Gillas Lane Primary Academy and Nursery, Seaton Avenue, Houghton Le Spring, Sunderland, DH5 8EH

0191 500 5956

Gillas Lane Primary Academy and Nursery

Proud to be part of Aim High Academy Trust

Attendance and Punctuality

At Gillas Lane, we are committed to every child reaching their full potential and therefore we follow all guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) with regard to school attendance. We have a Trust Attendance Team and also work closely with the Local Authority Attendance Officer to ensure we are doing all we can to help all children to benefit from their education as fully as possible. We also recognise that attendance is a key part of our commitment to safeguarding and child protection.

Attendance and punctuality data is shared with parents and carers at termly Parent Consultations and in the annual written report in July. 

Gillas Lane’s opening and closing times are 8:45am to 3:15pm. This is a total of 32 hours and 30 minutes per week.


Is my child too ill for school?

It can be tricky deciding whether or not to keep your child off school or nursery when they are unwell. Please follow this link for advice from the NHS:


Benefits of good attendance and punctuality

Regular attendance and punctuality are important if children are to take part fully in the life of the school and take advantage of the learning opportunities on offer. We recognise that attending school regularly and being here on time is vital to the educational process and encourages a good pattern of work.

Good attendance is important because:

  • Statistics show a direct link between under-achievement and poor attendance
  • Regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically
  • Regular attenders find school routines and work easier to adapt to and manage
  • Regular attenders find learning more satisfying
  • Regular attenders have an easier transfer to each new key stage and secondary school


We ask parents and carers to:

  • Ensure their child/children attends school regularly and on time.
  • Phone the school on the first day of non-attendance by 8:30am. If there is no answer, please leave a voicemail or send a message on Class Dojo to Miss Todd in the school office. It is important that you provide details of your child’s illness.
  • Contact school on each subsequent day of non-attendance.
  • Avoid making medical and dental appointments during school hours where possible. 
  • Not book holidays, trips or events during term time.
  • Work with the school to meet any attendance targets that are set to help improve attendance.



Being late for school causes disruption to your child’s learning and the other children in the class. It is of extreme importance therefore that all children arrive at school on time.

We have adopted a soft start approach to the start of the day and children are able to come into the classroom anytime from 8:45am to 9am. We also have a Breakfast Club that can help support with attendance and punctuality. Breakfast Club opens at 8am and is 50p per day, payable online. Please book your child's place by sending a message on Class Dojo to Mrs Burnhope.

If a child arrives after 9am:

This will be recorded as a late arrival.

The child’s name, class and time of arrival including the number of minutes late will be recorded by the office. 


Addressing punctuality concerns

If a child starts to develop a regular pattern of lateness, the school office will alert the Attendance Team to see if there are any issues which school can support with.


Term Time Leave

We would ask you to seriously consider taking your child out of school during term time. Term time leave may only be authorised at the discretion of the Headteacher in exceptional circumstances. Term time leave request forms are available from the school office and are filled in with a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

Attendance Incentives

Over the year, we run regular attendance incentives. If your child has been poorly and misses one of these incentives, don't worry - they run each half term so they have regular opportunities to take part. For a very small number of our children, medical issues may mean that they struggle to meet the threshold for these incentives; if this affects your child, please speak to Mrs Monaghan and school can work with you to reach a solution.

Incentives include:

  • Weekly attendance announced in Golden Book - the class with the best attendance gets a trophy and an extra breaktime
  • Half termly certificates
  • Sticky Bun Run - in the Summer Term, children with 98%+ attendance get a delicious treat from Greggs!
  • Christmas Party Day is always the last day of the Autumn Term to encourage good attendance even in the run up to a holiday
  • The last week of each half term is when we arrange all of our trips and treats to encourage good attendance as our data analysis shows that this is the time attendance can drop off
  • Friday is our Golden Book Assembly and celebration day (it's also chocolate toast day in Breakfast Club!) - this is scheduled for a Friday to encourage good attendance as our data analysis shows that attendance can dip on a Friday

School Avoidance

Statistics from the Children’s Commissioner found that in the 2022/23 academic year, 22.3% of all pupils were persistently absent – a significant increase from 2018/19, when that figure was 10.9%. This lost time can have a notable impact on children’s development, learning and overall wellbeing.

The specific reasons for school avoidance are sometimes hard to pin down – and it can be even harder to know how best to help absent children return to education. Take a look at this school avoidance guide; it breaks down some of the causes and effects of school avoidance and provides advice on how parents and school can work together to help young people triumph over this potentially damaging cycle.