Children of compulsory school age have the right to an efficient full-time education, regardless of age, aptitude, ability and any special needs he or she may have. Regular school attendance is essential if a child is to make the most of the educational opportunity available to them. St. Mary’s Catholic Primary takes its responsibility to monitor and promote the regular attendance of all its pupils very seriously. St. Mary’s acknowledges that irregular attendance seriously disrupts the continuity of learning, undermines educational progress, can lead to underachievement and low attainment and impedes the child’s ability to develop friendship groups within school. 

Parents have a legal responsibility to ensuring that their children attend school regularly and punctually  Parents should also make sure that their children are in full and smart school uniform, have the right equipment with them and are ready to learn.  Please note that parents may be prosecuted if a child does not attend school regularly and punctually.

What is expected from our parents and carers:

  • To keep absence requests for their child to a minimum, and only apply in exceptional circumstances e.g. family bereavement, religious ceremony etc;
  • To offer a reason for any period of absence, preferably before the absence or on the first day of absence;
  • To ensure that their child arrives at school on time, in full and and smart school uniform, with the right equipment and are ready to learn. A reason must be given for any lateness;
  • To work closely with the school and Education Welfare Officer (EWO) to resolve any problems that may impede a child’s attendance;
  • To take family holidays during school holiday periods and be aware that requests for holidays during term time will be refused except in very exceptional circumstances;
  • To be aware of curriculum requirements and be especial vigilant with regards to attendance during important academic times such as test periods in April/May in KS1/KS2 and during September when the children are settling into the new academic year;
  • To support their child and recognise their successes and achievements.

The school will endeavour to provide an environment that is conducive in educating every individual pupil. School attendance will be positively supported wherever possible and the promotion of good communication and co-operation between all parties involved will be paramount. The school has a statutory responsibility to record and monitor the punctuality and attendance of pupils for both the morning and afternoon sessions. A register of attendance is taken twice a day; at the start of the morning session and at the start of the afternoon session. The register has to record whether a pupil is present, engaged in an approved educational activity off-site or absent. If a pupil is absent, the register must record whether the absence was authorised or unauthorised.

What is expected of the School:

  • To create a school ethos that every pupil wants to be a part of;
  • To meet the legal requirements set out by Government;
  • To give a high priority to punctuality and attendance;
  • To develop procedures that enable the school to identify, follow up and record unauthorised absence, patterns of absence and parent condoned absence with effective monitoring and intervention;
  • To consistently record authorised and unauthorised absences within the most recent attendance guidance;
  • To develop a range of effective strategies to follow up intermittent and long term absenteeism and promote good attendance;
  • To encourage open communication channels between home and school;
  • To develop procedures for the reintegration of long-term absentees;
  • To develop procedures leading to a formal referral to the EWO;
  • To adequately provide for pupils with difficulties within the bounds of resources available, and ensure the appropriate delivery of the curriculum.

The Local Authority has a responsibility to provide education and promote regular attendance of all statutory school age children. Through the Education Welfare Service (EWS) the Local Authority provides support to schools and parents to fulfil their legal duty. The EWS is the enforcement agency of the LEA and as well as providing guidance and support, officers may take a parent to court for not fulfilling their duty under section 444 of the Education act 1996. The court may fine the parent and put in place a School Attendance Order (SAO), an Education Supervision Order (ESO) or a Parenting Order. 

School Procedures for Recording and Monitoring Attendance Recording

The class teacher will take a register recording who is present and absent from school at 8.45am. Any late pupils will then enter the school through the main entrance. When a pupil arrives to school late the office staff will ask the parent to sign a late book. This records the name, class, time and reason for lateness. If a child arrives unaccompanied by a parent, office staff will complete the late book asking the pupil to offer a reason. All staff need to be aware that any child arriving late MUST register at the office for purposes of fire regulations.

The register officially closes at 9.00am and any pupil arriving after this will be marked absent for the session. A reason for the lateness will need to be provided and a decision made by the school to mark it as an authorised or unauthorised absence.

During the morning the absences from that morning and the previous afternoon will be recorded onto the electronic registration system and all the present pupils marked present. Reasons for absence may be offered verbally by phone but must be followed by a letter on the child’s return to school. The school may then decide if it wishes to authorise the absence or record it as an unauthorised absence. This decision will be made within the guidance set out in the 1996 Education act, subsequent legalities which identifies the following reasons as acceptable reasons for an authorised absence.

  • The child is ill or is prevented from attending due to an unavoidable situation;
  • The child is absent due to taking part in a religious observance connected to their particular faith;
  • The child is absent ‘with leave’. This refers to leave which has been granted by the Headteacher.

Parents of pupils who have been absent from school and this absence has been recorded by the school as unauthorised for the total of 5 days or more (10 sessions), can be issued with a penalty notice (please note that half a school day is classed as 1 session absence).

Parents must always provide the school with information regarding a child’s absence. The school will follow up on situations where parents have not provided a suitable explanation.