What is good attendance?

There is sometimes a perception that an attendance rate of 90% is good.  This is because an examination score of 90% means excellence.  However, as an attendance rate, 90% is unsatisfactory, it equates to missing 20 days per year. We consider below 92% as approaching persistent absence.  The whole school attendance target this year is 97%.


Why might the impact of poor attendance be on your child?

Government research shows that students who have less than 90% attendance (20 or more days missed in a year) achieve, on average, a whole grade lower than expected in examinations. There is a link between the number of days a child is absent and their average earnings in later life. A child is not in school 175 days a year – plenty of time to go shopping, take holidays, visit family or attend routine appointments.

Having good attendance is not all about attainment; your child is also developing essential social skills which will benefit them in their future endeavours.

A parent/carer has a legal responsibility to ensure that his/her child attends school regularly.

 Why is good attendance important?

Every lesson really does count for your child, children can quickly fall behind if even one day is missed, catching up even a little lost time from school can be really difficult.  Good attendance is linked to achievement, better relationships with other children and better overall behaviour in school.  Good attendance is not just about what happens in school, absences when your child is young can limit their future opportunities and set up bad habits for work and life. As parents and school we need to support our children in maximizing their achievements.

 How can you support and encourage our child to have excellent attendance and punctuality?

Ensure your child is fully prepared for school each day, organise your child’s school uniform and encourage your child to check they have the correct. equipment, homework and PE kit the night before.

  • Ensure you child attends school every day and arrives on time, in order to keep up with school work.
  • Show your child that you think school is very important.
  • Praise your child’s achievements.
  • Get them into good habits early on.
  • Recognise that children can get into bad habits from an early age and that these are hard to break later.
  • Attend any meetings in school to which you are invited.
  • Let the school know as soon as there are any problems or changes.
  • Do not keep your child at home if your child is worried or has a problem, e.g. bullying. The best way to support your child is to ask for a meeting in school to explain any difficulties and to address problems. The more time your child is absent from school, the harder it will be for them to return.
  • Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep and wakes up in good time for the school day.
  • Organise non-urgent medical appointments outside of school time.
  • Take time to talk to your child about what they have done in school.
  • Contact the school at the first opportunity if your child is genuinely ill or is unable to attend.
  • Talk to someone at the school if there is a problem or reason why your child finds it difficult to attend regularly.

 Excellent attendance gives your child a better opportunity to:

  • make new friends;
  • learn and enjoy new experiences;
  • develop skills that you will need in later life;
  • take part in a wide range of activities in and outside of SMA
  • learn how to look after themselves and encourage independence;
  • feel safe and listened to;
  • improve their chances of having a good career or life chances;
  • make a positive contribution to the SMA community.

 The importance of punctuality

Whilst overall our pupils arrive at school on time, we can still have a small number of pupils who can arrive late to school. Parents may not be aware of the difficulties experienced by children even when they are only a few minutes late each day.

A few important points to remember:

  • Being late to school reduces learning time.
  • 10 minutes late a day = almost a whole hour of lessons missed each week, over the school year this equates to 2 whole weeks.
  • Your child will miss his/her teacher’s announcements for the day, given out in tutor time or lesson.
  • Arriving late to their tutor time or lesson causes disruption to the whole class as well as to your child.
  • Children are often very embarrassed and upset at coming into class late.
  • Your child will receive a lunchtime standards detention if they are late to school.

In all cases of absence, parents should:

  • Contact the absence line to report an absence.
  • Keep school informed if more than one day’s absence is necessary.
  • Avoid medical appointments in school time, but if necessary please bring your child into school first and return after the appointment.
  • Only keep your child away from school if really necessary.  Please consider sending them in, and if necessary – we can send them home.

Tel: 0151 2605522

Dental & Medical Treatments

Whilst the school will grant requests for absence for dental and medical treatments, parents/carers are encouraged, whenever possible, to book medical and dental appointments outside of the school day. When appointments during school hours are unavoidable, school should be notified in advance in writing, of the date and time of the appointment and when the child will be collected. It is expected that the child will return to school after any appointment if before 2.15pm. Evidence of the appointment will be requested

 Leave of absence/Holidays

As a school, it is disappointing when parents decide to take students on holiday during term time as this removes them from the learning that their peers are receiving. Parents are not permitted to take their children on holiday out of school, during term time, without permission from the Headteacher. In September 2013, government guidelines advise that no absence should be authorised in advance except when due to ‘exceptional circumstances’. They will be marked as unauthorised holidays. All exceptional cases need to be discussed with the Principal and requests should be made in writing at least 28 days before.

Leave of Absence Request Form

If your child is taken on holiday, then the below will apply:

  • They will not be allowed to go on any rewards trips or events for 365 days after their first day of return.
  • They will be required to attend catch-up club for the same number of consecutive days as they have missed due to the holiday E.g. 5 days off school due to holiday results in 5 catch-up clubs.
  • Parents may receive a fine for the holiday taken for each parent per child.
  • If a student in Year 11 goes on holiday, then they will not be allowed to go to prom.


 What happens if your child does not attend school regularly?

  • You will be contacted by the Attendance lead.
  • You may be invited to attend a meeting in school to discuss how we can work together to improve your child’s attendance and to set up an attendance support plan.
  • As a school, we are responsible by law for reporting poor attendance to the local authority.
  • As a parent, you are committing an offence if you fail to make sure that your child attends school regularly.
  • You run the risk of being issued with a penalty notice or being taken to court.
  • A child who has an attendance figure of 90% or below is now classed by the government as ‘a child with persistent absence’.

What is persistent absence?

A pupil is defined as a ‘Persistent Absentee’ if they miss approximately 10% or more of all possible school sessions (attendance of 90% or below), regardless of whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised.

Your child is regarded as approaching persistent absence if their attendance below 92%. If their attendance is below 92% then they will be ineligible for rewards trips unless there are exceptional circumstances, which will be reviewed individually.