Attendance and Punctuality at St Mary's

Our school aims to meet its obligations with regards to school attendance by:

 · Promoting good attendance and reducing absence, including persistent absence

 · Ensuring every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled

 · Acting early to address patterns of absence

We will also support parents to perform their legal duty to ensure their children of compulsory school age attend regularly, and will promote and support punctuality in attending lessons.

Every child should aim to achieve an overall attendance of 97%+ each academic year.  Studies have shown that poor attendance is linked to poor attainment.  At St Mary’s we want all our children to Enjoy and Achieve.

It is a parents’ legal responsibility to ensure the regular full-time attendance of their children.  Miss Meah is the Attendance Officer for school working in conjunction with Mr C Aspin from the Education and Attendance Service.

Click to Download Attendance Letter 2022-2023 [pdf 181KB] Click to Download
Click to Download Attendance Policy November 2022 [pdf 231KB] Click to Download
Click to Download Educational Neglect Policy June 2020 [pdf 227KB] Click to Download

School Opening Times from Monday 9th January 2023

The Department for Education has announced that by September 2023, all mainstream schools will be expected to provide a compulsory week of at least 32.5 hours. This is part of Government plans to ensure that children and young people can fulfil their full potential in the classroom. Full details can be found at:-


The 32.5 hour minimum expectation includes the time in each day from the official start of

the school day (i.e. morning registration) to the official end to the compulsory school day

(i.e. official home time). The 32.5 hour minimum includes breaks and lunch times, as well as

teaching time and any extra-curricular activities that all pupils are expected to attend. It

does not include any optional before or after school provision.


The changes at St Mary’s are minimal and will be as follows:-



Start - 8.55am

Collection – Between 3.00pm and 3.15pm



8.50am – 3.20pm


Key Stage 1

8.50am – 3.20pm


Key Stage 2

8.45am – 3.15pm


These changes will come into effect from Monday, 9th January 2023.

Click to Download Length of School Week Letter November 2022 [pdf 215KB] Click to Download

School Opening Times

Children arriving after theses time will have to sign in using the Inventry System in the main reception and will receive a late mark (‘L’ Code).  Children arriving 30 minutes late will receive an unauthorised mark for the morning session (‘U’ Code). If children are 5 minutes late every day that adds up to over 3 days lost each year. 15 minutes late is the same as being absent for 2 weeks a year.



If your child is 20 minutes late a day they lose:


1 hour 40 minutes

6 hours 40

10 hours a half

20 hours a term

65 hours a school

a week

minutes a










This is

This is

This is

This is equivalent


equivalent to

equivalent to

equivalent to 4

to 13 full days


over 1 full

over 2 full

full days








All absences must be reported by 9.30am on the first day of absence.  If we receive no contact from yourself, we will endeavour to contact you via the school texting system or telephone you direct.  If we are unable to make contact with you by telephone, a letter informing you of the absence will be sent out and a reply slip included for you to complete and return to school.  Consequently, all absences without reason will be marked as unauthorised on your child’s attendance record.  School and the School Health Advisor are able to offer advice and/or leaflets on exclusions due to illness e.g:

1.         Chicken pox (child can return once the spots are healed over)

2.         Diarrhoea and Vomiting (24/48 hours after last episode)

3.         Coughs and colds (no absence required)

4.         Head lice (no exclusion, treatment should be completed without absence


Furthermore, if your child is absent for two or more days there may be occasions when school requires parents to provide proof of illness; this can be in the form of a doctor’s letter, copy of prescription and or medication, which clearly show the dates corresponding with the absence.  Certain circumstances may result in a home visit; where possible we will contact you prior to this to agree a convenient time.

Please ensure that school has your most up to date contact details; home address, current mobile number and Email address.


Pupils are required to attend school for 190 days each year


Schools absences and attendance figures:



Final Attendance for the year

Equal to days absent

Equal to weeks absent


9 days

2 weeks


19 days

4 weeks


29 days

6 weeks


38 days

8 weeks


48 days

10 weeks


57 days

11.5 weeks


67 days

13.5 weeks


Where possible, please make medical appointments outside of school hours.  However, we understand at times this is sometimes difficult, on these occasions please provide school with a medical card or letter. A medical appointment DOES reduce your child’s percentage attendance. 

