Term dates and attendance

Ark Helenswood follows the term calendar set by East Sussex County Council and this dictates holiday dates and lengths as well as term periods.

The school is closed for all public and bank holidays within the year. There are additional inset days when the school will be closed. The dates of these days are at the discretion of the school, so can differ between different schools.


School Term 1 Monday 3 September - Friday 19 October
School starts for Year 7 only Wednesday 5 September
School starts for all students Thursday 6 September
Autumn School Holiday Monday 22 October - Friday 26 October
School Term 2 Monday 29 October - Wednesday 19 December
Christmas School Holiday Thursday 20 December - Wednesday 2 January
School Term 3 Thursday 3 January - Friday 15 February
February School Holiday Monday 18 February - Friday 22 February
School Term 4 Monday 25 February - Friday 5 April
Spring School Holiday Monday 8 April - Monday 22 April
School Term 5 Tuesday 23 April - Friday 24 May
May School Holiday Monday 27 May - Friday 31 May
School ends for all students Friday 12 July
School Term 6 Monday 3 June - Tuesday 23 July

Due to necessary building works for the merge to Ark Alexandra Academy, school will close to students on Friday 12th July 2019.

Inset Days 2018-2019

  • Monday 3 September 2018
  • Tuesday 4 September 2018
  • Monday 26 November 2018
  • Tuesday 27 November 2018
  • Thursday 3 January 2019
  • Friday 4 January 2019
  • Friday 15 February 2019
  • Monday 11 March 2019
  • Tuesday 12 March 2019
  • Monday 24 June 2019

Student Attendance at Ark Helenswood Academy

Ark Helenswood Academy encourages students to aim for 100% attendance all year, with 96% being the minimum requirement for all students. Students are expected to attend the academy every day unless they are prevented by illness. Parents/carers should telephone the school attendance line before 09.30 on each day of their daughter’s absence, with the reason for absence and, if possible, an idea of when the daughter is likely to return to school. When your daughter returns to school please provide a note giving the reason for absence: this should be taken to the school office.

Attendance telephone line: 01424 757986

We have an updated escalation process for students who fall below 96% attendance which is:

  • Tutor Conversation to ensure the student is feeling better.
  • Head of Year Conversation if the student’s attendance keeps falling.
  • Letter send to Parents to highlight a fall in attendance.
  • Letter sent to parents inviting them in for a meeting if there is no improvement.
  • Monitoring of attendance to support the student getting back to school.

If there is no improvement during the monitoring then we will then issue a Fixed Penalty Notice in line with legal guidelines. The Academy also will refer persistently absent students to East Sussex Behaviour and Attendance Service.

Ark Helenswood Academy Attendance Policy

Student Absence During Term Time

There is no automatic right to take your child out of school during term time. From 1st September 2013, government legislation no longer allows head teachers to authorise requests for leave for children to be taken out of school unless there are considered to be exceptional circumstances.

In determining whether or not an absence in such circumstances can be authorised, it is for the Principal to determine the number of days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted. If the absence requested is not considered to be an exceptional circumstance, and you nevertheless take your child out of school, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised in line with County Council guidance.

Any absence from school will disrupt your child’s learning. You may consider some absences to be educational but your daughter will still miss out on the teaching that their classmates will receive. Students returning from an absence are unprepared for the lessons which build on the teaching they have missed. Teachers then have to give more time to help individual student catch up on missed work. This poses a potential risk of the under achievement of other students in the class. This is something we all have a responsibility to avoid.