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Summerhill School

Summerhill School

Types of Absence

Understanding types of absence

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

Authorised absences may include a morning or afternoon away from the school for a legitimate reason such as illness, medical or dental appointments which are unavoidable during the school day, emergencies or other unavoidable causes. However the school reserves the right to classify these absences as unauthorised in some circumstances. Proof of appointments will always be asked for.

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no ‘permission’ has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Local Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. Examples of (but not limited to) unauthorised absences include:

  • Parents/guardians/carers keeping their child off school unnecessarily
  • Truancy before or during the school day
  • Absence from individual lessons – should your child be present for registration but fails to attend subsequent lessons (without permission), the school reserves the right to amend the register code for that school session to ‘unauthorised’ to reflect lesson absence. In the case of this happening you will be notified by email, phone or text message.
  • Students who arrive after registers close
  • Day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed

A student may be absent from school because they are reluctant to attend. In this instance it is best to be honest with the school and work with the House Tutor and Head of House to find a solution that ensures absence is avoided. Do not cover up the absence or give in to pressure to excuse them for not attending.

Students at Summerhill School with attendance that falls below 97% may be asked to meet with staff from the school and all future absences may be recorded as unauthorised without appropriate medical evidence. Correspondence may be sent acknowledging a fall in attendance in order to raise awareness and aid in the improvement of this issue.