Please also be aware we are not able to authorise siblings being taken out of school when they do not have an appointment.  These absences will be unauthorised.

Other Absenses

Children are required to attend school every day.  Please be aware that absences for ‘snow’ ‘rain’ or ‘extreme cold weather’ days do affect your child’s overall attendance if they do not attend and if school make the decision to remain open during adverse weather conditions, absences will be unauthorised.

Sporting Activities

School acknowledge that there are occasions when children will be required to attend sporting tournaments, competitions or sporting exams during term time. Proof of this must be provided to school. School are unable to authorise competitions that are held over the weekend but where parents choose to travel to the venue on a school day. 

Acting/ Modelling Applications

Whilst school supports extra-curricular activities, children who are required to attend auditions, assignments or productions during the school day, must put their application in writing to school, allowing at least one school week for the request to be processed.  Each individual application will be considered.  Governors agreed that a maximum of 5 days per term may be granted, taking in to account; any attendance concerns, the impact on the child’s academic progress and any events occurring at the time of the request.

Religious Observance

School encourage and support our children and their families to celebrate religious events, however children are expected to be in school every day leading up to religious festivals and back in school immediately after.  If parents keep their children off school for longer than is entitled these days will not be authorised.  School will only authorise the date of the festival, a maximum of 2 days per academic year.

Holidays in Term Time

Holidays in term time are not authorised and may result in a Penalty Notice being issued.
Holidays MUST NOT be booked prior to notifying the school of your child’s intended absence. This will avoid school’s need for a home visit. A notification form is available on the school website; ‘School life’ then ‘Attendance’.
The amendment to regulations is still in place making it clear that the Head Teacher ‘may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.’ This includes visits to countries of origin. Penalty notices will be requested by school.
If more than one holiday is taken during the academic year and a Penalty Notice has been previously requested and has been satisfied, school will notify the Local Authority.  This may result in the parent/carers being prosecuted direct through the courts.
Research shows that a break of one week or more from school can often lead to children falling behind in their work and that some children never catch up.

Penalty Notices

School may at times request that a Penalty Notice, through the Education Attendance Service, is issued to a parent/carer, this will only be used when parent/carers have been informed of our concerns, offered support but do not work with us and/or show continued and sustained improvement.  Penalty Notices will be requested for the following reasons;

1.         Persistent unauthorised late arrival to school

2.         Unauthorised absences were no reasons have been provided by the parent/carer or the reason is not accepted by school

3.         Holidays during term time

Parents must from the 1st September 2013, pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days, this is per parent, per child’.

Fast Track to Attendance

Fast Track to Attendance is a time focused approach to improve attendance.  The aim of Fast Track is to promote early intervention by school and where necessary by the Local Authority.  The aim is to ensure that rapid and appropriate action is taken to tackle absence problems as soon as they become apparent.  Failure to make and sustain changes will result in the Local Authority prosecuting through the courts.

Children Missing Education

At St Mary’s RC Primary, we believe all children, regardless of their circumstances or background are entitled to a full time education which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs.

Pupil absence will be followed up on a daily basis as a matter of priority.  Every child who has a continuous period of absence of three days or more will be required to provide proof of absence; home visits will also be undertaken.

School will follow the Education Attendance Service process when a child has been absent for three or more days without reason, contact will initially be via telephone, followed by a home visit and a letter.  If after 10 school days no contact has been made, school will complete the Child Missing Education (CME) form and forward the schools investigation to the Local Authority, who will then follow their procedures. After a period of 20 days and on completion of all safeguarding checks, a child will be removed from school roll.

School follow Department for Education Statutory guidance, which can be found on the link below:

Educational Neglect

School have adopted the Local Authority ‘Educational Neglect Policy.  This policy links the effects of poor attendance to educational neglect and means that for those children whose attendance is particularly poor, a referral to children’s social care may be made.


Weekly celebration assemblies are held; an attendance trophy is awarded to the class with the highest attendance. If a class achieves 100% they are rewarded with an ‘Own Clothes Day’.

Children with 100% attendance during a term receive a certificate.

Children are rewarded for whole year attendance at the end of the summer term.  Children will receive a certificate; these differ dependent on percentage attendance achieved; Gold, Silver and Bronze award.  Each child will then be placed in to a draw and have the opportunity to win a Family Ticket to the cinema.