St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Together we grow in God's love, learning to be the best we can be.


At St. Joseph’s School we aim to encourage and assist all pupils to achieve excellent levels of attendance and punctuality.

Good attendance at school is essential for a pupil’s education and establishes a positive working ethos early in life. Parents, guardians and carers must ensure that they are fully aware of the school’s attendance policy as any absence will have a huge impact on your child’s learning. 100% attendance is certainly possible, but in the event of your child being away from school it is essential that you, the parent inform the school of the reasons for absence.



  • There is a clear connection between regular attendance and achievement. As attendance deteriorates, so does performance, achievement, friendship circles and self-esteem.
  • The Education Act 1996 requires parents and carers to ensure their child receives efficient fulltime education, suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special needs they may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
  • The law states that you can only allow your child to miss school if either they’re too ill to go in or if you have got advance permission from the school.
  • Under current government legislation, all absence figures, together with the reasons for absence have to be reported to the Schools Governing Body, Local Authority (LA), and the Department for Education (DfE).


Regular school attendance is essential and parents, guardians and carers, together with our school staff all have a part to play in ensuring full potential is achieved. Pupils are expected to attend school for the entire duration of the academic year, unless there is an exceptional reason for the absence. There are two main categories of absences:


  • Authorised Absence: is when the school has accepted the explanation offered as satisfactory justification for the absence, or given approval in advance for such an absence.
  • Unauthorised Absence: is when the school has not received a reason for absence, has[SJ1] not accepted a reason for absence or has not approved a child’s absence from school after a parent’s request.


The achievement and maintenance of high levels of attendance is the shared responsibility of parents, guardians or carers, the school with its Governing Body and the Local Authority.



Children should not be absent from school to go on a family holiday. Only in exceptional circumstances may a Headteacher give permission for a child to be absent for this reason. Parents should discuss the circumstances with the Headteacher who will determine the number of school days a child can be absent, if leave is granted. There is no right to take a holiday in term time and you are strongly advised not to book a holiday before discussing your exceptional circumstances with the Headteacher. If your child is absent from school because of a holiday which has not be agreed, this will be classified as an unauthorised absence and you may be fined or legal action taken against you.


Should parents make a request for leave, a ‘Leave of Absence Form’ must be completed as early as possible, providing details of your exceptional circumstances.



  • Please notify the school on each day of the absence.
  • We reserve the right to request a doctor’s/consultant’s letter regarding recurring and frequent illness.


Please be aware that when a parent telephones the school with information that their child is unable to attend due to illness, or other circumstances, this may not be automatically authorised. Your child’s current and previous school attendance will be taken into consideration and as a result the absence may not be authorised.


Keeping a child off school with minor ailments such as a headache or slight cold is not acceptable. Repeated absences will require school to request that parents obtain medical evidence from their doctor’s surgery. This may be in the form of a date stamped compliment slip confirming your visit, or prescription or medicine bottle. Any of the above is to be shown to a member of the school office. (Please note: that the school is not asking any parent to incur a charge for such information and will not be liable for the cost).


From time to time children are sick (vomit) either at home or at school. Unfortunately it is not possible to distinguish between the causes, and therefore it is essential that the same rule of exclusion applies in all cases of vomiting or diarrhoea.


In the Health Protection Agency document, “Guidelines for the Control of Infection and Communicable Disease in School and Early Years Settings”, the guidance is:

Diarrhoea and Vomiting exclusion

Diarrhoea and/or vomiting commonly affects children and staff and can be caused by a number of different germs, including viruses, parasites and bacteria. Infections can be easily spread from person to person (by unwashed hands), especially in children. In general, it is recommended that any staff member or child with diarrhoea and/or vomiting symptoms must stay away or be excluded from the school or early years setting until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours (the ‘48 hour rule’) and feel well. Personal hygiene whilst ill must be very strict.


If a child is sick at school, we will ask the parent or their emergency contact to take the child home. They should not return for 48 hours. We appreciate that this is inconvenient in many cases, and parents may not believe their child is ill, but the school do this in all cases and it should reduce the risk of infection for all children in school. As an example, if a child is sick at lunchtime on a Tuesday, they should not return to school until after lunch on Thursday, provided there have not been any further episodes of vomiting.


All pupils are expected to have attendance of 95% or above. If attendance drops below 95%, parents will receive a School Attendance Letter informing them of this. If attendance does not improve, parents will be issued with a second School Attendance Letter and asked to provide medical evidence each time their child is absent from school. See attached appendices.