Attendance

Regular attendance at school is crucial in raising standards of education and in ensuring every child can meet their full potential. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children who are disadvantaged by poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and their secondary school.

The Government expects Schools and Local Authorities to:

  • Reduce absence including persistent absence.
  • Ensure every pupil has access to full‐time education to which they are entitled.
  • Act early to address any patterns of absence.

The Government expects Parents to perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age who are registered at school attend early and ensure that all pupils are punctual to their lessons and attend school regularly.

(Department for Education - Advice on School Attendance (www.education.gov.uk) 2012).

What the law says about School Attendance:

By law, all children of compulsory school age (between 5 and 16) must receive a full-time education. Section 444 (1a) of the Education Act 1996 says; 'If a child of compulsory school age, who is a registered pupil at a school, fails to attend regularly, without reasonable justification, then his (her) parent is guilty of an offence and can be prosecuted.'

Children are required to attend school for 190 days (380 sessions) in any single academic year (September – July). Any exceptions to this can only be taken with the full agreement of the Principal. This policy is informed by DFE. Circular 11/91 'The Education (Pupil registration) (England) Regulations 2006' and 'Education Act 1996 section 444, the ‘School Attendance – Policy and Practice on Categorisation of Absence,' DFE 1994 – Paragraph 21, page 4 which reminds us that: 'Only the school, within the context of the law, can approve absence, not parents. The fact that a parent has offered a note or other notification (telephone call, written letter) in relation to a particular absence does not, by itself, oblige the school to accept it'.

There is an expectation that over the course of an academic year a child’s attendance at St Mary’s will be 97% or more.

Absence that falls below 90% is categorised by the government as persistent absence. With this in mind, the following actions will be taken:

  • When a child’s attendance falls to 95%, parents will be notified. (Nov/Autumn Term and again at Feb/Half Year).
  • When a child’s attendance reaches 93%, parents will be notified in writing that all further absences will be unauthorised unless the Principal is satisfied that the absence is absolutely genuine.

Please see our Attendance Policy for more information.

What to do if Your Child is Absent from School

Please phone by 10.00am latest on the first day of absence leaving your child's name, class and reason for absence. This needs to be done every day that your child is absent from school. These messages may be left on the school's answer phone or delivered in person, or alternatively you can send us an email.

We record all reported absences so a letter from parents is not required.

If we have not heard from a parent by 10.00am as to why their child is absent from school, we will ring all of the contact numbers registered for that child until contact is made.

Medical Appointments

We request that medical appointments be made outside of the school day.

Please send a copy of your child's medical appointment card/letter to the school office beforehand if children have to attend a medical appointment during school hours.

Please sign them in and out of school at the main office.

Leave of Absence during Term Time

Parents are requested not to take their children on holiday during term time. Holidays taken during term time are classed as unauthorised.

The school may legally authorise a request for leave where there are 'exceptional circumstances'. Please send a written request to the Governing Body who will consider the request and reply in writing so that the leave can then be authorised and taken.

The Impact of Non-Attendance

We cannot stress enough how vitally important good attendance is in ensuring your child makes good progress. If they are regularly late or missing days on a regular basis, this leads to the child falling behind in their learning.

Days of Education Attendance Status Notes
190 school days 100% Good Gives your child the best chance of success and gets them off to a flying start.
180 school days = 10 days absence 95% Good Gives your child the best chance of success and gets them off to a flying start.
171 school days = 19 days absence 90% Worrying Less chance of success. Makes it harder to make progress.
161 school days = 29 days absence (half a term missed) 85% Persistent absentee. Serious concern. Not fair on your child. Their learning and progress is seriously affected. Could lead to court action.
152 school days = 38 days absence 80% Persistent absentee. Serious concern. Not fair on your child. Their learning and progress is seriously affected. Could lead to court action.
143 school days = 47 days absence 75% Persistent absentee. Serious concern. Not fair on your child. Their learning and progress is seriously affected. Could lead to court action.
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