Leigh Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School

‘Live And Learn With Jesus’

Windermere Road, Leigh, Lancashire WN7 1UX


01942 674226


Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Leigh


Attendance Policy 2020


Live and Learn with Jesus.


We follow Jesus through fairness, kindness, love, friendship and happiness.




Leigh Sacred Heart Catholic Primary school is committed to providing a full and efficient education to all pupils and embraces the concept of equal opportunities for all.  We will endeavour to provide an environment where all pupils feel valued and welcome.

For a child to reach their full educational achievement a high level of school attendance is essential.  We will consistently work towards a goal of 100% attendance for all children.  Every opportunity will be used to convey to pupils and their parents or carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance. From the age of 5 years old parents have a duty to ensure their child attends school regularly.

School attendance is subject to various Education Laws and this school Attendance Policy is written to reflect these laws. (See also Appendix 1)

Each year school will examine its attendance figures and set attendance/absence targets.  These will reflect both national and local attendance targets.

The school will review its systems for improving attendance at regular intervals to ensure that it is achieving its set goals.

This policy will contain within it the procedures that school will use to meet its attendance targets.


The partnership between Parents/Carers and school.

Parents/Carers are primarily responsible for ensuring that children attend and stay at school. It is our responsibility to support attendance and to take seriously the problems which may lead to non-attendance.  We encourage parents to discuss their difficulties in this area with the Pastoral Lead and/or Head Teacher.

Parents/Carers should also ensure that children arrive for school on time, properly attired and in a condition to learn.  Furthermore, they need to see themselves as partners with the school in the education of their children.  This should include impressing upon their children the need to observe the school’s code of conduct and to reinforce this through discipline at home.

Information for Parents and Carers.

Parents and Carers are kept informed of the school expectations through;

  • The school prospectus
  • Admission Meetings
  • Parents Evenings
  • Home School Agreements
  • Education Penalty Notice Warning for Non-School attendance from Wigan Council

Governors will regularly review the school policy on attendance and are provided with details by the Head Teacher for the Annual Report to Parents/Carers.


School Procedures


Attendance registers are kept for each class in which at the beginning of each morning and afternoon session’s pupils are marked present or absent.  Absences are shown as authorised, unauthorised or as an approved educational activity using symbols laid down and agreed by the Local Authority (See Appendix 2).

Any child who is absent from school at the morning or afternoon registration period must have their absence recorded as being authorised, unauthorised or as an approved educational activity.  Only the Headteacher or a member of staff acting on their behalf can authorise absence.  If there is no known reason for the absence at registration then the absence must be recorded in the first instance as unauthorised.

Categorising Attendance

It is the school, within the context of the law, which approves absence.  If the school does not accept the explanation offered as a valid reason for absence than that absence will be registered as unauthorised.  Similarly, if there is no response to requests for written explanations regarding absence then they will be recorded as unauthorised.  School may request medical evidence before absence is authorised.

Working within a Code of Conduct, the Local Authority can issue a penalty notice to parents or carers if a child has missed a number of sessions without permission from the school.

Computer registers must be printed out at least once a month and bound into annual volumes.  Alternatively electronic backups or micro fiche copies can be made.  These also need preserving for at least three years.  Entries in paper registers MUST BE in ink.  All corrections must be clearly visible.

Register Security

School registers will be stored in the ‘blue box’ within the Admin Office in school.  They will be collected before morning and afternoon registration by named register monitors and delivered to the appropriate classes.  Once registration is completed by staff the registers will be returned to the Admin Office where they will be placed in the ‘blue box’.


Morning registration will take place at the start of school at 8.50 a.m. for KS2 and 8.55 a.m. for KS1 & FS.  The afternoon registration will be at 1.05 p.m. The registers will remain open for 30 minutes.  Any pupil arriving after this time will be marked as having an unauthorised absence unless there is an acceptable explanation i.e. school transport was delayed.  In cases for example where the absence at registration was for attending an early morning medical appointment, the appropriate authorised absence code will be entered (M).  For the medical code to be used an appropriate medical letter will need to be seen by office staff.

Pupils arriving after the start of school but before the end of the registration period will be treated for statistical purposes, as present, but will be coded as late (L) before the registers closed.  Any pupil arriving after the registers have closed at 9.30am, the appropriate code (U) will be used as an unauthorised absence.

All pupils who arrive late and enter school through the main office must be signed in by their Parent/Carer and a reason given for the lateness.


First Day Absence

It is the Parent/Carer’s responsibility to inform the school of the reason for a child’s absence as soon as possible.  Normally this should be done on the first day of absence and may be done through one of the following:

Where a child is ill the school should be notified of the nature of the illness and when this can be predicted, the date the child is expected to be able to return to school.

On return to school, the parent/carer should provide a written explanation of the reason for absence. In certain circumstances school may also request medical evidence to support reasons given for absence.  Wherever possible the school Pastoral Lead will operate a First Day Absence Calling Procedure for all cases of absence where a message has not been received. Home visits may be made by a member of the Pastoral Team. Other agencies may be contacted if we do not make contact with the family and have safeguarding concerns.

If we do not hear from you or any other family members and do not see the child/ren for 10 sessions we will need to investigate this absence through completing a Child Missing Education referral form (CME) – please visit the Wigan Council Website for further CME Policy information. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/550416/Children_Missing_Education_-_statutory_guidance.pdf 

Continued Absence

It is the parent/carer responsibility to continue to keep school informed of continuing absence.  Should a child remain absent beyond a reasonable time, then school will contact the parent/carer to ascertain the circumstances and offer help/support if necessary. Keeping your child off school with minor ailments such as headache, headlice or slight cold is not acceptable.  Repeated absences will require us to request that you obtain medical evidence this may include date stamped compliments slip, prescription and appointment letter. We have a medical appointment slip in the school office, we advise you to collect one of these if your child/ren has an appointment. If your child’s attendance drops below 90% absences may no longer be authorised. Attendance contracts and/or Early Helps may be offered to support your child’s attendance issues.

