Mrs Susan King with students

Mrs Susan King

“Children who miss out, miss out as adults” - Department for Education

At Bristol Free School we consider student happiness, progress and achievement to be very important; good attendance is an excellent indicator of how well your child is coping with school-life. We would, therefore, appreciate your help in ensuring that your child attends school every day unless they are unwell.

Good attendance is important for a child to develop their social skills, by making positive bonds with their peers and their teachers. It ensures that their academic progress is not disrupted, thus maximising their future potential.

We monitor attendance and punctuality very closely and review attendance levels with your child during tutor time. High attendance and improvements in attendance levels are celebrated and rewarded as a tutor group. We work in partnership with families to support attendance and punctuality concerns before they can become an established habit and impact on education.

Unbroken attendance at Bristol Free School is important for learning. However, there will be times when absence is unavoidable and acceptable. On this page you will find the information and guidance on what to do if your child needs to be absent from school. All the links and contact details can be found here. If you need to speak to anyone, please contact your child’s tutor in the first instance. Our dedicated Attendance Officer can support you with any issues, questions or difficulties you may have regarding attendance and punctuality.

Thank you for your support.

Mrs S King

How To report an Absence 

Please report absence every day that your child is not at school - even if you reported absence the previous day 

The absence line is 0117 959 7200 (select option 1) or you can use the app Studybugs 

Please leave a message by 9am each day; this is a voicemail service that is checked regularly. 

Appointments during the school day

If your child has an appointment to attend during the school day, please give at least 24 hours notice, and as much as possible in the event of an emergency appointment. 

You will need to include:

  • Child's full name
  • Child's tutor group
  • Date and time of appointment
  • Scan or photograph of proof of appointment

If you haven’t already, please get the free Studybugs app, or register on the Studybugs website, and use it to tell us whenever your child is ill and unable to attend school. 

Get the app or register now 

Top 3 reasons to use Studybugs

  1. It’s integrated with our systems so we know right away if your child is unaccounted for.
  2. It’s quick and easy to register and use and automatically reminds you to keep us posted every day.
  3. You’ll be helping the NHS and other public health organisations improve children’s health


avoidable absences and term time holidays

One of our major concerns is avoidable absences, such as term-time holidays and days off for family events.  The school does not authorise any term-time absence for holiday unless there are truly exceptional circumstances. Bristol Free School follows the guidance from Bristol City Council and issues fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for unauthorised holidays. These FPNs are issued for unauthorised holidays where more than 2.5 days are taken in one case or cumulatively over a school year. The school may also issue a FPN for patterns of irregular attendance.


Students should arrive on the school site before 8.25am and be in their tutor room at 8.30am. Students are marked late to school if they arrive after 8.30am.

If you are aware that your child will be late due to circumstances outside of their control, please use the free app Studybugs or call the student absence line 01179597200 (selecting option 1), to let the attendance office know. Students will not be penalised for lateness if there is a genuine reason, but poor punctuality can have a significant disruptive impact on a student’s learning, and we ask all parents/carers to support the school in ensuring that students arrive on time.

If a student is late to school without a valid reason, they will receive a thirty-minute late detention on the same day. In the rare instances when a student arrives late after registers close at 9.30am, this will be marked as an unauthorised absence for the whole morning session in accordance with protocols set out by the Department for Education.

If you would like to discuss your own circumstances or if you are worried about anything related to attendance or absence from school, please contact your child’s Tutor, Head of Year or the Attendance Office by emailing

Useful information

Attendance at BFS - information for parents

Government Information about school attendance