St Philip Howard Catholic Voluntary Academy recognises how vitally important good attendance and punctuality are. We believe that to be successful, all learners require the highest level of access, attendance and engagement and we will work closely with all agencies in order to achieve this. The school aims to achieve an attendance target of 97% annually. Our students are rewarded for meeting the school target for attendance with half termly celebrations and termly rewards visits where meeting the attendance target is one of the criteria.

Attendance has a major impact on your child’s academic performance:

  • Students whose attendance is above 95% will achieve an average of seven or eight GCSE qualifications at grades 9 to 4
  • Students whose attendance drops below 93% will attain on average only two or three GCSE qualifications at grades 9 to 4

Therefore good attendance will have a big influence on your child’s later prospects in adult life

Lateness, Authorised and Unauthorised absence at school

Consequences to parents and pupils of being absent and late.

Unauthorised absence or your child being frequently late could result in fine or prosecution.

Every school, by law, has to register pupils twice a day; first thing in the morning at the start of the school day, and again in the afternoon session. If a pupil fails to attend or arrives late they can be marked as an absence for that session.

If a pupil of compulsory school age is absent, the register must show whether the absence was authorised (acceptable) or unauthorised (where no acceptable reason is given for absence). Only the school can approve the reason for absence.

An attendance of 90 per cent means that your child is absent from lessons for the equivalent of one half day every week.

Authorised absence from school

Where a pupil is absent due to sickness and is genuinely unable to attend school, then the school, after being informed, may authorise a child’s absence. Please note, we cannot accept ‘unwell’ or ‘poorly’ as a reason for absence, we need full details on the symptoms they are experiencing.

If your child has been absent from school for a long period of time due to an illness, the attendance team may need to contact you if no medical proof is given.

If the reason for absence is due to a medical condition such as migraines or IBS etc. The school will need medical proof and records of the condition to be able to authorise the absence. If this is a persistent reason for absence and we believe this can be controlled with medication, it may still be unauthorised.

It is important to keep the school informed if your child is going to be absent at the start of the day. Calls can be made to the school on 01457 853 611. We request that this is done by 8:45am at the latest. Please note that if you have emailed the school or a certain member of staff, this may be missed and you may still receive a call from the school.

When your child returns to school, we ask that you provide written confirmation of their absence by filling out the pro forma found on page 19 of their student planner.

Family holidays and extended leave during term time

Amendments to the registration regulations remove references to family holidays and extended leave as well as the threshold of ten school days. The amendments make it clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances, which came into force on 1st September 2013. The head teacher may only grant leave of absence where an application had been made in advance and the head teacher considers that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application. Granting permission in retrospect is very rare so following school procedure regarding requests for absence is very important.

Penalty fine

Should a school not agree to grant leave and parents take their child on holiday regardless, then this will be counted as unauthorised absence (truancy). The school and the Local Authority may consider issuing a Penalty Fine or this period of unauthorised absence. The penalty is £60, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If you don’t pay the fine you may be prosecuted. The same applies to parents who take a child out without seeking permission.

Absence From School

(Parental Responsibility)

*This contains a summary of Government guidelines or information*

When can your child miss school?

You can only allow your child to miss school if either:

  • They’re too ill to go in
  • You’ve got advance permission from the school

There is extra support available if your child cannot go to school for long periods because of a health problem.

Holidays in term time

You have to get permission from the head teacher if you want to take your child out of school during term time. You can only do this if:

  • You make an application to the head teacher in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with)
  • There are exceptional circumstances
  • It is up to the head teacher how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted.

You can be fined for taking your child on holiday during term time without the school’s permission.

Fixed Penalty Notice

A penalty notice is an alternative to prosecution. It requires the parent to pay a fixed amount as a fine for their child’s non-attendance and avoids court proceedings. It is intended to secure better attendance without taking legal action through the courts. The fine is currently £120 to be paid within 28 days; if the fine is paid within 21 days, payment reduces to £60. The fine applies to each parent for each child who fails to attend regularly and punctually.

What are your responsibilities as a parent or carer?

As a parent or carer you must make sure your child gets a full-time education that meets their needs. You can send your child to school or educate them yourself. Children must get an education between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.

The Government has raised the participation age (RPA) so that all young people in England are now required to remain in some form of education or training for longer. Pupils who left Year 11 in Summer 2013 had to continue in education or training for at least a further year until June 2014. Those pupils who left Year 11 in Summer 2014 are the first cohort required to continue until their 18th birthday.

RPA does not necessarily mean staying in school; young people have a choice about how they continue in education or training post-16. This could be through:

  • full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider;
  • full-time work or volunteering (20 hours or more) combined with part-time education or training; or
  • an apprenticeship or traineeship.

If your child is unexpectedly missing from school and the local council thinks you’re not giving them home education, you’ll be contacted by the school or the council’s educational welfare officer. They’ll contact you even if your child is only missing for a day.

You can be prosecuted if you don’t give your child an education. You’ll normally get warnings and offers of help from the local council first.

Changes to Persistent Absence Threshold for 2015-2016
*this contains a summary of Government guidelines or information*

The Department for Education have announced that the threshold for Persistent Absence will reduce from 15% to 10% from September 2015.

What does this mean?

Previously, the persistent absence (PA) threshold, of around 15%, meant that your child had to be absent from school for around 28 days or more to have reached the threshold for persistent absence. This would have triggered intervention from the Education Welfare Service (EWS), although intervention may have started earlier for pupils who had a history of persistent absence from school.

Persistent absence will reduce from 15% to 10% from September 2015.
This means that from September 2015 persistent absence (PA) data will include all pupils whose attendance is 90% or less.

If your child misses 19 or more days over a full academic year they will be classed as persistently absent.

Taking unauthorised leave of absence early in the year could mean your child will be categorised as persistently absent well into half term five but have perfect attendance from their return date onwards.

What can you do?

As a parent you play an essential role in supporting attendance. Persistent absence has a detrimental effect on your child’s educational progress and attainment.

Did you know?

Over a five year period a child whose attendance is at 90%, will miss a half of a school year; that’s a lot of lost education!

Legal Action to Enforce School Attendance

Local councils and schools can use various legal powers if your child is missing school without a good reason:

  • Parenting Order
  • Education Supervision Order
  • School Attendance Order
  • Penalty notice

You can be given one or more of these orders but the council does not have to do this before prosecuting you.

Parenting Order

This means you have to go to parenting classes. You’ll also have to do what the court says to improve your child’s school attendance.

Education Supervision Order

If the council thinks you need support getting your child to go to school but you’re not co-operating, they can apply to a court for an Education Supervision Order.

A supervisor will be appointed to help you get your child into education. The local council can do this instead of prosecuting you, or as well.

School Attendance Order

You’ll get a School Attendance Order if the local council thinks your child isn’t getting an education. You have 15 days to provide evidence that you’ve registered your child with a school or that you are giving them home education.

The order will require you to send your child to a specific school. If you don’t, you may be prosecuted.

Penalty Notice

Instead of being prosecuted, you can be given a penalty notice. The penalty is £60, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If you don’t pay the fine you may be prosecuted.


You could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months. The court also gives you a Parenting Order.