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We believe that all parents want the best for their children and having a good education is important to ensuring that they have the best opportunities in life. We understand that all children get sick from time to time, and are always here to support you with the school attendance of your child.




Our Statement on Attendance

At St Mary’s, we aim to create a safe, happy and inclusive environment, in keeping with our whole school vision of “Do everything in Love” (1 Cor 16:14).  We demonstrate this through: loving ourselves, others and the world. We believe that in order for children to achieve their full potential, they must attend school every day. In order to facilitate this, we recognise the impact that our work in other areas – such as an interesting curriculum, positive relationships with pupils and families & an inclusive environment, alongside the use of resources such as pupil premium – can have on improving attendance.

We are committed to:

  • Promoting and modelling high attendance and its benefits
  • Ensuring inclusivity, equality and fairness for all.
  • Ensuring this approach is clear and easily understood by staff, pupils and parents.
  • Intervening early, building positive relationships with families to overcome barriers.
  • Working collaboratively with other agencies and schools in the area
  • Ensuring the framework set in section 7 of the Education Act 1996, is adhered to by all parents.
  • Regularly monitoring and analysing attendance data to identify pupils or cohorts that may require more support.

What to do if your child is going to be absent from school

  • Please contact the school (01536 485500) every day when your child is absent, providing the school with a reason and estimated time/date of return.
  • The school adheres to NHS guidance on infection control and will send a child home if a child is deemed an infection risk. The guidance includes the 48-hour rule for diarrhoea and vomiting, in which a child will not be able to be on site for 48 hours following their last movement.
  • Parents/Carers will be asked to complete an absence request form for any upcoming absence they are aware their child will have from school, such as medical appointments - you can find a downloadable pdf below.
  • Please be aware that any holiday taken in term time will be recorded as unauthorised absence. 
  • Should a child become unwell at school, they may be sent home.

Important attendance contacts at school

  • School Office - 01536 485500
  • Head Teacher - Diane Wright (please contact via the school office)
  • School attendance officer - Hannah Starkey (please contact via the school office)
  • School parental lead - Ben Collins (please contact via the school office)

Attendance information and support

We all want the best for our children and having a good education is really important. A child’s future will be affected if they do not attend school regularly (over 95% of the time).

Every School Day Counts

100% attendance = Coming to school every day

90% attendance = 4 weeks of education lost per year

80% attendance = Over 1/2 a term of education lost per year

70% attendance = More than 1/4 of education lost per year

An average of 90% attendance over a child’s educational career = 1 whole year of education lost

5 minutes late every day = 3 full school days lost per year

15 minutes late each day = 2 full school weeks a year lost per year

Children who don’t attend school over 95% of the time:

Struggle to keep up with work
Struggle to make friends
Present with low self-esteem and less confidence
Have less than 65% chance of achieving in their learning
Struggle to go on and achieve at Secondary School and University

What does the law say

Children aged between 5 - 16 MUST receive full-time education
Parents are responsible for making sure their child attends education
Parents who do not do this are committing a CRIMINAL OFFENCE
Schools are responsible for managing student attendance and reporting poor attendance to the Local Authority (L.A.)
The L.A. can take legal action against any parent whose child does not attend school regularly
Parents can be fined, imprisoned or be imposed with a Parenting Order
The L.A. will also fine parents who choose to take their child out of School for a FAMILY HOLIDAY (over 5 days) during term time

Types of absence

Unauthorised absence — when children miss school without permission, for example a birthday treat, a day trip, over-sleeping, taking a long weekend or shopping.

Authorised absence — only the headteacher can authorise absences. You must apply for permission every time and they may also request further evidence to support the reasons. The school should inform you of their procedure. If your child is too ill to attend, you should inform the school and give them an idea of when they will return. It’s important to stay in touch with the school about longer term illness so that they can work with you to minimise disruption to your child’s learning.

Supporting good attendance

If your child is anxious or worried about going to school, ask the school for help, we will support you.

Book all appointments and take holidays outside of learning time
Make sure that your child arrives on time
If your child is unhappy at school, tell us straight away
Tell us if your child has a medical issue
Tell us if there are any difficult family circumstances
Take an interest in your child’s education, ask them about their day and encourage their achievements at School.

School refusal

School refusal is often known as school phobia. For many children it’s a temporary state, but for some families it is more serious.  Talk to school as soon as you are worried. Sometimes children do not behave at home and school in the same way. See if the teachers have noticed changes in mood or behaviour. Perhaps something has happened at school or there could be something bubbling under the surface that you are not aware of. Don’t jump to conclusions – you may think you know what the problem is but you need to talk to your child and their teacher. Try not to interrogate or blame and don’t rush into decisions. Work together with the school and once you have come up with a plan, stick to it for at least half a term. It’s important to have this consistency to increase your child’s sense of security and give them a routine. It also gives everyone the chance to evaluate the success of the strategy.  Remember that we are always here to help.



Is my child too ill for school?

Find out when it's best to keep your sick child at home and when it's OK to send them to school or nursery.