor cough or cold provided they don’t have a temperature and what parents can do if their child is facing attendance challenges (this can be viewed in the PDF resources below).

Is my child too ill for school? – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Government Guidance on Parental Attendance Responsibilities

  • How do we record attendance in school?

    By law, all schools and academies (except those where all students are boarders) are required to keep an attendance register, and all students must be placed on this register.

    The law requires the register to be taken twice-a-day; at the start of the morning session and the once in the afternoon session. Little Lever School welcomes students between 8.00am and 8.30am and registers will close at 9:15am.

  • Planned medical or dental appointments.

    Any absence interrupts the continuity of a student’s learning and should be avoided other than in exceptional circumstances. Applications for other types of absence in term time must be made in advance.

    Missing registration for a medical or dental appointment is usually counted as an authorised absence (where the appointment could not be scheduled outside of school hours and where we have seen clear evidence); advance notice is required for authorising these absences.

    Parents are encouraged to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the student should be out of the school for the minimum amount of time necessary.

    In this case, please notify attendance@little-lever.bolton.sch.uk to supply medical evidence of your appointment.

  • Lateness and punctuality

    A student who arrives late, but before the register has closed, will be marked as late, using the appropriate code (L). This will apply to students arriving between 8:30am and 9:15am.

    Students arriving after registers have closed, will be marked as unauthorised absence (U) unless medical evidence has been provided, and will be issued with a late detention.

    Punctuality has a negative impact on the learning and progress students make in school.

    • 5 minutes late everyday = 3 days of school lost a year

    • 10 minutes late everyday = 6.5 days of school lost a year

    • 15 minutes late everyday = 10 days of school lost a year

    • 20 minutes late everyday = 13 days of school lost a year

    • 30 minutes late everyday = 19 days of school lost a year


  • Following up absence

    The school will follow up all absences and will ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary. The school will always contact parents/carers as soon as possible to alert them that their child has not arrived at school if the absence is unexplained. This is usually a phone call to ensure the student is safe and to clarify arrangements that can be made to ensure the student returns to school as quickly as possible. A member of staff may visit the student’s home to discuss attendance.

  • Reporting to parents/carers

    Parents/carers will receive attendance updates. Attendance is reviewed weekly by the attendance team and where there are concerns, parents/carers will be contacted to discuss what support the school can offer. In addition, students will discuss their current attendance weekly during one of their form sessions and this will be recorded in their planner. Parents are encouraged to look at their child’s planner regularly.

  • Authorised & unauthorised absence

    The Principal may not grant any leave of absence to students during term time unless they consider there to be ‘exceptional circumstances’. If you wish to apply for term time leave for exceptional reasons, then a ‘Request for Absence Form’ must be completed and this must be done well in advance.

  • Legal sanctions

    Parents/carers may be issued with a fixed penalty notice (fined) for the unauthorised absence of their child from school, where the child is of compulsory school age. For children of a non-compulsory age, the Principal may revoke a child’s place if their attendance falls below an acceptable level and offer this place to a child on a waiting list.

    If issued with a penalty notice, parents must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. Failure to pay within 28 days could result in prosecution in court for failure to ensure regular attendance to the school and failure to respond in full to the fixed penalty notice.

    Please note that our policy recognises the government’s definition of both persistently and severely absent students and we reserve the right to instigate legal interventions to help improve attendance when at these thresholds.

    Students are considered persistently absent when attendance drops below 90% and they are considered severely absent if attendance drops below 50%.

    In line with Bolton Local Authority’s Code of Conduct: Issuing Penalty Notices for unauthorised absence from school the issuing of a Penalty Notice is considered appropriate in the following circumstances:

    • Truancy from school, with or without parents knowledge (including pupils caught on truancy sweeps)
    • Parentally-condoned absences
    • Leave of absence in term time without approval
    • Delayed return from a period of leave of absence which has been approved by the school
    • Unauthorised absence i.e. no reason given for absence
    • Persistent late arrival at school (after the register has closed)
    • Suspended pupil present in a public place during the school hours of the school where the pupil is on roll
  • Children Missing in Education

    All schools, including academies and free schools, must monitor students’ attendance through their daily register. Should a student leave Little Lever School and the school is not informed by the parents of which new school the student is going to attend, the school will take action to trace the students within 10 school days. This is classed as a missing student.

