St John The Baptist Catholic Primary School "Together, through our words and actions, our work and play,We point towards Christ, each and every day"

Attendance Policy 2021 - 2024





Attendance Policy 2021 - 2024


“One day in your Temple is better than a thousand anywhere else.”

(Ps. 85:10)


This Attendance Policy has been approved and adopted by the Governing Body in November 2021 and will be reviewed in November 2024






The government expects schools and local authorities to:

  • Promote good attendance and reduce absence, including persistent absence;
  • Ensure every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled;
  • Act early to address patterns of absence.

The government expects:

  • Parents to perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age who are registered at school attend regularly.
  • All pupils to be punctual to their lessons.

School Attendance, DFE, August 2020


School attendance is subject to education laws and this school Attendance Policy is written to reflect these laws and the guidance produced by the Department for Education and Hampshire County Council, a list of which is found in the appendix section.


This Attendance policy is also consistent with the following school policies:

  • Admissions
  • Anti-bullying
  • Child protection
  • Safeguarding
  • Exclusion
  • Special educational needs
  • Behaviour


  1. Rationale


For a child to reach their full educational achievement a high level of school attendance is essential. We are committed to providing an education of the highest quality for all our pupils and endeavour to provide an environment where all pupils feel valued and welcome.


Parents and pupils play a part in making our school so successful. Every child has a right to access the education to which they are entitled. Parents and teachers share the responsibility for supporting and promoting excellent school attendance and punctuality for all. It is our duty to consistently strive to achieve a goal of 100% attendance for all children. Every opportunity will be used to convey to pupils and their parents or carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance.


For our children to take full advantage of the educational opportunities offered it is vital your child is at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. The routines children develop around attendance and punctuality at school are the same as the expectations of any future employer in the world of work. High attainment, confidence with peers and staff and future aspirations depend on good attendance.


Good attendance is important because:

  • Statistics show a direct link between under-achievement and absence below 95%
  • Regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically
  • Regular attenders find school routines, school work and friendships easier to cope with
  • Regular attenders find learning more satisfying
  • Regular attenders are more successful in transferring between primary school, secondary school, higher education, employment or training



  1. Promoting Good Attendance and Punctuality


The foundation for good attendance is a strong partnership between the school, parents and the child.


To help us all to focus on this we will:

  • Provide information on all matters related to attendance in our regular newsletter and on our website;
  • Report to you how your child is performing in school, what their attendance and punctuality rate is and how this relates to their attainment;
  • Celebrate good attendance by awarding the weekly attendance cup to the class with the highest attendance;
  • Set targets for the school and display these in the newsletter;
  • Deliver a stimulating and engaging curriculum that encourages children’s enjoyment of school;
  • Run events when parents, pupils and staff can work together on raising attendance levels across the school


  1. Roles and Responsibilities


Attendance Lead


The headteacher will oversee, direct and co-ordinate the school’s work in promoting regular and improved attendance and will ensure the Attendance Policy is consistently applied throughout the school.


They will ensure that:

  • Attendance is both recorded accurately and analysed;
  • That attendance issues are identified at an early stage 
  • That support is put in place to deal with any difficulties.


If absence is frequent or continuous, except where a child is clearly unwell, staff will discuss with parent/carers the need and reasons for their child’s absence and will encourage them to keep absences to a minimum.


A note or explanation from a pupil’s home does not mean an absence becomes authorised. The decision whether or not to authorise an absence will always rest with the headteacher.


Classroom Staff


  • Ensure that all children are registered accurately;
  • Ensure that morning registration is complete by 9.30am and afternoon registration is complete by 1.15pm.
  • Promote and reward good attendance at all appropriate opportunities;
  • Liaise with SLT on matters of attendance and punctuality;
  • Communicate any concerns or underlying problems that may account for a child’s absence by recording concerns on CPOMS




  • Attend every day unless they are ill or have an authorised absence.
  • Arrive in school on time.


Parents and Carers

Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is a parent/carers legal responsibility (section of the 1996 Education Act) and permitting absence from school that is not authorised by the school creates an offence in law.


