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St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School ‘Serve the Lord with Joy’


Why are good attendance and punctuality important?

A good education gives a child the best possible start in life. We must ensure that all our pupils have an equal chance to make good use of the education that the school offers by providing a positive and encouraging atmosphere. To achieve this it is important that each child attends school regularly and punctually. When a child does not attend school regularly and on time they will have difficulty keeping up with their work and will therefore underachieve.


Research shows that children with poor attendance are at a disadvantage later in life. They often:
  • find it harder to make and maintain friendships
  • are less likely to gain good qualifications
  • earn lower wages
  • have a higher chance of being unemployed
  • have low self-esteem 


The school recognises that parents have a vital role to play in supporting and encouraging good attendance and punctuality. By accepting responsibility in partnership with the school, we can work together to ensure the children’s right to a full education, as well as enabling parents to fulfil their legal responsibility.


It is very important for all children to attend school every day and to arrive on time. School starts promptly at 8.40 am and children should arrive in good time for when the bell goes. This is essential to ensure that children benefit fully from classroom learning and that other children’s learning is not disrupted. 


To help with punctuality, there is a breakfast club each day from 8.00am. In addition, the playground opens at 8.35am. Staff are on duty so parents do not need to wait with their child.


Not only does lateness make a bad start to the day, arrival after 9.20 am is considered half a day’s absence. All lateness/attendance is recorded and monitored by the school and the Education Welfare Officer.


Usually, the only acceptable reason for a pupil to miss a day of school is if they are too ill to attend. If this is the case, you should ring the school office in the morning to notify us.  It is good practice to send in a note with your child on their first day back. If you are not sure in the morning whether your child is well enough for school, we suggest you send them in. We can always call you if they become too ill to get through the day.


Authorisation for absence will not be given for outings, shopping trips or family visits. Holidays should be taken during the school breaks and not during term time. In exceptional circumstances permission may be sought from the headteacher and every case will be treated individually.


Medical appointments should be made out of school hours if at all possible. If your child has to see a doctor or dentist in school time, they should attend school for as much of the day as possible. It is not permitted to take a whole day off school for a medical appointment unless the appointment lasts all day.


Leave of Absence

Leave should be requested a month in advance and holiday bookings/reservations should not be made until the outcome of the leave application is received. This will be normally be within five working days of receipt of the application. Any leave requested retrospectively or with inadequate notice will be unauthorised and a Penalty Notice may be issued.


Absences Add Up

Regular and punctual attendance at school is a legal requirement under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996. Under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996, an offence occurs if a parent/carer fails to secure a child’s regular attendance at the school, at which they are a registered pupil, and the absence is not authorised by the school.


Penalty notices were introduced in 2004 and are led by the local authority. Our school will refer unauthorised absences to the local authority – a decision may then be taken to issue both parents per child with a penalty notice.


Payment of a penalty notice is £120 within 28 days, with a reduction to £60 if paid within 21 days. If payment is not received within 28 days, the local authority will consider prosecution for the unauthorised absence.


Missing two days a month means a child misses 10% of the school year.



Ofsted evaluates attendance and this is part of the ‘Outstanding’ judgement for ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ for schools. Research shows that there is a clear link between strong attendance, high achievement and a child’s well-being.


If you take your child away during term time, then you are making a choice to deny them their education. You are at risk of a fine or court action which could give you a criminal record. Your child could even lose their place at our school.


Attend today, achieve tomorrow.