St. Monica’s – Attendance Tips For Parents

Bury Council Penalty Notice Information Leaflet 

Attendance Policy 

The School Day

  • School opens for pupils at 8.10am
  • Pupils are expected to be in school by 8.25am
  • Form Time begins and registers open at 8.30am
  • Registers close at 9.00am
  • The school day ends at 3.00pm

Expectations

  • All pupils are expected to have 100% attendance. This means that all pupils are expected to be in school on time every day.

Reason

  • It is the law that all children attend school every day.
  • Being absent from school negatively impacts on a pupil’s academic performance.
  • Pupils who do not attend school well do not achieve well.
  • Poor attendance reduces a pupil’s chance of being offered a place at the college of their choice.
  • Poor attendance will prevent them from taking part in events, such as the prom and school trips.
  • The law states Under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996, parents or carers may be prosecuted if their child does not attend school regularly and their absences are unauthorised (or in other words, the school cannot or has not given permission for them to be off school).

The impact of poor attendance

  • There are only 40 weeks in a school year and there are 12 weeks holiday, therefore:
  • Missing one day a fortnight equates to 10% of a school year, meaning that a pupil who misses this number of days would have 90% attendance and would be classed as being a persistent absentee.
  • Missing six days each half term for five years is almost equivalent to missing a whole year of school.
  • 95% attendance sounds quite good, but it is equal to a child missing one day every month.
  • Poor attendance is not tolerated at school or at any place of work.
  • When pupils miss 10% or more of school (equivalent to 1 day or more a fortnight across a full school year), and their attendance is 90% and below, they are categorised as a Persistent Absentee (PA). School will support you and your child to always improve their attendance. However, if there is a lack of engagement or unwillingness to work with school,  Bury Council will consider issuing a Penalty Notice. This applies to all pupils with declining attendance.
  • Penalty Notices are issued to parents or carers who are considered capable of but are unwilling to work towards improving their child’s attendance. A Penalty Notice can be issued where a pupil has missed at least 10 sessions (5 school days) due to unauthorised absence in the last 10 weeks.
  • The Headteacher can only authorise an absence from school in exceptional circumstances. Failure for a child to attend within the 10 days following the expiry of the period for which leave was granted, could lead, in extreme cases, to the child being taken off roll.

Punctuality

The school day starts at 8.30am and pupils must be in school for that time. If your child is late, they will be marked as Late (L), given a P3 for Punctuality and have to sit a 30-minute detention the following day. Parents and carers will be notified of the detention via a text message to the person who is listed as the first contact in our information system.

If your child arrives after 9.00am, when registers close, they will be marked as a ‘U’. This means that they have an unauthorised absence for the morning session. This adversely affects their overall attendance percentage and contribute to a pupil fallen into one of the above categories of concern, which will result in contact being made about and interventions implemented to support attendance.

Monitoring Attendance

At St. Monica’s, we monitor each pupil’s attendance and record this on their reports. We expect 100% attendance and will write to parents on a half-termly basis notifying them of their child’s year to date attendance. We will also communicate with, support and intervene with a child and their family if their attendance falls into one of our categories for concern:

Important Notice

Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term-time unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you need to take your child out of school, your child must request a Leave of Absence Form from the school. You must use this to seek permission from the Headteacher, at least four weeks in advance of the absence. If you take your child out of school for a leave of absence without authorisation from the Headteacher, then a fixed term penalty notice will be issued.

At St. Monica’s, we believe that your child’s attendance in school is extremely important. By law, all schools have to follow very strict regulations, with every absence recorded and reported. We want to help your child to be safe, happy and successful and their attendance is an important factor in ensuring this.

Reporting an absence

If your child is ill or has a very good reason to miss school, please either call the school office before 8.30am on 0161 773 6436 and follow the instructions to report a pupil absence. If your child is ill, we will mark them ‘I’ for ill on the register

For medical appointments at the hospital or dentist, we mark ‘M’ for medical. Where possible, appointments should be made outside of school hours and written evidence for this appointment will be requested.

If there are unusual circumstances such as a serious illness in the family, we mark ‘C’ for circumstances.

The school allows one day for religious festivals for all major faiths apart from Christianity. As a Catholic school, Christian religious dates are usually within school holidays. Further days taken for Religious Festivals will not be authorised.

If your child is persistently absent due to illness, the Attendance Team may request medical evidence.

Unauthorised absences 

Parents are not allowed to keep their children off school for any of the following reasons:

  • family birthday
  • shopping
  • holidays in term time
  • visiting relatives
  • watching a sports event
  • looking after family members

All these reasons will be marked as unauthorised. If you need to take your child away from school, your child must request a Leave of Absence Form from the School Office. You must use this to seek permission from the Headteacher, at least four weeks in advance of the absence. If you take your child out of school without permission, you may be given a fixed penalty notice.

Medical Appointments

We would ask you to avoid medical appointments in school time if possible. If this cannot be avoided and your child must leave school to attend an appointment, you must provide evidence of the appointment. Telephone calls are only acceptable for emergency appointments.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What can I do if my child is starting to present attendance difficulties?

Contact school as soon as possible if you recognise that a pattern is starting to emerge. School will support you from the onset.

  • If my child refuses to attend school, can I be held responsible?

Yes. As the child’s parent, you are expected to ensure they receive an education.

  • Why do I need to attend a meeting in school if my child doesn’t attend?

School will always try to support you and your child to improve their attendance. To do this, it is beneficial to hold a meeting to discuss a personalised plan for your child.

  • Why has my child been marked as absent for the whole morning when they arrived at 9:30am?

DFE guidelines states that all schools should close their registers no more than 30 minutes after the session begins. Where a child has arrived late after this time, the absence is marked as unauthorised.

  • Could I receive a fine of my child is persistently late for school?

If your child receives 10 or more unauthorised absences, you could be issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Useful links for parents: