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Attendance at school is important for a child’s future and educational outcomes.  Regular attendance enables children to access all available opportunities and reach their full potential.

Taking your child out of school during term time may harm your child's academic progress

Schools count each day as two sessions – morning and afternoon.  Your child has to attend 10 full sessions (five days morning and afternoon) each week to achieve 100% attendance for that week.

If your child has a half day absence, they would have a 90 per cent attendance for that week, if they had a whole day off school their attendance would be 80 per cent and so on. If your child is absent for the whole week they would be given 0 per cent attendance

Schools then calculate your child’s average percentage attendance over the whole term.  One of the best ways to help your child minimise their time off school is to ensure they are not late for school and to make all doctors’, dentists’, opticians’ and other appointments for after school hours.

Schools may agree absence in exceptional circumstances with consideration being given to pupil's attendance, attainment and public examinations but this is not a legal right.  Each case will be considered on its merits.  The following circumstances would be considered exceptional:

  • for service personnel and other employees who are prevented from taking leave of absence outside term time at any point in the academic year;
  • when a family needs to spend time together to support each other during or after a crisis 

Absences may only be authorised at the discretion of the headteacher.  Applications must be made well in advance and not left to the last minute assuming permission will be given.  Any absence must be requested on a Holiday Request Form which should be given to the headteacher for authorisation.

Circumstances which are notified to the school or Local Authority after a decision has been made by the Headteacher will not be considered.  Therefore please be certain to provide details of the special circumstances relating to your application and attach any supporting evidence.

If approval is not granted and the absence still taken, it will be regarded as unauthorised.  Where total unauthorised absences amount to 10 or more sessions the school will notify the Education Welfare Service and a Penalty Notice may be issued by the Local Authority to each parent for each child named on the notification.

Follow this link to access Wiltshire Council's guidance on school attendance and in May 2022 the Dfe published guidance for schools in a document Working Together to Improve School Attendance

The circumstances in which a holiday cannot be authorised are:

  • Availability of cheap holidays;
  • Available of desired accommodation;
  • Poor weather in the school holidays here in our country;
  • Overlap with the beginning or end of term;
  • Convenience.


We always have very good attendance at All Cannings. Whole school absence over the past few years has been as follows:

Academic Year














% **


3.5 (4.0)

3.3 (4.8)

3.3 (4.7)

4.8 (*) 2.3 (4.6) 5.6 (7.6) 5.6 (7.8%)


(Figure in brackets indicates national average) 

* Dfe have not supplied due to Covid-19 

For years 2019/20 and 2020/21 attendance figures quoted do not include absence related to Covid-19

** This is for the period 01/09/22 - 10/03/23