Our Aims

At Birley Primary Academy, we aim for every child to reach their full potential and to have a happy and successful time at school. Research shows that children achieve better if they are punctual for school and have a good level of attendance. In order to provide children with the best education, we aim for every child to achieve at least 96% attendance with the goal of achieving 100%.

Why is it so important that children have strong attendance? That is because children who attend school regularly:

  • Make better progress, both socially and academically
  • Find school routines and school work easier to cope with
  • Find learning more satisfying and enjoyable
  • Have an easier transition to secondary education

Our Targets

Alongside the Local Authority and LEAD Academy Trust, we aim for the highest standards by setting ourselves challenging targets with the aim of improving attendances figures as best as we can. This year, our targets are:

  • To increase overall attendance to 95.5%
  • To reduce persistent absence to 17.5%
  • To increase overall attendance of disadvantaged children to 92.5%
  • To reduce persistent absence of disadvantaged children to below 25%

Academy Opening Times

The school day at Birley Primary Academy starts at 8:35am for children in Foundation Stage 2 and
Key Stage 1 and 8:40am for children in Key Stage 2. All children will be collected from their designated points on the academy’s playground at their appropriate time except for children in FS2 and Y1, who should be taken to their child’s classroom. Pupils must arrive by these starting times every day.

If children arrive after these times, parents and carers are required to take their child to the academy’s main office. Once there, parents and carers must provide a reason for lateness and they are also required to inform our office staff of their child’s lunch option. Anybody arriving after 9:15am will be given a U code which is an unauthorised absence for the morning.


We understand that there can sometimes be genuine reasons for absences. If your child is unable to attend the academy, it is your responsibility to keep the academy informed on a day by day basis about any absence from school by calling 0114 2339002.


At times, illness can prevent your child from attending the academy. If this is the case, please ensure you let the academy know before the start of the school day. To do this, you will need to contact the office on the above number and provide the name of the child who will not be in attendance and the reason for absence. Nevertheless, absence should only be a last resort so please encourage your child to attend school with minor ailments as children generally feel better as the day progresses. For more information, please refer to the NHS guidance to help you decide about whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. This guidance can be found here

If your child becomes unwell at school, they be will be assessed by class teachers and a first aid trained member of staff who will determine if they are suitable to remain in the academy. If they need to be sent home, this will be authorised by a member of the Attendance and Inclusion Team and parents or carers will be contacted. 

NHS guidance on deciding whether or not your child is too ill to go to school can be found here


If your child is on any medication, this should not prevent them coming to the academy. We have first-aiders who can administer the medication when required.  Please note that a medication form will need to be filled in and signed by parents or carers. These forms can be obtained from the main office or emailed to you upon request by our Lead First Aider, Mrs Helen Garratty. 


As a general practice, we strongly discourage scheduling medical appointments during the school day. In cases where this is unavoidable, we kindly request that you provide medical evidence to explain your child’s absence from the academy. If no proof is provided, this may be classed as an unauthorised absence.

Importance of Attendance

At Birley Primary Academy, we aim for all of our pupils to be above the green zone. Being at 96% and above ensures that your child has a good level of attendance and provides them with the greatest opportunity to achieve the aims of our academy as outlined above.

Please see the table below regarding the overall effect of poor attendance. This table highlights what an overall attendance percentage figures equates to in the number of days missed, weeks missed, number of lessons missed and amount of time missed in education if that level of attendance continued over a 5 year period.

Finally, the table below shows the effect that being regularly late to the academy can have on a child’s education. Although being 15 minutes late on a daily basis might not seem much, these minutes can soon turn into days and weeks. Remember, every minute counts so it is important that we are punctual and make the most of learning time.

Parental Support

Attendance is a whole school commitment and you can support us with our aims by taking the following actions: 

  • Do not book holidays in term time. 
  • Make medical appointments after your child has had the morning or afternoon attendance mark and always return to school afterwards. 
  • Do not take your child out of school unless in exceptional circumstances. 
  • Always ring the school to let us know where your child is and why they are absent. 
  • Always encourage your child to attend, as sometimes the child saying they don’t feel well could mean they are just tired. 
  • If your child has been ill, encourage them to attend as soon as they are fit and able. 
  • Be punctual and set good routines, as persistent lateness will affect their attendance.  

