Education Welfare Changes

The White Horse Federation has a dedicated Education Welfare Officer who works within the Wiltshire hub. Her name is Vicky Gale.

Vicky has outlined the school's expectations in regards to attendance as listed below:

  • Children should be in school every day and arrive on time; this is between 8:50-9am.
  • Please ensure that you communicate reasons for absence to school by 9:15 a.m. on the morning of each day of absence.
  • School attendance that drops below 95% is considered a cause for concern (95% equates to 10 missed days across a whole school year). Attendance below that level for this academic year will trigger a new process by which you will receive notification of your child’s attendance. If this does not improve there is a graduated response which could result in legal action.
  • To help, please try to make medical appointments (where possible) outside of the school day, take holidays out of school term time, and communicate any reasons for absence clearly with school staff.
  • In 2016/2018, more than 1,500 fines were issued to parents across Swindon relating to poor school attendance. We want to work with you to prevent this happening to our parents.
  • Excellent attendance at school is important to allow a child to reach their full potential.

Absence From School During Term Time

Please book family trips and holidays outside of school time. If you book a holiday during school time or need to register an absence for any other reason, please complete an Absence Request Form. It is likely that a request for absence from school will be unauthorised unless in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Legal Background and DfE Guidelines

While schools are required to consider parental requests for absence from school in term time, it still remains the legal duty of parents to ensure the regular attendance of a child of compulsory school age. Failure to do so could result in the local authority issuing a penalty notice or prosecuting the parents in the magistrates court.

DfE guidelines clearly state that absence from school can be taken in exceptional circumstances, and this means that the parent must make a strong case for taking a child out of school in an academic year. Exceptional circumstances must be explained fully to the school who will then consider the request. Any medical appointments/procedures during school time are always authorised but the school does require evidence, such as appointment cards or letters.

Parents should not expect that schools would automatically agree to an absence from school during term time. All requests are at the discretion of the Headteacher and can only be authorised by the Headteacher or the member of staff with designated authority in the absence of the Headteacher.

Illness and Appointments

Please call the office before 9:15 a.m. on 01380 723184 if your child is going to be absent due to illness. If your child has sickness or diarrhoea, the ‘48 Hours Rule’ applies. Please ensure that you seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your child’s health.

What if I'm Late to Collect my Child?

Ring the school office on 01380 723184 or email [email protected] by 2pm to inform us that you will be late and give a time of your arrival.

Please remember it is important that you bring your child to school on time and collect them on time.

Code Word

As part of our policies and procedures to ensure that we can keep your child safe, we use a code word. If you, the parent or guardian, are not collecting your child from school, then whoever you have given permission to will need to give a code word to the class teacher.

You will choose the code word. It can be anything from a colour to a name to an animal or even a film eg. penguin. Just make sure it’s something you will remember.

Appointments and Holidays

Doctors, Dental, and Hospital Appointments

Please try to book any appointments outside school hours. It is really important that interruptions to your child’s learning are kept to a minimum. We understand that there are occasions when appointment times are out of your control.


If you are going on holiday or have another reason for absence, you need to complete an Absence Request Form, available from reception. Please be aware that you may be issued with a penalty notice of £120 per child, per parent.

Request for Absence — Key Points for Parents

  • Request for absence during term time will not be authorised.
  • Any requests for the purpose of visiting family, attending family occasions, or celebrations will not be authorised.
  • Parents are at risk of receiving a penalty notice for unauthorised absence. This is a fine of £120 per parent, per child, or if paid within 21 days, £60.
  • If a pupil's attendance is below 95% and the request for absence is more than 5 days, parents may be prosecuted.
  • If prosecuted and found guilty, the parent faces a punishment of a fine of up to £2,500 and/or 3 months' imprisonment.
  • Request for absence of 10 days or more may result in pupils being removed from the school register.
  • If a pupil is removed from the school register: A - the pupil cannot return to school. B - parents will need to register their child with the local authority to apply for a new school place.

Updated: 23/04/2024 153 KB