Students and parents should aspire to 100% attendance during their time at Thamesmead School. It is proven that attendance has a direct impact on progress in school and subsequently on exam results. Attendance of 90% may seem high, but equates to missing one day per fortnight and over your child’s school career could be six months of education. The school’s attendance target is 95.5%.

Guidelines given to schools by the DFES indicate that absence may only be authorised where:

  • The Student is ill
  • The absence is authorised by the school (e.g. medical appointments, interviews or other special circumstances)
  • The student cannot attend due to unavoidable causes (e.g. stranded by flooding)
  • Religious observance where applicable
  • Absences will NOT be authorised for students to look after relatives or pets, waiting at home for deliveries/tradesmen, shopping trips (including for uniform), day trips or arrivals in school after the registers have closed

Absence procedures

We understand that there are occasions when a student is unwell and we therefore ask that you call the school each morning on 01932 219400 to let us know that your child cannot attend.

We respectfully request that wherever possible, appointments for medical and dental treatment are made outside of school hours or in the school holidays. If this is unavoidable and your child needs to leave school during the day, please write a note to the school to advise us of this and/or send an email to

Students will need to sign out at the school office and they can then be collected from the School Reception.

Unauthorised absences

It is the law for parents to ensure that their child attends school regularly. The law has recently provided local authorities with the power to serve parents with a Fixed Penalty Notice if a child has ten or more unauthorised absences (i.e. 5 days) in one term.

All absences are recorded and demonstrate to future employers, universities or colleges that the student has a poor record of attendance and as such show a lack of commitment to education and work.

Helping to encourage attendance

If your child appears reluctant to go to school, such as feigning illness or truanting we want to help as soon as we can. The Student Support Team at Thamesmead will be happy to talk to you and/or your child to solve any difficulties or problems that could be causing this reluctance. Parents should see if they can establish any cause at home, contact the school as soon as possible and if necessary seek help from the Educational Welfare Service or Home School Link Worker.

The full school Attendance Policy can be found by clicking below:

Holiday requests during school term time

The Education (Pupil Registration)(England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, which became law on 1st September 2013, state that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Headteacher should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if leave is granted.

In accordance with the above Regulations, requests for leave of absence are treated sympathetically, but only in exceptional circumstances can they be approved.  The policy of Surrey County Council, to which this school has agreed, states that parents who take their child out of school for five days or more during term time, without the authority of the Headteacher, will each be liable to receive a penalty notice. Penalty Notices will be issued by the Local Authority.

The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days of receipt of the notice. If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 28-day period the Local Authority must prosecute the recipient for failing to ensure regular school attendance under section 444 Education Act 1996.

Please be aware that each parent is liable to receive a Penalty Notice for each child who incurs unauthorised absences, for example, if there are two parents and one child, each parent will receive one Penalty Notice.

If there are two parents and two children incurring unauthorised absences, each parent will receive two Penalty Notices, which in this case would amount to £120 each if paid within 21 days.

Request for Absence Form