Supported by Bury Local Authority

Download: School Attendance & Late Policy

Download: Attendance leaflet


St. Joseph & St. Bede Primary School is a successful school and your son/daughter plays a vital role in making it so. We aim for an environment which enables and encourages all members of the community to reach out for excellence. School should be a happy and enjoyable experience for all students. It is a place where learning takes place, where friendships are formed and where social and educational skills are developed within a safe and secure environment.

For all children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend school regularly. Your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for absence is unavoidable.


Why Regular Attendance is so important

Pupils who fail to attend regularly experience educational and social disadvantage at school and their future life prospects can be impaired. They can also be at risk of drifting into antisocial and criminal behaviour. Pupil absence can also disrupt teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same classroom environment.

To ensure your child reaches his/her full potential it is very important that you make sure that your child attends regularly and punctually, and this policy sets out how together we will achieve this.


The Law

Parents have a legal responsibility for ensuring that their child(ren) attend school and that they arrive on time. Permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.

Where absence from school becomes a cause for concern, prosecutions under Section 444 1(A), may occur, or a Penalty Notice may be issued under the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003.


Promoting Regular School Attendance

Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility – parents, Attendance Policy 2 Reviewed 01.09.17 pupils and all members of school staff.

To help us all to focus on this we will: (Options)

  • Complete accurate attendance registers. Registers are taken twice a day, once at the beginning of the morning session and another during the afternoon;
  • Give you details on attendance at our Family Assemblies
  • Report to you at parent evenings and on the annual report on how your son/daughter is performing in school, what their attendance and punctuality rate is and how this relates to their attainments;
  • Celebrate good attendance by displaying individual and class achievements;
  • Reward good or improving attendance through class competitions, certificates and events.

Understanding types of absence:

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required, preferably in writing.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause.

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and forwhich no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings.

This includes:

  • parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • truancy before or during the school day
  • absences which have never been properly explained
  • children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
  • shopping, looking after other children or birthdays day trips and holidays in term time which have not been approved.
  • Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best resolved between the school, the parent and child. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse.

Persistent Absenteeism (PA):

A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 15% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is causing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and school need parents’ total support and co-operation to address this.

We monitor all absence thoroughly. Any case that is seen to have reached the PA mark Attendance Policy 3 Reviewed 01.09.17

(90%) or is at risk of moving towards that mark is given priority and you will be informed of this immediately.

PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully through the schools pastoral system and is also combined with academic mentoring where absence affects attainment.

All PA pupils and their parents are subject to an Action Plan and the plan may include:

allocation of additional support through our pastoral team, use of circle time, individual incentive programmes and participation in group activities around raising attendance. All PA pupils are also automatically made known to the Attendance Officer

National figures will be released reporting number of pupils who miss: 12.5%, 10% and 5% of lessons. The new threshold will be a measure of performance not a target. Ofsted will take into account the number of pupils over the ‘persistently absent’ threshold at the new level of 15% when looking at a school’s performance on attendance. The new Ofsted framework will allow for flexibility around the inspection of attendance in that the individual circumstances of pupils with good reason to be off school should not affect the final judgement.

Absence Procedures:

If your child is absent you must:

  • Contact school as soon as possible on the first day of absence;
  • Respond as soon as possible to any electronic contact made by the school;
  • Write a note in your child’s planner on the first day they return with an explanation of the absence – you must do this even if you have already telephoned the school;
  • Or, you can call into school and report to reception, who will arrange for a member of staff to speak with you.

If your child is absent we will:

  • Telephone on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you;
  • Send you letters regarding concerns about your child’s school attendance;
  • Invite you in to discuss the situation with our Attendance Officer and/or Pastoral Leaders, Deputy Headteacher if absences persist;
  • Inform you that further absences may not be authorized without medical evidence;
  • Request that a Penalty Notice be issued regarding unauthorized absence;
  • Refer the matter to the schools allocated Attendance Officer if attendance moves below 85%;
  • Invite you to attend a Governors Attendance Panel where decisions regarding legal action will be considered.
  • Attendance Policy 4 Reviewed 01.09.17


Telephone numbers:

There are times when we need to contact parents about lots of things, including absence, so we need to have your contact numbers at all times. Please help us to help you and your son/daughter by making sure we always have an up to date number – if we don’t then something important may be missed. There will be regular checks on telephone numbers throughout the year.