Parents will:

  • Make sure that any absence is clearly accounted for by phone, email or via the schools online absence reporting form on the school website on the first and subsequent days of absence (before 9.30am).
  • Discuss with the class teacher any planned absences well in advance.
  • Support the school with their child in aiming for 100% attendance each year.
  • Avoid taking their child out of school for non-urgent medical or dental appointments.
  • Only request leave of absence if it is for an exceptional circumstance.


  1. Recording Attendance


Legally the register must be marked twice daily.


This is once at the start of the school day (9:15am) and again for the afternoon session at 1.00pm.

Registration closes, and must be complete, by 9.30am and 1.15pm every day.


  1. Lateness / Punctuality


It is important to be on time at the start of the morning and afternoon school sessions. The start of lessons are used to give out instructions or organise work. If your child is late they can miss work, time with their class teacher getting vital information, cause disruption to the lesson for others and can find being late embarrassing, leading to possible further absence.


The school day begins at 9:15am and all pupils are expected to be in school at the time. Morning registration closes at 9.30am.


  • All lateness is recorded daily. This information will be required by the courts, should a prosecution for non-attendance or lateness be necessary.
  • Arrival after the close of registration will be marked as unauthorised absence (code ‘U’) in line with County and Department for Education (DfE) guidance. This mark shows them to be on site, but is legally recorded as an absence.


Pupils who are consistently late are disrupting not only their own education but also that of the other pupils. On-going and repeated lateness is considered as unauthorised absence and will be subject to legal action.


  • Parents, guardians or carers of pupils who have patterns of lateness will be contacted to discuss the importance of good timekeeping and how this might be achieved:
  • Parents, guardians or carers will be invited to discuss the cause of lateness with the headteacher and support will be offered.
  • If a child has 10 or more sessions of unauthorised absence due to lateness recorded in any 10 week period, a penalty notice will be issued in accordance with Hampshire’s Code of Conduct for issuing penalty notices for non-attendance


Please collect your child promptly at the end of the school day:

  • Where late collection is persistent and/or significantly late, the school is obliged to take any uncollected pupil to a place of safety and share concerns, as necessary, with other agencies.
  • If one is available, the school will place a child into the after school club and provide the parent/carer with the bill.


  1. What should I do if my child is absent?


A child not attending school is considered a safeguarding matter. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required.


On the first day of absence you must:


  • Contact the school office by phone, email or the website absence form before 9.30am;
  • Provide a written explanation for the absence by email or the website absence form.


If your child is absent and we have not been informed by 9.30am, an Admin Assistant will:


  • Telephone you on the first day of absence; this is because we have a duty to ensure your child’s safety as well as their regular school attendance;
  • If we are unable to contact you by phone, a message will be left and a follow-up email sent. The headteacher will be informed and a note made on your child’s attendance record.
  • This process will be repeated for the first two days of unexplained absence.



On the third day of unexplained absence:


  • If your child is not seen and contact has not been established with you or any of the named parent/carers after three days of absence, the school is required to start ‘child missing in education procedures’ as set down by Hampshire County Council Guidance.
  • We will:
  • make all reasonable enquiries to establish contact with parents and the child including making enquires to known friends and wider family. This may include visiting the child’s address/addresses contact any other schools where the child or their siblings are known to have been pupils
  • check with the child’s peer group to ascertain if they are aware of any change in the child’s place of residency
  • contact any relevant agency, for example the family welfare officer in the relevant armed forces in the case of a service child


On the tenth day of unexplained absence:


We have a legal duty to report the absence of any pupil who is absent without an explanation for 10 consecutive days.


  • If the child is not seen and contact has not been established with the named parent/carer, the Local Authority’s Child Missing in Education (CME) officer is notified.
  • Children’s Services will visit the last known address and alert key services to locate the child.


