Report Absence
Leave of Absence

Attendance and Punctuality

Research shows that students who attend school regularly make better progress within their academic studies as well as socially. Excellent attendance not only supports students academically and socially but also prepares them for the world of work.

We strive for all our students to have at least 95% attendance, making the most of the opportunities that are made available to them both within lessons, social times and within our extensive extra-curricular programme. These opportunities will positively impact your child both now and for their future choices.

Parents and carers play a pivotal role in promoting positive attitudes towards attendance. We ask for support in ensuring that students are on time and ready to learn at every opportunity, avoiding absence which is unnecessary.

We aim to work in partnership with parents and carers to ensure regular attendance and good punctuality. We seek parents and carers support in ensuring that their children attend school every day and welcome the opportunity to work together in resolving any difficulties.

Punctuality Matters

We expect parents and carers to support us in ensuring that your child arrives on time. Arriving late for school results in an unsettled start to the school day and in your child missing vital messages and learning opportunities.

The school day at St John Fisher Catholic High School starts at 8.50am. All students are expected to arrive in school by 8.45am to be in their form ready to start the school day at 8.50 a.m. prompt.

Students should not be on the school grounds before 8.30 a.m. as the entrance doors to the school building are not opened to students until 8.45 a.m.

Students in Years 7 to 11 must enter the school grounds via the green gate entrance to the Chapel playground. Students who arrive after 8.50 a.m. must enter the school building via the main reception and sign in at Student Services.

All students arriving after 8.50 a.m. receive a punctuality stamp in their planner - regardless of their reason for being late. This is a safeguarding measure and an effective means of communicating to parents and carers that their child was late to school. Students who are late to school are expected to meet with a senior leader, at the beginning of lunch, to establish their reason for being late.

To ensure students attend lunchtime meetings, all students arriving after 8.50 a.m. are also expected to hand - in their mobile phone at Student Services upon their arrival in school. Mobile phones are securely stored and returned to students at the end of the school day.

Students who arrive later than 8.50 a.m., due to the late arrival of school transport, are not expected to hand in their mobile phones or to meet with a senior leader at the beginning of lunch.

All students should have vacated the school building by no later than 3.45 p.m. unless they are attending a headteacher approved and supervised after-school activity.        

Reporting Absence

What to do if your child is unable to attend school:

If your child is too unwell to attend the school, parents/ carers must contact the school Attendance Office as soon as possible: by telephone on 01423 887254 or via e-mail on between 7.30am and 8.30am on each day of absence

Please give your child’s name, year group and the reason for the absence, and where possible, an expected date of return. On your child’s return following an absence, we request that parents/carers write a letter explaining the reason for their absence and for them to give this to their form tutor. It is the responsibility of your child to catch up on work missed from their period of absence and it is our expectation that this is completed as soon as possible.

What to do if your child has an appointment:

We request that all routine medical, dental or other appointments, where possible, are made outside of school time. Where an urgent appointment is required or a hospital appointment within a day clinic has been made, we will require medical evidence in the form of an appointment card or letter to authorise the absence from school.

We ask where possible parents/ carers ensure that your child attends school before and after the appointment to maximise their learning opportunities for that day.

The school will decide if the reason provided for a pupil’s absence is Authorised or Unauthorised.

Examples of Authorised Absence

  • Genuine illness, medical evidence will need to be provided if this is long term
  • Unavoidable medical appointment
  • Religious Observance
  • Death of a close family member

Examples of Unauthorised Absence

  • Tired
  • Illness of parent
  • Refusing to attend
  • Birthdays or anniversaries
  • No clean uniform, damaged uniform or buying school shoes
  • Holiday during term time

Leave of Absence

An authorised leave of absence will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. The government advise parents / carers to avoid taking their child out of school during term time as this will negatively impact their education.

If you require a leave of absence for your child, you must request this in writing (to the headteacher) well in advance of the absence date. The Headteacher is under no obligation to authorise any leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances as to why this cannot be arranged out of school time. All requests will be considered by the Headteacher on an individual basis and parents / carers will be notified of the decision in writing.

Where a leave of absence is taken without request or the authorisation of the Head teacher, we reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This is a fine of £60 per parent for each child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent for each child if paid between 22 and 28 days. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court. This legislation also applies if no prior application has been made or where a false reason for the absence has been provided.

Holidays in Term Time

The Headteacher will not authorise a holiday during term time.

Who to contact about your child’s attendance or punctuality:

Parents with concerns should contact the school Education Welfare and Attendance Officer, Mrs Bath on 01423 887254.