The School Attendance Officer (SAO formerly EWO):

Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to their Parent Support Advisor and Pastoral Teacher Assistant. They will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed and unauthorized absences persist, the SAO can use sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court. Full details of the options open to enforce attendance at school are available from the school or the Local Authority. Aalternatively, parents or children may wish to contact the SAO themselves to ask for help or information. They are independent of the school and will give impartial advice. Their telephone number is available from the school office or by contacting the Local Authority.



Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If your son/daughter misses the start of the day they can miss work and do not spend time with their class teacher getting vital information and news for the day. Late arriving pupils also disrupt lessons, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence.


How we manage lateness:

The school doors open at 8.50am and we expect your son/daughter to be in class at that time.

Registers are marked by 9:00 am and your son/daughter will receive a late mark if they are not in by that time.

Unauthorised lates from 9:15 a.m.

At 9.00 am the registers will be closed.

The afternoon registration starts at 1:15 pm and we expect your son/daughter to be in class at that time.

Registers are closed at 3.15pm.

All pupils who arrive late must sign in at the Secretary’s Office.

In accordance with the Regulations, if your son/daughter arrives after that time they will receive a mark that shows them to be on site, but this will not count as a present mark and it will mean they have an unauthorised absence. This may mean that you could face the possibility of a Penalty Notice if the problem persists.

If your child has a persistent late record you will be asked to meet with the Assistant Attendance Policy 5 Reviewed 01.09.17

Headteacher and/or Attendance Officer to resolve the problem, but you can approach us at any time if you are having problems getting your son/daughter to school on time.


Holidays in Term Time:

Taking holidays in term time will affect your son/daughter’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not taking children away in school time. Remember that any savings you think you may make by taking a holiday in school time are offset by the cost to your child’s education.

There is no automatic entitlement in law for time off in school time to go on holiday.

All applications for leave for exceptional circumstances must be made two weeks in advance and at the discretion of the school a maximum of 10 days in any academic year may be authorised. In making a decision the school will consider the circumstances of each application individually, including any previous pattern of leave in term time. It should be noted that holiday for exceptional circumstances should be granted only once during a child’s time at primary school.

Full details of our policy and procedures are available from the school, but it is important that you understand the circumstances when leave in term time will not be agreed by us:

  • When a pupil is just starting the school the school year. This is very important as your son/daughter needs to settle into their new environment as quickly as possible.
  • Immediately before and during assessment periods including (SATS) or any other public examinations.
  • When a pupil’s attendance record already includes any level of unauthorised absence.
  • Where a pupil’s attendance rate is already below (96.5%) – Please note: Autumn Term One will be based on the previous year’s attendance or will fall to or below that level as a result of taking holidays in term time.

Any period of leave taken without the agreement of the school, or in excess of that agreed, will be classed as unauthorised and may attract sanctions such as a Penalty Notice.


Religious Observance:

The school will authorise absence that is due to religious observance but the day must be:

  • exclusively set apart for the religious observance;
  • set apart by the parent’s religious body, not the parents.

The school may only allow one day of authorised absence under these circumstances. All requests for leave due to religious observance must be made in advance by parents to the Headteacher. Attendance Policy 6 Reviewed 01.09.17


School targets, projects and special initiatives:

The school has targets to improve attendance and your son/daughter has an important part to play in meeting these targets. Targets for the school and for classes are displayed in the school and you should take time to study them.

The minimum level of attendance for this school is 96.5% attendance and we will keep you updated regularly about progress to this level and how your son/daughter’s attendance compares.

Our target is always to achieve better than this, however because we know that good attendance is the key to successful schooling, we believe our pupils can be amongst the best in the borough.

Through the school year we monitor absences and punctuality to show us where improvements need to be made. Information on any projects or initiatives that will focus on these areas will be provided on our website or newsletter and we ask for your full support.

Those people responsible for attendance matters in this school are:

Mrs L. Teasdale 0161 764 3781

Ms C. Webster LA Attendance officer – Supported by Mrs. T. Beswick (Family Support