Attendance and Absence

Bellingham Middle School believes that a high level of school attendance is directly linked to a student's achievement, life chances and future employment. Parents, carers, pupils and staff all have a responsibility to ensure that students achieve excellent attendance. Excellent attendance promotes excellent learning. Regular school attendance is essential if children are to achieve their full potential.

We believe that regular school attendance is crucial in allowing children to maximise the educational opportunities available to them and become emotionally resilient, confident and competent adults who are able to realise their full potential and make a positive contribution to their community.  

We value all pupils.  As set out in our Attendance Policy, we will work with families to early identify the reasons for poor attendance and try to resolve any difficulties which may be affecting this.

We believe attendance is a shared responsibility, involving the whole school community and local community.  Our Attendance Policy should not be viewed in isolation; it is a thread that runs through all aspects of school improvement, and is supported by our policies on safeguarding, anti-bullying, and behaviour This policy also takes into account the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and DfE School Attendance Advice as well as Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023.



We believe the following important principles underpin our approach to managing attendance:


  • Pupils and parents/carers understand the issues and procedures for attendance and punctuality.
  • All school staff, including governors, administrative and ancillary staff understand the issues and procedures for attendance and punctuality
  • Clear procedures for enabling pupils to come to school are in place
  • Attendance issues are addressed in the curriculum
  • Parents/carers and pupils having the opportunity to raise their concerns around attendance and feel comfortable to discuss with school
  •  Allocating resources e.g. time, people, space to fully implement the policy
  •  Rewarding students who have excellent and good attendance and  those who strive to improve their attendance
  • Identifying patterns of absence and intervening early.  Research shows that patterns of attendance are established early in a school career. Children who miss significant amounts of their education in primary or middle schools are more likely to truant later on. We will work with the school partnership to identify vulnerable students and families so we can give them early support.
  •  Sanctions for failing to ensure regular attendance are fully understood by the whole school community and parents/carers.



What time should my child arrive at school?


Please make sure your child gets to school on time. Punctuality is important as arriving late disrupts your child’s education. Support staff are available from 8.35am in case of accident in the school playground but there is no direct supervision in the playground until this time. A free Breakfast Club operates each day from 8am in our ARP. 


What do I do if my child will be absent?


Make sure that you inform the school office as soon as possible, and before 9.30 am, if your child will not be in school by calling 01434 220235.    Attendance levels are high at BMS. We closely monitor attendance in collaboration with our Educational Welfare Officer and if your child’s attendance falls below the Government recommendation of 92% further action may be taken by the EWO.


What if my child is going to be late?


Call the school office as soon as possible if your child will be late into school. This really helps with registration and lunch administration. When your child arrives in school, they must come to the main office to sign in.


What if my child is ill?


Please contact the school office as soon as possible to let us know why your child is absent. If your child experiences vomiting and diarrhoea, they must not return to school for 48 hours after the last occurrence of illness. Children who return to school before the 48 hour period has passed will be sent home.


Can you grant holiday requests?


No. The school year includes 13 weeks when children are on holiday. Under Government guidelines, Headteachers are no longer permitted to authorise absence for holidays during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you therefore wish to take your child out of school, a formal request must be made to the Headteacher before the holidays are booked. You will receive a written acknowledgement from the school.

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