Reporting Absence & Attendance

Reporting Absence


In the case of illness please telephone or e-mail school on the morning of each and every day of absence on 0117 952 7101. If this is not possible, write a note in the student’s planner to explain absence on the students return to school. Sign and date the note and ensure students show their tutor.

In cases where there are prolonged instances of illness or repeated periods of illness we will require a medical note. We will not authorise more than 7 days illness over the year except in extreme circumstances. This means that following the 7th day of absence all subsequent absences related to illness will be unauthorised.


Try to make medical appointments outside of school hours. If this is not possible, only remove the child from school for the minimum amount of time necessary for the appointment. Please ensure students show their Tutor their medical appointment card so they can be given permission to leave school. Provide school with copies of any medical evidence such as appointment cards, prescriptions or medication packets so that medical absences can be authorised. If you do not the absence will be classed as unauthorised.

Medical absences will not be authorised for a full day unless they relate to hospital or specialist appointment and we must receive a copy of the appointment letter as evidence.

Religious Observance

We will authorise absence for legitimate religious observance for the maximum of two days. They will be authorised on dates exclusively set apart for this purpose by the religious body to which the parents/carers belong. Any additional days taken will be classed as unauthorised and may incur a penalty notice.



See this parents/carers guide regarding Coronavirus and absence.

School attendance is very important to us at FHS because we want students back in the classroom and learning. If your child is unwell please following the suggestions below:

  • If you think your child has possible Covid-19 symptoms, then call 111 and recall the information to them for clarification. If a test is suggested, then while you await please contact FHS attendance to inform us and then let us know the results.
  • If tests are negative, then students should return to school immediately.
  • However, if tests are positive then please follow the guidance and self-isolate. Please do inform us if tests are positive.
  • Should your child have a cold, a runny nose, sore throat – they should be in school as per the guidance. If you are unsure, please call 111 and then update FHS absence.

Students that are taking days off for a runny nose, sore throat, period pains etc. will be coded as I for illness. Nonetheless, this will negatively impact on student attendance, progress, and overall attainment.

We do encourage healthy eating and living, so lots of fruit and vegetables. If in agreement with your GP, please take vitamins to boost immune systems and attend school regularly.

When is 90% not enough?

Though in many situations 90% sounds like a good score, in attendance terms it is not.

An attendance of 90% across a school year is the equivalent of approximately 20 days of missed learning (a month of school). If 90% attendance is maintained over a student’s secondary education, this would mean 100 missed days of learning. Students who have an attendance of below 90% are categorised by the Government as being ‘persistently absent’. The impact of low attendance on attainment is particularly profound for those deemed persistently absent and those students who are persistently absent are a particular focus for us this year.

We are working to support students and families where attendance can be a barrier to achievement and are happy to receive any contact from parents/carers who may wish to receive support for their son or daughter in this area.

Penalty Notices

FHS and Local Bristol City Council are working together to issue warnings and Penalty Notices under Section 444(A) of the Education Act 1996 (amended regulations 2013) for students with high levels of absence.

A Penalty Notice is a fine up to £120. It is £60, if paid within the first 21 days but then £120 past the 21st day / within the 28 days. If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 28 day period, the Local Authority will instigate Court Proceedings and the outcome of a prosecution could be up to £1,000 per parent/adult. This is an alternative to the prosecution of parents/carers/guardians for failing to ensure the regular attendance of a compulsory school age (age 5-16 years) student where they are registered or at a place where alternative provision is provided.

Other criteria (than those listed above) for Penalty Notices include where an excluded student is found in a public place during school hours without a justifiable explanation or following a truancy sweep.

Term-time holidays

We are unable to authorise absence from school except in exceptional circumstances. Therefore we would ask you to avoid taking holidays during term time.

If this is unavoidable parents must apply in writing to the Principal, Mr Nick Lewis, via Laverne Thompson. Although holidays will be recorded as an unauthorised holiday, and may incur a fixed penalty notice if it reaches the threshold, it is better that we know a child is safe rather than missing.

If there are unavoidable family circumstances, please complete an authorised absence request form (available from school reception or on this website page), and/or arrange a meeting with the Assistant Vice Principal for Attendance.

School Attendance advice

FHS has produced the information leaflet below which details what parents and carers need to know about school attendance: