St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School

Growing Together in Faith, Love and Learning


Why is attendance so important?

To give your child the best possible start in life.

  •  They will be able to keep up with their work.
  •  They will achieve better results.
  •  They will develop friendships and social skills.

School attendance is central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential. The Governing Board has set a target of 97% attendance for all pupils. This rate allows for periods of illness or particular circumstances when absence from schools is unavoidable. We want your child to attend school regularly as this supports their learning. If your child is not well or if you have a planned reason why your child cannot attend school, please inform the school at the earliest opportunity.

Children of compulsory school age must, by law, receive a full time education.

Each person with day to day parental responsibility could be taken to court and fined for each child who is not attending school regularly or who is persistently late.

The Education Act 1996 states that all pupils should attend school regularly and punctually. ‘If a child of compulsory school age, who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.’

Some key attendance facts:

  • Attending 90% of the time or less will have a serious effect on learning.
  • One day’s absence every two weeks will give 90% attendance.
  • Up to the age of 16, 90% attendance will mean losing over a year of school – more than half

Arrival at School

The school gates will open at 8.40am. In wet or icy weather children will come through the main front door. Your child should be in school by 8:50am for the start of the school day.

The school gates will close at 8:50am and if you arrive after this you must enter the school via the school office.

If your child arrives up until 9.30am they will be marked late.

If your child arrives after 9.30am they will receive an unauthorised absence mark.

Remember that persistent lateness can be legally counted as unauthorised absence.


Persistent lateness can:

  • Cause embarrassment to the child.
  • Make it harder for the child to settle.
  • Cause disruption to the rest of the class.

The school operates a first day response and will telephone families where children have failed to attend school in time for morning registration.

Unplanned absences

Please inform the school before 9.00am on the morning of the first day of absence.

You can ring school or register the absence on our school’s Parent’s APP.

Keep the school informed if the absence is to continue.

A written explanation of your child’s absence may be required on return to school. If we do not receive a satisfactory explanation we will not authorise the absence. This will show up on your child’s end of year report.

Exceptional Circumstances

If you wish your child to be absent from school for any exceptional circumstances please complete an Exceptional Absence Request form (available from office) which will be reviewed by the Headteacher.

This should be done at the earliest possible opportunity and with at least 2 weeks notice. 

Planned absences

Where possible, organise authorised absences well in advance.

Please try to arrange medical appointments during holiday times or out of school hours.

If you cannot make doctor or dentist  appointments out of school hours, wherever possible the child should come to school before the appointment and return to school afterwards.

Religious Observance

If you wish to take your child out of school for a religious observance please inform the school.

Family Holidays

Family holidays must not be taken during the school term. Official guidelines state that under no circumstances should schools authorise absence for holidays or other circumstances on the grounds of cost.

If you take your child on holiday without authorisation, the Local Education Authority has the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £60 per parent per child, rising to £120 if not paid within 28 days. Failure to pay can result in a criminal record and a fine of up to £1000.