For safeguarding purposes we need to be aware of the whereabouts and safety of all the children who attend New Islington Free School, during school hours.

Absence through illness

If a child is unwell and will be staying at home, we need to be informed before 9.30am. Notification can be given in person, by phone call to 0161 273 8007 or by email to Please note that we need to be informed by an adult family member. If a child is not in school without prior notification, we will contact parents to ascertain their child’s whereabouts.

Time out of school for medical/dental appointments

Appointments for dentists, doctors, hospitals etc are better made out of school hours or during holidays. We are aware that this is not always possible and so appointments either at the beginning or end of the school day can avoid too much disruption to children’s learning. For all appointments where a child may miss any time in school, we request that an appointment card or letter is brought to the school office in order that the time out of school can be authorised.


Children should be brought to school in time for collection from the playground at 8.50am. Although unavoidable on occasion, being late can be upsetting and disruptive to children, as well as being distracting to the rest of the class.

Holidays during school time

Following recent legislation and national guidance that applies to all schools, we cannot authorise any holidays taken in school time except where there are exceptional circumstances. Please be aware that parents who take their child/ren away in school time may be issued with a penalty notice and this could also lead to prosecution. As well as holidays taken mid-term, this also applies to sessions missed on the first or last day of term.

Attendance expectations COVID-19

In March 2020 when the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was increasing, the Government made it clear that no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school.

Now the circumstances have changed (August 2020) it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.

Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school.

School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term 2020. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:

  • • parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
  • • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
  • • the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct

Much more is known now about coronavirus (COVID-19) and so in future there will be far fewer children advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the vast majority of pupils will be able to return to school. In the case of a very small number of pupils who may still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are shielding or self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19), absence will not be penalised.

All other pupils must attend school. We are mindful of the potential concerns of pupils, parents and households who may be reluctant or anxious about returning and put the right support in place to address this. This may include pupils who have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised that this is no longer necessary, those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable, or those concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

If parents of pupils with significant risk factors are concerned, we enter into positive and supportive dialogue to discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures we are putting in place to reduce the risk in school.

We will however be clear with parents that pupils of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies.