St Mary'sCatholic Primary School

‘Dat deus incrementum’

‘God gives us Growth’

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Attendance Policy


The governors and staff of St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School believe that every day

and every lesson counts; good attendance at school is fundamental a to a child

achieving their potential academically, socially, and in instilling appropriate attitudes

and habits in preparation for later life and the working world. Parents have a legal

duty to ensure the regular, full time attendance at school of registered pupils.


To maintain an attendance rate of a minimum of 95%

To ensure that parents and children are aware of the importance of regular

attendance and punctuality

To ensure that parents are aware of the possible consequences of poor

attendance or punctuality

To ensure that parents know how the ‘attendance process’ works.


Parents will be provided with an information leaflet on the importance of


Parents will be asked to:

– ring school on the first morning of absence giving a reason for non


– send in a note explaining the reason for absence on return to school

– keep the school updated if their child has an extended period of


The school will:

- follow up an unexplained absence by letter as soon as possible

- Phone on the first day of absence, the parents of a child whose

attendance is low and is being tracked

- Let the parents know if it has concerns regarding their child’s

attendance or punctuality

- make a referral to the Attendance Legal Team(ALP) if concerns

regarding a child’s attendance or punctuality continue.


Authorised Absence

Some absences are allowed by law and are known as “authorised absences”. For

example: if a child is ill, has a family bereavement, or making a religious observance.

The governors realise that there are rare occasions when there might be a particular

problem that causes a child to be absent. Parents are asked to contact the school in

these circumstances and the school shall try to deal with the situation sympathetically.


Unauthorised Absence

When a child is absent for reasons, which are not permitted by law, these will be

marked as “unauthorised absences”. Examples of unauthorised absence are:

Treating a child for headlice

Going for a family day out

Going shopping

Because it is the child’s birthday

Sleeping in after a late night

Unapproved Holidays

Where there is no explanation for the absence or where the explanation or

reason for the absence is considered unsatisfactory.


It is important to be on time as the first few minutes of the school day are often

used to give out instructions or organise schoolwork for the rest of the day.

Lessons begin very quickly, usually by about 8:55 at the latest. Late arrivals are

disruptive to the whole class and often embarrassing for the child.

Morning bell is at 8.45am. Children should be in the playground ready to line

up at 8:45

Registers close at 8:55 and a child arriving after this time will be marked as


Arrival after 9:15 may be marked as an unauthorised (morning) absence in line

with DfE guidance.

Term Time Leave of Absence

There is no entitlement to time off in term time. Each application for leave of

absence will be considered individually. The head teacher will take into account

circumstances such as: the nature of the event for which leave is sought; the frequency

of the request; whether or not the request could be taken during the normal school

holidays; the pupils attainment, attendance and ability to catch up on missed

schooling. The decision to approve / not approve will be made in accordance with LA

Policy and DfE guidance:

Leave of absence may not be granted during term time unless there are

exceptional circumstances.

The nature of the words ‘exceptional circumstance’ are such that they

indicate unusual events or an abnormal occurrence.

It will be extremely rare for leave of absence for a holiday in term time to be


Cost, experiences for the child, weather or overlapping with school holidays are

not factors on which a leave of absence can be approved.

The decision to approve the leave should be made without consideration for

leave taken for employment.

Parents wishing to apply for leave of absence during term-time need to fill in

an application form (available from the school office) well in advance and

before booking. The head teacher will consider the request and advise of her


If a leave of absence is not approved, and the child is still taken out of school,

the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.

Statement from Hampshire County Council

In response to the changes in school attendance law, Hampshire County Council has

reviewed its ‘Code of Conduct’. This code sets out for all schools what actions must

be taken for any child with 10 or more sessions (5 days) of unauthorised absence from

September 2015. We are clear in our code of conduct that where a child or family

requires support to achieve attendance rates above 90%, that this is the first priority

for schools. We are also clear that where parent/carers choose to ignore the law and

are complicit in their child’s absence, then all schools with the Local Authority must

take legal action through a penalty notice fine or prosecution in court.

From September 2015 all schools will be required to work with Hampshire

County Council to take legal action if:

A child has unauthorised absence for 10 or more sessions.

A child is continually late to school and this lateness is unauthorised for 10 or

more sessions.

A child has any unauthorised absence during any formal examinations,

assessment or testing.

Please note each parent/carer can be issued a separate penalty notice for each child.

Further advice and guidance for parent/carers with respect to this will be available

from September via the county website:




Last Review 9.3.18

Term of Review 3 Years

Next Review Spring 2021

Advice on when children should not attend school due to sickness

HCC Good Attendance Guide