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Attendance, Absence and Lateness

The School Day

St Mark’s school hours are as follows.

EYFS  08:55 – 15:05

Morning Break: 10:30 – 10:45  Afternoon Break: 2 – 2:15     Lunchtime Break: 11:45 – 12:45

Yr1 and Yr2  08:55 – 15:05

Morning Break: 10:30 – 10:45  Afternoon Break: 2 – 2:15     Lunchtime Break: 12:00 – 13:00

Juniors (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6): 08.55 – 15:15

Morning Break: 10:30 – 10:45           Lunchtime Break: 12:00 – 13:00

Please ensure that children arrive at school punctually. Children may go into their classrooms from 8:45 am so that they are settled and ready to start their learning journey at 8:55 am.

At the end of the day please be on time and wait in the relevant part of the school’s playground to collect your child.  Children will only be released by staff into the care of their parents/carers. If you require your child to be picked up by anybody else (childminders, grandparents, play dates etc) please let the school know. We will not be able to let the children go home without authorisation from you.

Children leaving the school site by themselves

All parents must sign a letter annually stating that their child can leave the school site by themselves. We only allow children in year 6 and year 5 to do so.

Year 6, with a permission form may leave the school site by themselves from the beginning of term 1.  Please see form here: St Mark's Church of England Primary School - Forms (

Year 5, with a permission form may leave the school site by themselves from the beginning of term 5 (after the Easter break). Please see form here: St Mark's Church of England Primary School - Forms (


School closure due to extreme weather

Here’s hoping we will have a mild winter but if not and the school is forced to close as a result of bad weather please listen to the following radio stations KMFM 96.2/101.6 FM, BBC Radio Kent 96.7/104.2 FM and Heart FM 103.1/102.8FM. We will publish closures on the website. The school phone will also be manned, during the morning from 8:30 am on all days.

If the school has to close in the course of a school day we will send a parentmail out to inform you. Please ensure that if you change your contact details at any point you inform the school.

If the site has to be evacuated in extreme circumstances all children will be sheltered at Broadwater School and will have to be collected from there.

Absence due to illness

As you may have seen in the local media, Kent County Council have recently launched their School Attendance Campaign (please see attached poster).  You are probably aware that since Covid school attendance has dropped over the UK due to various factors. KCC consider any child’s attendance lower than 90% as persistent absence.  If a child’s absence is 90% at the end of the school year this equates to 19 missed school days – nearly 4 weeks of school out of a possible 38 weeks of learning time.

We have recently updated our Attendance policy (this can be found on our website) Attendance Policy

As you know, children should currently be in school each day by 8:55 am and registers close at 9:05 am.  If a child arrives at school between 9:05 am and 9:15 am they will be marked as an L code (Late). If a child arrives at school any time after 9:15 am this is marked as a U code and is an unauthorised absence.

Absence due to Illness

Please call (and select option 1 to leave a message) or email the school office each morning by 9am if your child is absent due to illness.

If you are unsure whether your child can come to school due to illness then this NHS website is a great resource, so please do use it: Is my child too ill for school? - NHS (

Common illnesses:

High Temperature: if your child has a temperature of 38C or more then please treat them at home.  They can return to school as soon as they feel well and their temperature has gone lower than 38C.

Coughs/Colds:  it is fine to send your child to school with a minor cough or common cold.  But if they have a temperature of 38C plus keep them at home until the temperature has gone.

Conjunctivitis: You do not need to keep your child away from school.  The school office can help if your child has eye drops.

COVID 19: Your child is no longer required to do a rapid lateral flow test if they have symptoms but they should stay at home if they have a high temperature (see above).

Vomiting and Diarrhoea: Children should stay at home for 48 hours after the final bout.

Medicine at school

If your child has been given antibiotics/eye drops/medicine to take 4 times a day then please bring to the school office to complete a form and we can administer for you.  If they need to take medicines 3 times a day you should be able to administer these at home in the morning, after school and before bedtime.

If your child is not unwell enough to be at home but feeling “under the weather” then we are happy to help administer Calpol etc to help them get through the day, so please just speak to us at the office.

Illness whilst at school

If your child has vomiting or diarrhoea whilst at school we will call you to come and collect (they will then need to be absent for 48 hours).

If your child appears very unwell we will call you to come and collect your child.

If your child is not quite themselves at school we may telephone you to check if you would like us to administer Calpol (paracetamol).

Leave of Absence in term time

Absences from school for reasons other than illness should be rare and avoided.

Requests for leave of absence will not be authorised unless for exceptional circumstances.

For obvious reasons leave of absence in term time should be avoided at all costs.

Time away during the teaching term represents a considerable loss of valuable time for teaching and learning. Where a leave of absence in term time is unavoidable prior permission must be sought from the headteacher by completing a leave of absence request form, obtainable from the office well before any dates are arranged. The school reserves the right to refuse leave of absence requests in individual cases. Please ensure that all notifications of absence are worded formally as requests.

We support the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices for unauthorised leave of absence taken during term time. This would mean a fine of £120.00 per child per parent. If it is paid within 28 days the amount will be reduced to £60.

For further information, please refer to the Attendance Policy – in School Policies