Importance of attendance at ELSS

Since ELSS has at its core a rigorous knowledge-led curriculum, high attendance is vital for academic success. Children who attend school regularly are nearly four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than those who are regularly absent. Of pupils who miss between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of school, only 35 per cent manage to achieve five A* to C GCSEs including English and maths. (Department for Education)

Attendance Days missed per Week Days missed in a Half Term Days missed in a Year Days missed during GCSEs (3 Years)
95% 0.25 1.5 10 30
85%* 0.75 5 29 87
75%* 1.5 8 48 144
65%* 1.75 11 67 201

It is the expectation at ELSS that all pupils have an attendance of at least 96%. An attendance of less than 96% will have a significant impact on attainment, as shown in the following table.

The Department for Education defines persistent absence as attendance 85% or below.

Parental responsibility

The Law

Under the Education Act (EA) 1996 every parent with children of compulsory school age must ensure that their children receive full-time education suitable to their age, aptitude and ability (and to any special education needs they may have) either by attending school or otherwise. Failure to do so is an offence.

Since September 2013, the Principal has had to apply a strict criterion of “exceptional circumstances” restricting legitimate absences to illness and funerals. The Principal no longer has the discretion to approve absences of up to ten days a year for family holidays in “special circumstances”. Parents who either sanction, or willingly tolerate, their child’s unauthorised absence from school are not acting in the best interest of the child.

East London Science School will refer pupils who are persistently absent to the Local Authority who have the power to fine parents.

Pupils can lawfully be removed from the school roll for failing to attend school in circumstances where no reasonable grounds for absence exist.

Authorised and Unauthorised Absence.

The front office and Head of Year must be informed of pre-planned absence  eg. Funeral or medical procedures in advance in order for them to be authorised. Only the Principal can authorise absences of longer than one school day. Where possible scheduled hospital, doctors, optician and dentist appointments should be made outside of school time or during holidays.

For any minor ailments or illnesses e.g cold, feeling sick, tiredness, we have a trained first aider on site who will assess your child throughout the day. We expect parents to send their child into school where we will make the decision whether they can partake in lessons and activities. If your child is deemed unwell by the medical team at school, then a member of staff will contact you and ask you to collect them from school.

If a pupil has a medical condition that forces them to stay at home, on the day of the absence, the parent/guardian must phone the office before 8.30 (and also on every following day if absent) and provide a detailed explanation of the reason for absence. This will be logged. If parents do not phone on the day of absence, it will automatically be logged as unauthorised absence.

Any more than one day absence requires a medical note from a doctor otherwise it will be recorded as unauthorised. Medical notes will be required to be handed into the office once your child returns to school and will consist of the following:

  • Medical appointment card/ letter/ text message
  • Copy of prescription
  • Hospital discharge letter

It is the school’s discretion to authorise the absence. If an absence is deemed unauthorised, a letter will be sent home explaining the school’s response as summarised in the table below.


96- 100% Minimal risk of impact on achievement Attendance included on half termly report. Intervention by Form Tutor.
90- 95.9% High risk of impact on achievement Attendance included on half termly report. Intervention by HoY. Letter sent home. Meetings held with HoY and parents. Targets set and logged.
0-89.9% Extreme risk of impact on achievement Attendance included on half termly report. Intervention by SLT. Possible home visits, warning letters and Local authority referral.


East London Science School takes punctuality extremely seriously. Pupils are expected to be in school before 8.30. Registration begins promptly at 8.30 so pupils are expected to be in their form rooms or in assembly by that time. Late marks also apply to offsite PE lessons.

Pupils who arrive after 8.30 will have their late mark recorded on system immediately and parents will be informed. While it is courteous to inform the office if your son or daughter is running late, it will not reduce or annul the sanction that will be applied.


8.30- 8.35 20min same day after school detention. Pupils who are 5 min late on two or more occasions during one week will also be given a 1hr detention.
8.36-8.49 1hr same day after school detention. Repeat offenders will be given an 8am detention or Saturday morning detention at SLT discretion.
8.50 onwards Truanting. SLT Discretion. 1hr detention, 8am detention or Saturday morning detention.

Staff Roles and Responsibilities

Staff will have the following responsibilities (not exhaustive) in managing attendance:

Role Responsibility
Front Office/ Reception Logging parent/ guardian calls, letters, medical notes and updating the MIS.
Tutor Registration at 8.30 and 16.15. Oversight of attendance within the form. Regular home contact to discuss attendance issues.
Class Teacher Class registers will be taken in all lessons.
Head of Year Producing weekly attendance data. Follow-up phone calls and meetings with parents/guardians for pupils with attendance of 90-95.9%
SLT For pupils below 90%: Parent/guardian letters, meetings, home visits, referral to Local Authority.Management of the registers.
Principal Authorising extended absence only in “exceptional circumstances’.