Absence & illness
Requests for authorised absence
Parents and carers are requested not to take their children out of school during term time, as missing school means missing out on vital lessons and key areas of learning. With approximately 175 non-school days available across a calendar year, we strongly encourage families to use this time for non-urgent medical and any other appointments to support your child’s good attendance.
Holidays can no longer be authorised in term time, as detailed in this letter below.
Permission for absence can only be given in highly exceptional circumstances and parents and carers must apply to the Head of School at least 2 weeks in advance using this form below; retrospective approval is not possible.
No absence will be authorised during practice or public examination periods. We may ask Oxfordshire County Council to issue a penalty notice for a fine if students are taken out of school for an unauthorised purpose.
In general, if attendance drops below 95%, the school contacts parents/carers to check there are no wider issues behind the absence and to offer support to ensure students can return to school as soon as possible. Please note that the school is obliged to report attendance below 90% to the Local Authority Attendance and Engagement Service, as this is considered persistant absence.
We do understand that on rare occasions, absence will be unavoidable.
If your child is ill or cannot attend school due to an appointment or exceptional circumstance, please contact the absence line on 01235 538243 and leave a message. In the case of prolonged absence, please telephone your child’s tutor or leave a message for them.
If there has been a family bereavement or an incident that may affect your child’s attendance, behaviour or concentration, please contact the school so we can alert your child’s teachers and the pastoral team to ensure they offer the right support. Please be assured the details can remain confidential and, if required, the school can arrange for work to be sent home.
We politely request a written note when your child returns to Fitzharrys following an absence. This should be addressed to your child’s tutor stating the dates and reason for missing school.
Fitzharrys School considers its duty of care to students of utmost importance. Whilst attendance is always very strongly encouraged to support your child’s progress, children should not attend school if they are clearly too unwell, have a temperature or have experienced vomiting or diarrhoea in the last 24 hours. Children attending school are expected to take part in all activities unless they have a letter from a parent.
If a child is taken ill at school, they should alert a member of staff who will alert a first aider. If they remain unwell, the Head of Year may give permission for them to go home once parents and carers have been contacted. In the case of accidental injury, parents and carers will also be notified as soon as possible.
Students should not contact parents directly or leave the premises without the consent of the Head of Year. Please ensure that emergency contact details are kept up-to-date at school for this reason. It is crucial that the school is made aware of any special medical conditions your child may have to ensure they receive the right care; this information will always be treated confidentially. Please contact Student Services to register updates in contact details and medical details.
To ensure student safety, school staff cannot administer any non-prescribed or prescribed medicines to students without prior written permission from parents and carers. In the event of a student needing non-prescription pain relief during the school day, parental permission will always need to be obtained. If a student regularly suffers from acute pain, such as migraine, parents and carers must authorise in writing and supply the appropriate painkiller for their child’s use which should be given straight to Student Services for safe-keeping.
For further guidance, visit our Policies pages.