Where a pupil has not returned to school for ten days after an authorised absence, or is absent from school without authorisation for twenty consecutive school days, the pupil can be removed from the admission register when the school and the local authority have failed, after jointly making reasonable enquiries, to establish the whereabouts of the child. This only applies if the school does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend because of sickness or unavoidable cause. (Children Missing Education, DFE, 2016)




Continued or Ongoing Absence


All absences disadvantage a child by creating gaps in their learning. Research shows these gaps affect attainment when attendance falls below 95%. As such, we monitor all absence thoroughly and all attendance data is shared with the Local Authority and the Department for Education.


The headteacher analyses attendance patterns every 6 weeks (or each half term).


Level of Absence



4% - 5%


  • Child’s name is entered onto tracking document by headteacher
  • Reasons for absence are analysed and absence level is monitored for 6 weeks

6% - 9%

Pre-persistent absenteeism

  • Reasons for absence are analysed
  • Attendance Advice letter issued with absence levels for individual child and average absence level of the school population for comparison
  • SJB Attendance Expectations, Every Day Counts and Hampshire Attendance flyers re-issued
  • Parents invited to meet with headteacher to discuss support available to improve absence levels
  • Where absence is for illness, further absences may not be authorised without a note from a medical professional

10% +

Persistent Absenteeism

  • Attendance Concern letter issued with absence levels for individual child and average absence level of the school population for comparison
  • Meeting with headteacher arranged to discuss barriers to good attendance
  • Attendance improvement plan may be arranged
  • Children’s Services may be contacted if absence meets threshold for a safeguarding concern.

Improvement in absence rate

Level of concern reduced

  • Improvement Letter issued
  • Continued monitoring until absence level drops below 4%

Absence level continues to rise


  • Crisis letter issued
  • Home/School contract in place
  • Headteacher contacts Hampshire Attendance officers and/or Legal panel to discuss the case
  • Meeting with headteacher, parents and other professionals arranged


Where school staff have concerns about a child, they should use their professional judgement and knowledge of the individual pupil to inform their decision as to whether welfare concerns should be escalated.

All schools (including academies) must agree with the relevant local authority, the regular interval that the school will inform the local authority of any pupil who fails to attend school regularly, or has been absent without the school’s permission for a continuous period of 10 days or more.

School Attendance (DFE, 2020)


  1. Request for Leave of Absence


Regulations state that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.


It is important to note that Headteachers can determine the length of the authorised absence as well as whether absence is authorised at all.


The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ are rare, significant, or unavoidable which means the event could not reasonably be scheduled at another time. There are no rules on this as circumstances vary from school to school and family to family.


There is, however, no legal entitlement for time off in school time to go on holiday and in the majority of cases holiday will not be authorised.


Parents/Carers wishing to apply for leave of absence need to fill in an application form available from the school office in advance and before making any travel arrangements. Any supporting evidence for the request must be attached to the application.


If term time leave is taken without prior permission from the school, the absence will be unauthorised and if the number of sessions absent hits the thresholds set down in Hampshire’s Code of Conduct parent/carers will be issued with a fixed-penalty fine or other legal action in accordance with the code.


  1. Penalty Notices for Non Attendance and other Legal Measures


In Education law, parents/carers are committing an offence if they fail to ensure the regular attendance of their child of compulsory school age at the school at which the child is registered, unless the absence has been authorised by the school.


Hampshire County Council will use the full range of legal measures to secure good attendance.


Legal measures will only be considered through a referral to Hampshire’s Attendance Legal Panels where:

  • The child or family do not require the support from any agency to improve the attendance
  • The child has 10 or more sessions of unauthorised absence and parents are complicit in the child’s absence


The following legal measures are for pupils of compulsory school age who are registered at a school:

· Parenting contracts set at Education Planning Meetings

· Parenting orders

· Penalty notices

· Education Supervision Orders

· Prosecution


Where a child has unauthorised absence the school must enforce Hampshire’s Code of Conduct for issuing Penalty Notices or follow its guidance on other Legal Measures for Non-Attendance.


