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St Oswald's Catholic Primary School Attendance Policy

Our school attendance target is 97%


Attendance does become a concern if it falls below 97% and you will be contacted by school if this happens. Occasional absences do impact negatively on your child’s education and learning. Please work with us to avoid unnecessary absences.


Every week, during Celebration Assembly, the overall attendance of each year group is read out. The class with the highest percentage wins the Attendance Cup. Attendance badges are also awarded to children who have 100% attendance each term. Many children received these badges last year – well done!


 Number of children
100% Attendance in Autumn Term29
100% Attendance in Spring Term 
100% Attendance in Summer Term 
100% Attendance in Whole Year 


Reporting Absence


Please report any absence each morning. You can do so by leaving a voicemail on our dedicated absence line. You must call in each morning of any period of absence.


If your child has a medical appointment please call the school office to let us know. You will be asked to provide proof of the appointment. We understand that sometimes medical and dental appointments must take place within school hours. We ask that wherever possible, you make appointments towards the start or end of the day, or over lunchtime, to minimize disruption to the school day..

What are the risks of missing a day of school?  

Every moment in school counts, and days missed add up quickly.   

The higher a pupil’s attendance, the more they are likely to learn, and the better they are likely to perform in exams and formal assessments.  

Data from 2019 shows that 84% of Key Stage 2 pupils who had 100% attendance achieved the expected standard, compared to 40% of pupils who were persistently absent across the key stage. 


Did you know…?

90% attendance sounds good but means that your child misses on average:

  • One half day every week.
  • Nearly four weeks every school year.
  • Over one school year in a school career.

2 weeks holiday in term time every year with no other absences means that your child:

  • Can only ever achieve 95% attendance
  • Will miss about two terms in a school career

5 minutes late every day means missing about 3 days of school every year


We monitor school absence daily and work with families where the level of absence is giving cause for concern. The information within this section explains the law and how legal sanctions for irregular attendance at school are applied in our school.


What can happen if my child is absent from school on a regular basis?

Absence means:

  • Missing out on school work and it can be very hard to catch up.
  • Losing touch with friends and teaching staff.
  • Finding it more difficult to have a successful future after leaving school.
  • Having more opportunities to become involved in crime and anti-social behaviour either as victim or perpetrator.
  • If your children are registered at school, the law makes you responsible for making sure that they attend regularly.



  • Monitor attendance and will try to support pupils who may be having difficulties
  • Have to inform the Local Authority of every pupil who doesn’t attend regularly.
  • Can refer concerns about attendance to the Attendance Service at the Local Authority.


What about family holidays in term time?

Pupils don’t have the right to have time off for family holidays in term time. Schools can give permission for all, part or none of the time requested but can only give permission in exceptional circumstances.

You must apply in advance for permission to have a family holiday in term time.

If school doesn’t give permission and you go anyway, the absences will be marked as unauthorised and you may be issued with a penalty notice for each child when you return.

What legal sanctions can the school use?

The school may take legal action against you if your children do not attend regularly and the absences aren’t authorised by the school.

Penalty notice issued:

  • £60 fine if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 if paid within 22-28 days.
  • Non-payment will result in a prosecution for the original offence.


  • ‘If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence. If you are found guilty, the maximum fine is £1,000.’
  • ‘If (in the circumstances above), the parent knows the child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails to cause him to do so; the parent is guilty of an offence, unless he can prove he had reasonable justification.’
  • This is a more serious offence and a warrant can be issued to make you attend court. If you are found guilty, the maximum fine is £2,500 and/or you could be sentenced to up to 3 months in prison.

How can I help my child to get the best out of school?

  • Be aware of the impact of regular absences – missing school is missing out.
  • Build up good habits of punctuality and attendance. These start early in life, so even before your child starts school, establish good routines, such as reading before bedtime and going to bed on time.
  • Make sure your child understands the benefits of regular attendance at school.
  • If your child is off school, you must let the school know why and tell them when they can expect your child back.
  • It can be difficult, but try to make all appointments for the doctor, dentist, optician after school hours or during the school holidays where possible.
  • Don’t let your child stay off for reasons like going shopping, birthdays, minding the house, looking after brothers and sisters.
  • Avoid taking family holidays in term time.
  • Take an active interest in your child’s school work and offer support with homework.
  • Attend parents’ evenings to discuss your child’s progress.
  • Don’t let your child stay off school for a minor ailment.
  • Each school day is split into two sessions and the attendance register is taken every morning and afternoon. If your child is poorly first thing or but improves by lunchtime, send them into school for the afternoon session.
  • If your child recovers from illness before the end of the week, send them back to school even if it’s only for one day – every day counts.

What if I am worried about my child’s school attendance?

  • Talking to the school is the best place to start.
  • Don’t be afraid to get to know your child’s teachers and head teacher – sharing problems is the first step to solving them.


What if my child needs to miss school? 

Parents and carers have a legal duty to ensure your child gets a full time-education. Usually, that means going into school from the age of 5 to 16. 

There are only a small number of circumstances where missing a school day is permitted. Your child must attend every day that the school is open, unless: 

  • Your child is too ill to attend. 
  • You have asked in advance and been given permission by the school for your child to be absent on a specific day due to exceptional circumstances. 
  • Your child cannot go to school on a specific day because they are observing a religious event. 
  • Your local authority is responsible for arranging your child’s transport to school and it’s not available or has not been provided yet. 
  • Your child does not have a permanent address and you are required to travel for work. This exception only applies if your child attends their usual school or another school where you are staying as often as possible. This must be 200 half days or more a year if they are aged 6 or older.  

These are the only circumstances where schools can permit your child to be absent. 


What counts as an exceptional circumstance? 

School leaders are responsible for deciding what counts as an exceptional circumstance when it comes to a child missing school.   

They should look at each application individually, considering the specific facts and background context. If a leave of absence is granted, the school will decide how long the pupil can be away from school. 

Holidays are very rarely an acceptable reason for a school absence and are unlikely to be treated as an exceptional circumstance.  

Leave of Absence Request Form



“We walk in the footsteps of Jesus so that we may have life in all its fullness”

John 10:10

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