Regular school attendance is considered to be of great importance at Whitchurch. Without it all our efforts to provide a high quality education come to nothing; for if a child is not present at school they cannot learn what we have prepared for them or reach their full potential.
Absences and Illnesses

If your child is ill you should telephone the school office on 020 8951 5380 or send an email to by 9.30am. If you have not contacted the school, a member of staff will telephone you to find out where your child is. This is for your child’s safety and to ensure that we know they are safely with you, so please be understanding if you receive a call from us.

If you are not sure how long your child should be off school due to illness, please refer to our table of illnesses. For more information on an illness or condition and the latest up-to-date guidance, please visit the NHS website.

Public Health England has issued winter-readiness information for schools which you may find useful.

If your child requires medication to be administered at school, you will need to fill out a parental consent form.

Education Penalty Notice

In Law an offence occurs if a parent/carer fails to send their child to a school at which they are a registered pupil and the child’s absence is not authorised by the school. Penalty Notices supplement the existing sanctions currently available under Section 444 Education Act 1996 or Section 36 Children Act 1989 to enforce attendance at school.

Penalty Notices involves the recipient paying a fine, currently set at £60.00 if paid within 21 days or £120.00 if paid within 28 days.  Where an unauthorised absence has been dealt with by way of a Penalty Notice and it has been paid, it is not possible for a parent to be prosecuted for the same period of unauthorised absence under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 or for the same instance of an excluded child being present in a public place under Section 103 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006.

A Penalty Notice can only be issued in cases of unauthorised absence and in respect of a child who is a registered pupil at a school. Up to three penalty notices may be issued per child during each academic school year if appropriate. Penalty Notices must be issued in respect of separate periods of unauthorised absences. In cases where one penalty notice has been issued to a child in that academic year, consideration should be given to instigating the formal prosecution process before determining to issue a second or third penalty notice. 

In cases where there is more than one poorly-attending pupil in a family, a penalty notice may be issued to each parent in respect of each child.

Furthermore the Local Authority may carry out checks with other schools in the borough where there are siblings attending different schools, and if appropriate may issue a Penalty Notice in respect of each child.

Issue of Education Penalty Notice

A Penalty Notice may be issued by authorised LA staff in Harrow Council. The authorised LA in Harrow Council are: Education Service (ES) Court Attendance Officer, the School Admissions Team Manager and the Divisional Director Education Services.The Designated Attendance Officer will request for issuing of the Education Penalty Notice on behalf of the Head Teacher who has the statutory powers to issue the EPNs in accordance with Harrow’s Code of Conduct and guidance. The Local Authority will undertake the administration and issuing of EPNs once the school has made the request.

The issuing of EPNs will be considered in the following circumstances:

  • Absence from school
  • At least 20 sessions (10 school days) lost to unauthorised absence within a period of no more than 12 weeks (term time).
  • A leave of absence of at least 10 consecutive sessions (5 school days) not approved by head teacher as exceptional.
  • Lateness
  • In cases where a child persistently arrives at school after the register has closed and has received at least eight (8) unauthorised late marks within a period of ten (10) weeks (term time).
  • Where the Harrow Council’s Education Services believes that a Penalty Notice is the most appropriate way to deal with irregular school attendance as the child has attendance below 90% and at least 5% absences are unauthorised.
  • Excluded Children
  • Where a child has been excluded from school and is found in a public place during school hours without reasonable justification within the first five days of the exclusion period. Reasonable justification will be assessed on the individual circumstances of each case but may include the medical emergency of the parent or child or a pre-arranged medical appointment.