The Code of Conduct is a statutory document that ensures that powers for legal sanctions are applied consistently and fairly across all schools and their families within the authority. A copy is available from


  1. Penalty Notices for non-attendance- Hampshire’s Code of Conduct


The code of conduct states that:


Schools or Hampshire Local Authority will issue a Penalty Notice for any unauthorised absence where the pupil has been:


  • absent for 10 or more half-day sessions (five school days) of unauthorised absence during any 100 possible school sessions – these do not need to be consecutive (codes G, U, or O on the register)
  • persistently late (coded U) for up to 10 sessions (five days) after the register has closed
  • persistently late before the close of the register (coded L), but the school has met with parents and has clearly communicated that they will categorise as unauthorised any further lateness (code O), and where the threshold of 10 sessions (five days) has been met
  • absent for any public examinations of which dates are published in advance
  • absent for any formal school assessments, tests or examinations where the dates have been published in advance unless the issuing of a Penalty Notice would conflict with other intervention strategies in place or other sanctions already being processed.


  1. Legal Measures for absence taken when the Headteacher has declined parent/carers’ request for leave of absence


Where a pupil has unauthorised absence due to either the non approval of a parent/carer’s request for leave of absence or a holiday that has been taken without permission and the unauthorised absence (coded G) is for 10 or more sessions (5 days) in any 100 possible school sessions then a penalty notice for non-attendance will be issued.


If a child has other types of unauthorised absence (coded O and U) and the family or child do not require any agency support to improve the attendance then a single Penalty Notice is issued for either 10 sessions (5 days) of unauthorised absence or lateness in any 100 possible school sessions/10 week school period, or have 1 or more sessions of unauthorised absence during a public exam, formal school assessment of testing where dates are published in advance.

Parents and Carers will be warned of the likelihood of a penalty notice being issued for unauthorised absence through the leave of absence request form.


The penalty notice is a fine that is issued to each parent/carer who condoned (or was responsible for the child) during the period of unauthorised absence for which the fine has been issued. For each case of unauthorised absence the school or Hampshire County Council will decide whether a Penalty Notice is issued to one or more parent/carers for each child.

For example: x4penalty notices for a family with two children, both with unauthorised absence for holiday (i.e. one Penalty Notice for each child to each parent).


  • Each Penalty Notice carries a fine of £60 if paid within 21 days of the Penalty Notice being posted.
  • If the fine is not paid within 21 days the Penalty is automatically increased to £120 if paid within 28 days.
  • If the fine remains unpaid then Hampshire County Council will consider prosecution for the non-attendance.


Payment methods are detailed on the Penalty Notices themselves. Penalties are to be paid to Hampshire County Council and revenue resulting from payment of Penalties is used by the County Council to help cover the costs of issuing Penalty Notices and/or the cost of prosecuting recipients who do not pay. For further information parents/carers can request a leaflet from school and should visit Hampshire County Councils website at:  


  1.   Record preservation


School registers are legal documents. We will ensure compliance with attendance regulations by keeping attendance records for at least 3 years.


  1. What is required if my child leaves the school?


If your child is leaving our school (other than when transferring to secondary school) parents are asked to give the school comprehensive information about their plans including:


  • The date of the child’s last day at school
  •  The new home address and telephone numbers (if applicable),
  • The name of your child’s new school
  • The start date at the new school


This information must be submitted to our school in writing.


If pupils leave and we do not have the above information, then your child is considered to be a ‘Child Missing in Education’. This requires schools and Local Authorities to then carry out investigations to try and locate your child, which includes liaising with Children’s Services, the Police and other agencies. By giving us the above information, these investigations can be avoided.


Absence through child participation in Public Performances, including theatre, film or TV work & Modelling


Parents of a child performer can seek leave of absence from school for their child to take part in a performance. They must contact the Headteacher to discuss the nature and frequency of the work, whether the child has a valid performance licence and whether education will be provided by the employer during any future leave of absence. Any absence recorded as part of a child’s participation in a public performance is recorded as C (an authorised absence).


Absence through competing at regional, county or national level for Sport


Parents of able children can seek leave of absence from school for their child to take part in a regional, county, national or international event or competition. It is, however, down to the Headteacher’s discretion whether to authorise this and they will wish to discuss with you the nature and frequency of the absence and how learning will continue if absence occurs.