Leave of Absence/Holidays in Term Time

In line with the Local Authority and Government Guidelines school reminds parents/carers that they do not have an automatic right to take their children out of school for holidays in term time.  The Head Teacher MAY consider giving permission for a child to be absent in exceptional circumstances.

All requests for leave of absence during term time must be in writing to the Head Teacher using the ‘Request for Term Time Absence’ form at least six weeks before the date of absence; these can be located at the office.  Granting of Leave of Absence does not set a precedent for similar future requests and the frequency and duration of such leave periods will be considered when a decision is made.

If a child misses school without permission or if permission has been asked for but not given, it will be marked as unauthorised absence in the register and could result in the issuing of a Penalty Notice (fine) or other legal action being taken against the parent/carer (appendix 3).  Unauthorised absence will also be recorded if your child is off for longer than the agreed period of time.

Illness, Medical and Dental Appointments

If school is satisfied that a pupil is absent as a result of illness the absence is treated as authorised.  If there is any doubt about the validity of the explanation offered then the Head Teacher should be consulted. 

In cases where a pupil begins to develop a pattern of absences, the school will try to resolve the problem with the parent/carer.  If this is unsuccessful the school may refer to the School Health Adviser/School Nurse if the problem appears to be a medical one.  School may also request that medical evidence of illness be produced from a medical practitioner before any absences are authorised.  In cases of continued/frequent absence school may also refer to other agencies for support e.g. Startwell 0-19’s services and Attendance Enforcement Team.

Absence Notes

Notes received from parents explaining absence will be kept for the remainder of the academic year.  If there are concerns about the pupil, that may require further investigation, then these notes may be retained for a longer period.

Attendance Awards

School will continue to use the Gold Standard for the monitoring of attendance and attendance rewards.  Using the Gold Standard, attendance will be graded; Green Zone for attendance of 100% to 94.4%, Amber Zone for 94.3% to 92.5%, Red Zone for 92.4% and below. Weekly attendance awards will be given to the class with the best attendance and punctuality.  Parents/Carers will be informed termly of the Zone their child is in with an expectation of improvement for those in Amber and Red Zones.  At the end of each term those pupils with 100% attendance will receive a certificate and a treat in school.  Those pupils with 100% attendance at the end of each academic year will receive a certificate and appropriate attendance gift, as agreed by the School Council.

Attendance Targets

School will set attendance targets each year.  Performance towards the target will be regularly analysed and feedback provided to the Headteacher and Senior Management Team.  Our school target is for every child to achieve at least 96% or above, those children below this percentage will receive letters or phone calls.

Responsibility for Monitoring and Evaluation of Attendance

The role of monitoring and evaluation attendance will be undertaken by the Pastoral Lead with feedback provided to the Headteacher, Senior Management Team and Governing Body at least each half term.  In cases where a pupil begins to develop a pattern of absences or their attendance continues to fall, the school will invite parents/carers to attend a meeting to discuss the problem. This may mean a parent/carer will be asked to comply with an Early Help Plan. At this time it will be explained that no further absences will be authorised without medical evidence. The school may also refer to the School Nurse if the problem appears medical.

 Appendix 1

The Law

The Education Act 1996 Part 1, Section 7 states:

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable:-

  1. To their age, ability and aptitude and
  2. To any special needs they may have


Either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

For educational purposes the term ‘parent’ is used to include those that have parental responsibility and/or those that have the day to day care of the child.

The legislation that applies to children who are of compulsory school age and are registered at school is contained within this Act.

Part VI Section 444 contains the details of when an offence is committed if a child fails to attend school.

Register and Admission Roll keeping:

The legal requirements are found in: The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006.

Appendix 2

Register Codes

Appendix 3

Education Penalty Notice Warning for Non-School attendance

We have been asked to share this with you from Wigan Council.

Under the Education Act 1996, parents and carers have a duty to make sure their children regularly attend school.  If parents or carers fail to do this, they can be prosecuted.

Working within a Code of Conduct the Local Authority can issue a penalty notice to parents or carers if a child has missed a number of sessions without permission from the school.

If your child falls within one or more of these categories within a 12 week period

  • 10 sessions (5days) of authorised absence with under 90% attendance
  • 20 sessions (10days) of unauthorised absence
  • Persistently arrives late for school after the close of registers.

You could receive a Penalty Notice of £60 which will increase to £120 if not paid within 21 days.  The Penalty Notice will need to be paid in full before 28 days of the notice being served.  Failure to pay a Penalty Notice may result in prosecution (a separate Penalty Notice may be issued to each parent for each child).

In law, an offence is committed if a parent fails to secure a child’s regular attendance at school. Wigan Council Attendance Service, in conjunction with schools, will use these powers as an early deterrent to prevent patterns of unauthorised absence developing. You may also receive a Penalty Notice for the offence of failing to secure regular school attendance under the following circumstances;

  • You child is stopped on a truancy sweep
  • You fail to ensure that your child is not in a public place during the first 5 days of a fixed term or permanent exclusion.

The Local Authority and schools are committed to providing the best possible future for your child. If you have concerns about your child’s attendance at school or if you are experiencing any difficulties please contact school and ask for support.

Yours sincerely, headteacher.


Adapted: Summer Term 2020

Review Summer Term 2022