Academy Support

Meanwhile, the academy staff will support our aims by completing the following actions:

  • A phone call on the first day your child is absent to ascertain the reason for absence and to offer advice and support about how we can get your child back to the academy as quickly as possible. 
  • A supportive environment where your child will be cared for when ‘under the weather’ or suffering from common illness such as colds, coughs, aches and pains. 
  • Trained staff who can administer prescription medication to your child to allow them to attend when taking medications
  • Use a wide variety of attendance initiatives that will support and encourage your children to attend the academy
  • A termly written report on your child’s attendance
  • Swift action to support your family if your child’s attendance drops below 95%

Academy Attendance Strategies

At Birley Primary Academy, we use a wide variety of attendance initiatives that are aimed at encouraging and rewarding children to attend the academy. These include:-

  • Daily Class Attendance Prizes – ‘Star in the Jar’ and ‘Attendance Posters’ for 100% attendance
  • Weekly Top Dog Awards – Celebrating classes with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd best attendance percentages
  • Birlopoly – Weekly assembly where classes can earn prizes for a weekly attendance above 96%
  • Attendance Initiatives – Themed attendance competitions such as 12 Days of Christmas, Easter Eggstravaganza and Schoolz Out for Summer
  • Early Bird Week – Designated weeks that celebrate the importance of punctuality on a termly basis
  • Displays – Boards around the academy will celebrate individuals achieving aims of the academy
  • Attendance Ambassadors – 6 children become our weekly attendance ambassadors for 100% attendance during the previous week
  • Badges, Certificates and Postcards – At the end of each term, these are distributed to children for achieving different milestones – 100% attendance, 96% attendance or even improved attendance.

Check out pictures of our amazing attendance initiatives in the gallery below:

Academy’s Monitoring Cycle

As part of our strategy for tackling persistent absence, the academy will be implementing the
following procedures in regards to our intervention process. This follows the flowchart as seen below:

At Birley Primary Academy, we strive to ensure that all of our pupils want to be and can
attend the academy every day and we aim to achieve this by prioritising attendance
improvement. At the beginning of the academic year – as well as throughout the academic
year through our newsletters – parents and carers will be informed of the
academy’s expectations upon attendance and be clearly informed about our absence
procedures. Alongside this, these expectations are also shared with the children at the
academy and rewards that promote positive attendance will be issued and celebrated.

The academy will only authorise the first two absences for each child during the academic
year – any further absences will require medical evidence for the academy to authorise. This
could be labelled medication, evidence of a GP appointment or a photo of a prescription for
example. If your child was persistently absent in the previous academic year, every absence
will require supporting evidence.

If your child’s level of attendance meets our levels of concern as detailed in the table below,
the academy will begin their intervention process.
Monitoring Period Procedures Triggers:
End of Autumn 2 – 4 days of absence
End of Spring 1 – 6 days of absence
End of Spring 2 – 9 days of absence
End of Summer 1 – 12 days of absence
End of Summer 2 – 15 days of absence

Listen and Understand:

Initially, the academy will complete a phone call with parents or carers to inform them of
our concerns regarding their child’s attendance. The academy will discuss with the parent
the reasons for absence during this academic year and explore voluntary support options

Facilitate Support:
If there has not been any improvements in the children’s attendance over the academy’s
monitoring period, an informal meeting will be arranged. This provides the academy with
another opportunity to help parents or carers to access supporting services of their own
accord and/or to create a voluntary whole school family plan to tackle the barriers to
attendance. At this meeting, the EHC Mapping Document will be written and next steps and
the review process will be explained.

Formalise Support:
Where absence persists and voluntary support is not working or being engaged with, the
academy will arrange a School Attendance Panel Meeting. This will be attended by a
member of the academy’s Senior Leadership Team, Safeguarding Team and an Attendance
and Inclusion Officer will also be invited from the Local Authority. Partners will work together
to explain the consequences of continued poor attendance clearly and ensure support is also
in place to enable families to respond. Depending on the circumstances, this may be
formalised support through a parenting contract or an education supervision order.

Where all avenues have been exhausted and support is not working or not being engaged
with, attendance will be enforced through statutory intervention or prosecution to protect
the pupil’s right to an education.