    Little Lever School works closely with local authorities and will escalate the concern to them via the relevant reporting procedures. The school will make reasonable enquiries to establish the whereabouts of a student jointly with the local authority before deleting the student’s name from the register. The school will notify the local authority of when we are about to remove a student’s name from the admission register under any of the fifteen grounds listed in the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. For students absent from the school for 20 continuous days and where all attempts from the local authority and the academy have still not established their whereabouts, the student will be removed from the school roll.

    If families move away from the area, or wish to transfer their child to another school or academy, the principal must be informed in writing. Students cannot be removed from roll until we have been notified by another school or academy that a place has been offered and accepted.

  • Strategies for promoting attendance

    Little Lever School reviews the curriculum to ensure it meets the needs of students of all abilities. Our curriculum implementation, ILPs (Individual Learning Plans), Levelled support strategies, SEND passports, targeted interventions for students falling behind and use of TAs ensure that students are supported academically.

    These interventions ensure students can access their learning and therefore be more motivated to attend. In addition, there are a range of strategies to promote good attendance. These include, ‘In It to Win It’ and the Magic 15 as well as weekly Form Time praise for 100% attendance. Celebrating good and improved attendance forms part of our praise culture and the school will regularly reward students. The high presence of staff in Little Lever School creates a safe and vibrant environment and allows all students to attend. At Little Lever School there is also a weekly inclusion meeting to discuss the most vulnerable students and to review interventions to overcome barriers to learning, including poor attendance.

  • Roles & Responsibilities

    Little Lever School believes that attendance is everyone’s responsibility and has adopted a consistent approach to monitoring attendance to intervene and offer support to students and families at the earliest opportunity.

    Parents/carers are responsible for:

    • Ensuring their child attends the school each day it is open, dressed in full uniform
    • Contacting the school if their child is unable to attend by 8.30am
    • Providing their most up to date contact details
    • Only requesting leave of absence in exceptional circumstances and well in advance
    • Booking any medical appointments around the school day, where possible
    • Proactively engaging with the school with regards to any support that is offered to improve attendance.

    Leaders at Little Lever School are responsible for:

    • Establishing and promoting a culture whereby students want to attend the school, helping all stakeholders understand the benefits that good attendance brings.
    • Ensuring that the school has a clear attendance policy which is published on the school website
    • Having a dedicated senior leader with overall responsibility for championing and improving attendance
    • Having a link Trustee with oversight of improving attendance
    • Guaranteeing that attendance is everyone’s responsibility and keeping the concept of school attendance high profile within the school community
    • Having robust daily processes to follow up absence
    • Working with parents at an early intervention level so that they are fully aware of the school attendance policy
    • Ensuring the attendance policy and procedures are applied and monitored constantly
    • Supporting all students, particularly the most vulnerable, to attend the school regularly
    • Helping to identify, overcome and remove barriers for good attendance and signpost support where it is needed
    • Working with parents/carers in a more formal capacity, where there is lack of engagement and/or where support is not working. This may involve working with the local authority on legal intervention.
    • Referring students under 90% to Team Education Welfare Service LTD to access further support and guidance to rapidly improve attendance
    • Intensifying support through statutory children’s social care if there are safeguarding concerns.
    • Ensuring that school leaders and staff receive training on attendance
    • Making certain that school leaders fulfil expectations and statutory duties
    • Reviewing the attendance policy annually in accordance with its own internal procedures
    • Providing the trust board with timely information so that performance can be scrutinised at the highest level.

    External Provider: Team Education Welfare Service

    • To provide support for the Attendance Officer, to hold meetings with parents who have been identified as a serious cause for concern.
    • To conduct home visits and prepare paperwork for penalty fines.
    • To develop parenting contracts in conjunction with the Head of Year.
    • Implement fast tracking where there is evidence that absences are parentally condoned.
    • Work together with the school to maintain a comprehensive attendance policy that successfully challenges poor attendance and rewards improvement.
    • Attend court and give evidence in support of prosecutions where required
    • Meet regularly with the School’s senior lead on attendance to continue development of good practice.
    • Provide all relevant administrative, logistical and support services to ensure both continuity and seamless delivery of its service.

You can see in full our Attendance and Punctuality policy via the tab below

Attendance and Punctuality Policy