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Glastonbury Thorn School


Illness and Absence

Understanding types of absence:

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either authorised or unauthorised. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required.


Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for an acceptable reason e.g. illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or another unavoidable cause.


Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given e.g. parents keeping children off school unnecessarily, absences which have never been properly explained, shopping or birthdays, and day trips/holidays in term time which have not been agreed. 



If your child is unwell and will not be attending school, please report their absence before 9.30am to our school office (01908 504648). 


If a child is absent from school and the school has not received a phone call or other message from the parent/carer, a first day absence call will be made. The Business Support Administrator follows this system:


  • Phone parents/ carers

  • Repeat this during the first morning of absence if there is no response.

  • Phone emergency contact number(s) to get an up –to-date contact number for the parent/carer and update the school system accordingly.

  • Speak to the parents at home time, if they are at school to pick up other children.

  • Speak to parents face-to-face or by phone the next day.


The parent/carer is asked to provide a reason as to why the child is not in school.  The absence reason is recorded next to the child’s name on the First Day of Absence sheet.


Letters are sent out to parents whose children’s attendance is below 95% and parents that are concerned about their child’s attendance, are invited to work in partnership with the school.


We follow ‘Guidance on infection control in schools and other childcare settings’ published by the Public Health Agency, with regards to periods of exclusion from school due to common childhood illnesses. Please refer to this if you are unsure when your child is able to return to school after a period of illness. 


Applications for leave of absence:

There is no automatic entitlement in law for authorised leave in school time to go on a family holiday. Taking holidays in term time affects a child’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not taking children away during term time. Any savings parents make by taking a holiday in school time are offset by the cost to their child’s education.


Following government regulations that came into force in September 2013, Glastonbury Thorn School does not authorise any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. If leave is granted the head teacher will determine the number of school days a child can be absent from school with authorisation.


All applications for leave must be made at least 3 weeks in advance using a “leave of absence” form, which must be collected in person from the school office. In making a decision the school will consider the circumstances of each application on a case by case basis.


Glastonbury Thorn school will be able to refer parents to the local authority for action if children are taken out of school to go on holiday for five consecutive days or more during term time.


Any period of leave taken without the agreement of the school, or in excess of that agreed, will be classed as unauthorised and may attract sanctions such as a Penalty Notice and fines.