Absence & Illness

The Attendance Team

Attendance Manager - Kelly McCarthy


01732 353544 Ext. 244)


Assistant Attendance Manager /Parent Support Advisor - Kathryn Clarke


01732 353544

If your child is absent, contact us every morning by 8-00 am in the following ways:


Telephone – 01732 778600 (new direct line)

EMAIL – admin@tonbridgefederation.co.uk

PS Engage

The school has an automated messaging system which will inform you if your child is absent from the school and you have not informed us of this.


Please make sure you contact the school when receiving this message to let us know the reason why your child is not present.


Please note that parental replies are free of charge.

The school is open from 8:00 am and students should not be onsite before this. Staff supervision starts at 8:20 am and students arriving on site before this time will be unsupervised.

Your child should be on school site by 8:20 am ready for lessons starting at 8:30 am.

If you drop or collect your child by car at the start or end of the school day, please do not come onto the school site and stay away from the school entrance to avoid congestion.

Research has proven that students who do not regularly attend school do not achieve as well as they could. The law also requires all parents to ensure their child regularly attends school. The school deems that regular attendance should be 100%.

In the case of notification by telephone, a supporting letter signed by the parent/guardian should be sent to your child’s Advisor. This is a reliable way of ensuring the absence is genuine.


In cases where absences remain unexplained, parents will be contacted by phone, letter or may receive a visit from the Education Welfare Officer.


When reporting your child's absence from school, please remember to give specific details of the illness because “poorly/unwell” is not sufficient. We may not authorise the absence if this is regularly used. 

Temporary/Permanent Disability

Any permanent or temporary disability which may affect performance, e.g. participation in PE/Dance or any school activity should be notified to the School in writing without delay and supported by a doctor’s certificate.


Information of this type is kept confidential, but in the interest of the student, appropriate staff will be informed of all conditions which present hazards, however slight.


It is the responsibility of parents to ensure information that is essential to their child’s well-being is not withheld.


For all students, the school day starts BEFORE 8-30 am. Lateness to School (except for unavoidable delays on buses) will be recorded in the register and reported in students’ final references.


Students arriving late before 8.45 am should sign in at student services. After 8.45 am latecomers should report to the visitor reception.


If a student arrives late to school (without good reason), will receive a teacher signature on their Conduct Card. For repeated lateness to school or lessons, an after school detention for one hour will be issued.

For those who are persistently late (up to ten sessions) without a valid reason and contact with parents is not resulting in any improvement, the Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) will be contacted to issue parents with a fixed penalty notice (fine).

Illness During The School Day

If a student feels unwell during the day then they will be referred to a first aider. Students should not make contact with parents / carers directly when feeling unwell. The first aider will take a view on whether the student should be sent home or is well enough to return to their lesson.


No medication of any sort can be given to a student, unless it has been brought in by a parent or by a student with accompanying written parental permission. Under no circumstances can we administer any other medication other than that belonging to the student.


Parents/guardians must ensure that we have an emergency telephone number on which they, or another responsible adult, can be contacted.


The school’s medical room is intended for first aid treatment, a place to rest for a short period (not prolonged stays) or a place for students awaiting collection who have consent from the first aider to go home due to sickness.


Any accident or emergency will be dealt with by an appointed first aider in the customary way. Should it be necessary to call an ambulance, every effort will be made to contact parents immediately but, failing this, a first aider or another member of staff will normally accompany the ambulance to the hospital.

No medication will be given without the written authority of the parent/guardian. 

Students using prescribed inhalers for asthma may, of course, keep these with them. If your child needs to take medication during the day, this should be left with an appropriate member of staff in a named bag for safe keeping. All medication must come in its original packaging, with clear instructions of dose and frequency of use.

Leaving School Premises

Once they have arrived at school, no students (except those in Years 12 and 13) are permitted to leave the school site.  The only entrance into and out of the school is via the gate on White Cottage Road which for security reasons is monitored by a camera.

Any student who leaves the school site without permission will be expected to make up any lost time during an after school detention. Parents will be informed. 

If parents want their child to go home at lunchtime to eat, the student should bring in a letter to obtain a pass from the Student Support Assistant. The student must keep the pass on them at all times. Please be aware passes are only granted to students who live locally.

Family Holidays

Family holidays will not be authorised during term time unless in exceptional circumstances. Unauthorised holidays will be reported to the enforcement team at KCC and are likely to result in a parental fine.


Absence results in missed work and interruption to a child’s learning. Teachers are unable to set work to cover such absences.

Medical & Dental Appointments

Whenever possible, please try to make appointments outside of the school day. If students need to miss part of the day to attend an appointment, they will need to bring a letter to Student Services, where they will be signed out and issued with a school pass.


On return, they must report back to the visitor reception to be signed back in.

Students must not leave the school site without signing out.