Why attendance matters

Attendance at school greatly benefits your child. Statistics show that pupils with poor attendance do less well.

Parents should ensure maximum attendance at school for their child, explaining any absence by telephoning the school on the first day of absence.

If a child is ill or attending a medical appointment, the absence will be authorised. There are very few other reasons for which absences can be authorised.

The minimum acceptable level of school attendance is 96%.

We believe as a school that identifying poor attendance and issues affecting attendance early as well as working in partnership with parents we can significantly improve attendance and prevent a child becoming a Persistent Absentee and involvement with the local authority.

Below outlines the procedure that we follow to support and improve attendance:

  • Notice to Improve Letter – sent home to indicate to parents/cares that attendance is starting to decline. This will be sent to students below 96% attendance.

  • Medical Evidence Request Letter – sent home to request medical evidence to be provided to support absence, without this future absence will be marked as unauthorised. This could be in the form of an appointment card or proof of medication given by the doctor

  • Parents/Carers to be invited to attend a school attendance panel meeting to discuss concerns and set targets to improve attendance.

  • If your child’s attendance falls to 90% or below, this is considered, by the Government, to be Persistent Absence. Where attendance falls below 90% and there are unauthorised absences a referral will be made to the Educational Welfare Officer for further intervention and enforcement action may be taken.

Punctuality Matters Too!

Being frequently late for school means lost learning:

  • Arriving 5 minutes late every day adds up to over 3 days lost each year.

  • Arriving 15 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 2 weeks a year.

  • Arriving 30 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 19 days a year.

The importance of school attendance

We want our children at St Joseph’s to enjoy coming to school. Our attendance ‘floor target’ is 96%, but we hope for 100%. Research has proven that there is a high correlation between school attendance and academic performance and success. Absence from school is often the greatest single cause of poor performance and achievement

Why is it so important to attend every day?

  • Learning is a progressive activity; each day’s lessons build upon those of the previous day(s).

  • Reading the material and completing work independently does not compensate for direct interaction with the teacher.

  • Many classes use discussions, demonstrations, experiments and participation as part of the daily learning activities, and these cannot be made up by those who are absent.

What are the risks of frequent absences?

  • A child who does not attend school regularly will be unlikely to keep up with the work.

  • The more pupils miss school, the lower their grades; the lower their grades, the less they want to stay in school.

Are there other benefits to my child?

  • Pupils with good attendance records generally achieve higher grades and enjoy school more.

  • Having a good education will help to give your child the best possible start in life.

  • Regular school attendance patterns encourage the development of other responsible patterns of behaviour.

What can parents do to help?

If you feel that your child is unhappy at school and that this is affecting their attendance, please contact us as quickly as possible so that we can work together to resolve any issues.

  • Ensure that your child arrives at school on time with the necessary equipment for the day.
  • If at all possible please keep medical and dental appointments outside of the school day.
  • Only allow days off for genuine illness – you know your child!
  • Have a look at the termly attendance letters we send home for attendance below 96%
  • Do not take your child on holiday during term time.
  • Parents must model the value of education, including the importance of regular attendance.
  • Make sure that your child goes to school regularly and arrives on time-you will establish a good habit that they will carry through life.
  • If your child is ill or must miss school for some other reason, contact school immediately. If you ask for home learning, make sure your child completes it.
  • Do not expect school to approve absence for shopping trips, birthday treats etc during school hours.
  • Take an interest in your child’s school work and be involved in the school as much as possible-your child will value school more if you do.

Holidays during term time

There are 190 school days in a year and therefore 175 days of holidays and weekends. Taking your child out of school for 2 weeks (10 school days) will reduce their attendance to 94% before any account is taken for illness.

The law says that parents do not have the right to take their children out of school during term and we only authorise holiday during school time in exceptional circumstances. Any holiday taken during term time will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and could result in parents being fined by the Local Authority.