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St Mary of Charity Primary School Empowered to succeed


Attendance Policy

St. Mary of Charity

Church of England Primary School


Attendance Policy




Through our strong Christian values and faith in God, we will strive for:


Happy, confident individuals who are secure in who they are

Successful, determined and imaginative learners

Moral, tolerant and responsible citizens who respect diversity


“Empowered to Succeed”




At St Mary of Charity Church of England Primary School we demonstrate the values of Honesty, Aspiration, Determination, Faith, Respect, Independence and Forgiveness.




The first priority of a school is to ensure that all children reach their full potential. In order to do this it is important that all children are in school and on time every day. Poor attendance and lateness impacts on the learning of the whole class as staff have to stop teaching in order to incorporate a late child or recap the previous days learning, thus taking them away from their current focus group.


The Government target for schools attendance is 95%. We set our school target so that we aim to exceed national averages as we believe if we are to raise standards effectively children must be in school regularly.


This policy is written in line with Local Authority Attendance Guidance.


Promoting and Celebrating Good Attendance


As a school we believe in celebrating achievements in all areas of school life. We have set up a system which rewards good attendance and punctuality:


The class with the best attendance for the week will be recognised and rewarded in our Celebration assembly on a Friday afternoon and will earn an extra playtime the following week.


The class with the best attendance at the end of each term will be rewarded.


Each child achieving 100% attendance will win a certificate and a pencil at the end of term 2.

Each child achieving 100% attendance will win a certificate and a polo shirt at the end of term 4.

Each child achieving 100% attendance will win a certificate and a hoodie at the end of term 6.


There are occasions when a child needs to be supported individually with arriving on time or being in school regularly. At these times an award chart is used and after an agreed time if targets are met this will be celebrated in Celebration Assembly on a Friday afternoon. There are also times when the school may need to address a dip in whole school attendance. At times like this, the school may engage in a whole school project such as: Project 95.


Procedures for when a child is absent from school


From time to time all children are ill and it is necessary for them to be absent from school. It is the parents’ responsibility to provide evidence of the child’s illness.


On these occasions we expect parents to:


  • Telephone the school by 10am to notify us of the absence.

  • Send a letter giving a reason for the absence or complete an absence form at the office on the child’s return to school.

  • Provide evidence of a prescription or appointment letter/card when requested.

  • Children with attendance below 90% MUST provide medical evidence for absence


    As a school we will:


  • Operate a ‘First Day Calling’ System if we have not heard from parents

  • Ring to find an expected ‘date of return’ if the absence continues beyond 3 days.

  • Keep parents informed about their child’s attendance and share any concerns in writing.



    Absence From School For Medical Appointments


    We believe that for routine medical and dental appointments every effort should be made to make them for after school or in the school holidays. If they have to attend during the school day they should be at the end allowing for early collection of no more than 30 minutes.


    We recognise some hospital/dental treatment appointments have to be during the school day especially if it is part of an ongoing treatment programme. If this is the case please bring the appointment card into school before the appointment so it can be copied and included as a letter explaining the absence.


    Authorised and Unauthorised Absence


    Section 444 (1) of the 1996 Education Act clearly states If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, the parents are guilty of an offence.


    In law there are only four statutory defences for a child’s absence:


  • The school have granted leave
  • The child was unable to attend due to sickness or any unavoidable cause
  • Any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the parents belong
  • The school that the child is registered to is not within walking distance of the child’s home and that no suitable arrangements have been made by the local authority for transport to and from school.


Due to Government guidelines holidays can no longer be authorised at any time of the year. Holidays during term time could result in the issue of a penalty notice.


Authorisation of Absence


The authorisation of absence from school is at the discretion of the Head Teacher. Absence is only authorised in specific circumstances e.g. illness or on compassionate grounds. No absence is automatically authorised because a telephone call and note has been received.




At St. Mary of Charity we monitor the attendance on a weekly basis and work closely with the SLO to support good attendance. In certain circumstances where absence and lateness persist it may become necessary to involve the SLO to support parents and children to improve attendance.


As part of the referral process as a school we will:

  • Write to parents to inform them that attendance has dropped below 95%

  • Arrange a meeting with the PSA to discuss the situation and put in support as appropriate.

  • Arrange a meeting to discuss the issue with the PSA, and parents if there is no improvement in attendance or lateness following the letter.

  • Refer families to the SLO or Early Help if the lateness or poor attendance continues


    We will expect parents to:

  • Make every reasonable effort to improve their child’s attendance and lateness

  • Attend meetings arranged with the SLO/Early Help Team


    Penalty Notices


    The Governors have taken the decision that if lateness and poor attendance continue and in discussion with the SLO the school will issue Penalty Notices. (see LA guidance)




    These guidelines and procedures are reviewed on an ongoing basis by the Senior Leadership team and any changes will be made as appropriate, particularly regarding any changes made by the DfE, or Aquila The Diocese of Canterbury Multi Academy Trust.