Permission for your child to leave early or arrive late to attend coaching and training sessions are also at the discretion of the Headteacher and are not likely to be approved if it is a regular event, unless the sports club or association are providing an education tutor as part of their coaching.




Gypsy Roma Traveller Showman and Showman families


To help ensure continuity of education for Traveller children it is expected that the child should attend school elsewhere when their family is travelling and be dual registered at that school and the main school.


Children from these groups whose families do not travel are expected to register at a school and attend as normal. They are subject to the same rules as other children in terms of the requirement to attend school regularly once registered at a school.




The Law: 


The Education Act 1996 Part 1, Section 7 states: The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient fulltime education suitable- [a] To his age, ability and aptitude and [b] To any special needs he may have. either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.


For educational purposes the term parent is used to include those that have parental responsibility and/or those that have the day to day care of the child. The legislation that appertains to children who are of compulsory school age and are registered at school is contained within this Act. Part V1 Section 444 contains the details of when an offence is committed if a child fails to attend school. Register and Admission Roll keeping: The legal requirements are found in: The Education [Pupil Registration] (England) Regulations 2006 blications/eOrderingDownload/UKSI-20061751.pdf  


Guidance documents on attendance:


The following DfE documents are used to guide attendance recording: Absence and Attendance codes (Guidance for Schools and Local Authorities)


Keeping Pupil Registers (Guidance on applying the Education Pupil Registration Regulations) blications/standard/Governancemanagementandfinance/Page4/DCSF-01488-2008  


These and other guidance documents are available on the DfE website Hampshire County Council Guidance is available on Hantsweb at  


For national guidance refer to:

1. ‘School attendance’ 2015 located at  


2. National Association of Headteachers guidance document on ‘Authorised Absence’ 2014  


For county advice and guidance refer to:

1. Guidance on recording absence  




3. Guidance on approval of ‘Extended leave of absence’ see county guidance  ‘


School Attendance (DFE, 2020) summarises the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance and explains how they apply to local authorities, head teachers, school staff, governing bodies, pupils and parents. These requirements are contained in:

  • The Education Act 1996 - sections 434(1)(3)(4)&(6) and 458(4)&(5)
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2010
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016


Promoting Pupil Attendance and Recording Absence – 2014

The Department for Education is clear that there is no parental/carer right for a family holiday: cost, experiences for the child, weather and overlapping with school holidays are not factors on which the decision should be made – pg 9


Good practice guidance


Section 1: good practice: recording and monitoring attendance and setting targets to reduce absence


Recording attendance

If a school records information about attendance accurately, efficiently and effectively, it can use this to:

 identify possible gaps in learning, progress and attainment

 identify pupils/families who require support and intervention

 provide detailed information to individual pupils

 provide detailed information to parents/carers

 provide regular reports to the governing body

 support effective school self-evaluation

 provide the LA with any information and data it requires

 provide the information and data required by the Department for Education

 identify ways in which levels of attendance and pupil progress can be improved

 set targets for individual pupils, teaching groups, year groups and/or the school as a whole to improve attendance

 recognise the positive attendance rates overall and reward individual pupils for continued or improved good attendance rates.


Monitoring attendance

To help monitor attendance and absence levels, schools should:

 ensure that registration procedures are used consistently throughout the school

 ensure that appropriate codes are used to record pupil attendance and absence

 have a system in place to keep track of pupils during the day and help reduce/prevent post-registration truancy, eg by having spot checks or using a lesson monitoring system; this should include pupils on roll but attending other educational provision or on temporary part-time provision

 provide support and guidance to staff on what their roles and responsibilities are in respect of attendance and safeguarding; how to analyse attendance data and understand its impact on attainment and progress; and how to complete registers and follow up absences

 provide clear information and accurate data to support services, so that they can intervene more quickly and effectively when concerns about poor attendance/punctuality arise

 report the school’s attendance percentage for overall and persistent absence via the school’s prospectus and website

report annually to parents/carers their children’s individual attendance rates.