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Ss John Fisher and Thomas More
Roman Catholic High School

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Let all our bright
colours shine.


School Attendance

The school recognises that pupils need to attend regularly if they are to take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them. We, as a school, seek to maximise attendance rates both in relation to individual pupils and for the student body as a whole. The school recognises that parents/carers are primarily responsible for ensuring that children attend school but endeavours to work, in partnership with parents/carers, to support and monitor attendance and to take seriously problems which may lead to non-attendance.

Why Regular Attendance is so Important?

Research shows clearly that poor attendance/punctuality and poor attainment are inextricably linked. Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Absence disrupts teaching routines and in doing so affects the learning of your child and others in the same class.  Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is the legal responsibility of the parent/carer and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.

What is Good Attendance?

We encourage pupils to maintain 95%+ attendance and to be on time each day. Texts will be sent out to parents/carers if you have not telephoned the school with a valid reason for absence.  If attendance is considered to be poor or irregular it will be referred to a member of the school’s pastoral support staff.

Reporting Absence from School

If your child is ill or unavoidably absent, please contact the school on 01282 865299 and choose Option 1. Please call as soon as possible on the first day of absence then send a written note to your child’s form tutor on the day of their return. 

If your child is late please provide a note to justify late arrival. Your child must come to the main reception to ‘sign in’ as they will have missed registration.  If your child needs to leave during the school day, they must get a ‘permission to leave’ slip from their form tutor  in advance and have it completed by their Progress Leader, which they must then show when they sign out and keep with them when out of school.  Parents/carers must provide a written note clearly stating the reason for leaving school, what time they need to leave and the time of returning back to school.

Absence Below 95%

The school will work, in partnership with parents/carers, to monitor and support your child’s attendance. If school attendance drops below 95%, the school will undertake a variety of measures to improve your child’s attendance.  These can include:

  • Rewarding good attendance and/or attendance improvement.
  • Letter being sent home regarding the attendance issue
  • You will be invited to attend a meeting at school to discuss the issues around your child’s attendance.  (please note that these meetings are compulsory)
  • Initiating sanctions as appropriate in line with the school’s behaviour policy
  • Referral to internal support strategies including Nurture, Welcome to school and the Inclusion Mentor.
  • Referral to external agencies e.g. school nurse, ELCAS and others to support your child’s needs in relation to school attendance.
  • The setting of attendance targets.
  • Invited to a school Attendance Review Panels.  (please note that these meetings are compulsory)
  • The use of legal sanctions.
Absence Below 90%

Attendance at 90% or below is classified as Persistent Absentee.  If your child becomes a persistent absentee then the Attendance Improvement Worker will liaise with you to necessitate improvement.  A support package/action plan will be implemented.  If after a planned timescale no improvement has occurred then the school will consider the use of legal interventions.

Absence During Term Time

The Local Authority produces a standard form on which permission may be requested for absence from school to be authorised for a family holiday or extended leave.  This form can be downloaded HERE or collected from the school office. The DFE guidance states that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

As the form states, it is a legal requirement for parents/carers to obtain the permission of the Headteacher before pupil absence for a holiday during term time is deemed authorised. Legally, parents do not have an automatic right to take their children out of school for holidays during term time and may be issued with a Penalty Notice (£120 per parent per child) if they do so without prior arrangement with the Headteacher.

Parents wishing to apply for their child to be granted leave from school should complete this form and return it to school for consideration before booking and well in advance of the proposed leave. Upon receipt of a request the Headteacher will make a decision as to whether to authorise the absence, being mindful of government regulations and LA guidance. Each application for absence will be individually examined and will take into account the pupil’s current and previous attendance record, the academic year along with any other issues such as forthcoming examinations.

Once the Headteacher has made a decision regarding the application for absence Appendix A will be completed and parents/carers will be informed of the decision. Please be reminded that Fixed Penalty Notices are sometimes issued by schools to parents/carers whose children are consistently late to school. It is not the intention of the school routinely to prosecute parents/carers who withdraw their children from school during term time, but Headteachers have a duty to follow national guidelines regarding attendance and punctuality.

Sharing, as we all do, a commitment to high achievement for all our youngsters, it is important that we all strive for maximum attendance for our children, avoiding holidays/absence during term time if at all possible, but completing the necessary paperwork if such absence is desired.