Attendance

We expect pupils to attend school every day when the school is open and where there are more than 10 sessions or 5 days unauthorised absence in a 50 day period, the school may request a penalty notice.

Regular attendance at school is important for ensuring a child’s educational success.  Absenteeism not only affects the continuity of a child’s education, causing extra effort on the part of teacher and child to catch up on missed work but also risks underachievement for the child.

Schools provide parents and guardians with a timetable of term dates, including in-service training days, which should facilitate the planning of holidays and events outside of school time.  These timetables are available from the school office or on the school website.

Whilst most parents support and encourage their children to attend school regularly, this is unfortunately not always the case.  Both the Department for Education and Kent Local Authority strongly discourage the removal of a child from school during term-time for any reason including family holidays.

 General Principles

  • Children should attend school every day unless they are unwell.
  • Any other absence will be considered to be unauthorised, unless there is a valid reason otherwise.
  • If the reason for absence could have been foreseen, parents should apply for authorised absence in advance.
  • Where the reason for absence could not reasonably have been foreseen, the school will consider whether the absence was really avoidable.

Absences which can be foreseen in advance

Absences will only be authorised in advance if there is a good reason given for the absence such as:-

  1. a death in the family or funeral
  2. a medical appointment which cannot be arranged outside school hours
  3. a religious holiday
  4. participating in an important extra-curricular activity, such as music or dance examination. Authorised absences under this criterion will only be granted sparingly; where a pattern of frequent participation in such activities is proposed, the school will explore solutions personally with the parents.

The Governors have the right to allow up to 10 school days authorised absence in exceptional circumstances.  Many schools, including St John’s, do not authorise absence for holidays in term time.  If parents wish to have a family holiday in term time, they should consider very carefully the effects that this is likely to have on their child’s progress at school.  We would therefore respectfully ask you not to take your holiday in term time, as this will not be authorised and will be recorded as such, and may result in a Penalty Notice of £120.

We are appreciative of parents continued support in ensuring children attend school regularly and on time.

In the case of a medical appointment, parents are asked to write a letter or provide a copy of the appointment letter.

The following reasons for absence are NOT generally acceptable:

  1. Leisure activities
  2. Birthdays or similar celebrations
  3. Shopping

Absences which cannot be foreseen in advance (e.g. illness)

Where an absence cannot be foreseen in advance, parents should make arrangements to inform the school as soon as possible.  The school office is staffed from 8.00am and we need to know if a child is not attending school by 9.00am at the latest.

On the first day of absence please either:-

  • telephone school and leave a message on the absence line stating your child’s name, class, and reason for absence;

OR

  • use the Parentmail ‘Absence Reporting Tool’

(Absence reporting will only work through the Parentmail App, so it’s important that you have downloaded the App onto your iPhone or Android device.)

 You can report absences in 4 easy steps:-

  1. From the Parentmail App, open ‘Absences’, and select the name of your child/children who will be absent.
  2. Select a reason for absence from a drop down menu.
  3. Select an amount of time that the child is likely to be off school for.
  4. Add any additional notes, and then send to school.

The school office will then receive notification of absences in the ‘Absence Inbox’.

Lateness

We ask that all pupils are in school by 8.55am.  Children are deemed to be late if they are not in class by 9.00am.   Parents arriving with children after 8.55am need to enter school via the main school office, ensuring as they do so that office staff are advised of the child’s attendance and reason for lateness.  The school keeps a formal record of all children who fail to register for school on time.

Whilst we understand that on occasions there may be problems with public transport, or congestion on the road which lead to lateness, we would not expect this to be a regular occurrence.  Parents should ensure that their child leaves home with sufficient time to arrive at school before 8.55am.  Persistent lateness can be quantified in terms of school days lost.

The school will contact the parents of children where we are concerned about persistent lateness so that parents are in a position to ensure that their legal obligation is met.  If no evidence of improvement is seen after this intervention, persistent lateness will be recorded as unauthorised absence.  A referral may then be made to the Attendance and Behavioural Service.  Children are also required to arrive punctually to afternoon registration at 1.30pm.