Punctuality Awareness JANUARY 2021

Attendance at Woodkirk Academy continues to be outstanding, despite Covid-19 restrictions.. 

Target attendance: 96%. 2019 attendance: 95.9%

Woodkirk Academy's main school attendance for the first term during Covid-19 restrictions: 94.7%

National Covid-19 Average Attendance figure for secondary schools: 84.6%

Parent Information, please read carefully

Punctuality – January 2021

Over the last couple of weeks, there has been an increase in the numbers of students arriving late for school. Students who arrive late miss traditional Form Time activities and the beginning of their first lesson; this means that they miss important information and often disrupt the teaching and learning of others. 

We would be grateful for the continued support of all parents in ensuring that their son/daughter leaves home early enough each morning to arrive in school on-time and in encouraging him/her to be punctual.    Good punctuality at school is essential for students to achieve their full educational potential.  It is also vital for students to form good habits for later life. All students are expected to arrive punctually for school in the morning and to arrive punctually for each lesson.  

A register is taken at the start of the day and during each lesson and students arriving late are recorded as such on the register. 

YEAR 7 –           8.50am
YEAR 8 –           8.55am
YEAR 9 –           9.00am
YEAR 10 –         9.05am
YEAR 11 –         9.10am


Students who arrive late for no good reason will be issued with a 10-minute detention that evening and parents will receive a text message before 12pm which informs of the lateness and the detention as a consequence.

According to DfE guidelines, registers must be closed after a certain time in the morning.  Therefore, if a student arrives after 9.30am, they cannot receive a late mark but have to be marked as absent for the whole morning session.  If the lateness is due to a legitimate reason e.g. a medical appointment, the absence can be authorised.  Otherwise, the session is marked as an unauthorised absence.  A text is sent home to parents informing them of this and the fact that they could be liable for a fixed penalty notice if the child receives 10 or more unauthorised absence sessions.


We place a strong emphasis on good punctuality; we support this by:   

  • Giving sanctions to students who arrive late to school or lessons;
  • Informing parents, by text, if their child arrives late for school; 
  • Senior staff patrolling the local area, first thing in the morning, to encourage students not to loiter in these areas and make themselves late;
  • Uploading attendance records into a student’s OPT profile, allowing parents the chance to monitor any lateness/ absences; 
  • Addressing issues of poor time keeping with individual students and their parents;
  • Visible, digital clocks at the entrances to school (new for 2021).


We would ask parents to support us in maintaining good punctuality by: 

  • Ensuring that their son / daughter gets up in plenty of time to be ready and prepared for school;  
  • Ensuring that their son / daughter has organised their bag and equipment the night before so that this does not delay departure in the morning; 
  • Discussing any issues of lateness to ensure this does not become a habit; 
  • Monitoring their child’s attendance record when it is sent home and looking for patterns of lateness.


Why has my child been marked as absent for the whole morning when they arrived at 9.31am?
As stated above, DfE guidelines state that the register must be closed after a reasonable time in the morning.  If arriving after 9.30am, a child will be marked as an unauthorised absence for the morning session.

Could I receive a fine if my child is persistently late?
If your son / daughter receives 10 or more unauthorised absences, you could be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN).  Your local council can give each parent a FPN of £60, which rises to £120 each if a parent does not pay within 21 days. If the parent does not pay the FPN after 28 days, the parent may be prosecuted at the Magistrates’ Courts.

My child was only a couple of minutes late. It seems harsh that he/she should get a late mark.
The school has to abide by the rules and expectations laid down for all schools. Lateness for school (or work) is a failure to arrive on time and will be marked as such. We would encourage students to set off in good time so that any small delay does not cause them to be late. The roads in the local area are always congested and this must be factored into any travel time.

Our whole family overslept, and it is not my child’s fault that he/she is late.  Will they receive a late mark?
This cannot be taken as an acceptable reason for lateness, so a late mark or unauthorised absence would be recorded, depending on the time of arrival.

My child has to catch the bus to school, which is sometimes late.  Will s/he receive a late mark?
Any lateness is recorded as such on the register if a student catches a service bus*.  We would advise that the child leaves earlier so that even if the bus is late, they will still arrive on time. If the service bus is sometimes late, then it is not a reliable way to ensure arrival in good time. (* a bus which does NOT attend the bus bay at the front of school)

Would you make any allowances for lateness if, for example, there were major traffic problems in the area perhaps due to roadworks, so my car/the service bus was unavoidably stuck in traffic?
The Academy cannot make allowances for the individual problem (however genuine it may be). Nonetheless, it does make allowances when there are known reported major problems that affect a large number of people; very heavy snowfall would be one such example.

What if I phone up/email to say my child is going to be late? Would he/she still get a late mark?
Yes, they would still be marked late (unless there is an exceptionally good reason to prevent a late mark from being issued), but it is very helpful to know that you are aware and for us to know the expected time of arrival and reason for lateness.

If I know my child is going to be late, do I need to ring/email / text?
It is very helpful if you do this. If your child is very late, they will be marked as unauthorised absence and your note may give an alternative acceptable reason to allow us to authorise the absence.

What do I do if I don’t agree with your policy on punctuality?
Much of our attendance policy is designed to satisfy DfE regulation but as always, if you feel an approach is unfair or unreasonable, then you can write to the CEO Principal and/or Local Governing Board asking for a review.  However, whilst any such policy is in place, the school will operate as stated.