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As you are aware, it is the role of the school ensure we promote attendance, but parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their pupil receives a full time education. Regular attendance and good punctuality directly correlates to a child’s achievement at school and subsequent future success. At St. Mary’s, we are driven by the desire to unleash the God-given potential of every child, and the best way to achieve this is through excellent attendance. We always aim to work in partnership with parents/carers to achieve the best outcomes for all our pupils, therefore please contact your child’s form tutor if you have any queries or concerns.

We expect the highest level of attendance and punctuality from our pupils.  Evidence clearly shows that pupils who attend school regularly (97%+) make significantly better progress both academically and holistically than those that do not.  It is vital pupils attend school on time every day that the school is open.

All absences affect a child’s education and regular absence will seriously affect their learning.  Pupils often find it difficult to catch up on learning that they have missed and absence can lead them to fall behind their peers.  This can affect how a student feels about school and can make their attendance even worse.  Statistics suggest that a student whose attendance is below 94% will drop at least one grade across all their subjects.

A Reminder of our Attendance Procedures

Authorised Absence


Any planned unavoidable absence should be requested through the submission of a ‘Term Time Leave of Absence Form’, which can be collected from reception or downloaded here. They must be returned to either our attendance email address (attendance@stmaryschesterfield.org.uk) or reception.  The school is only permitted to authorise planned absence for:

  • Family Funeral (up to 2 days)
  • Immediate Family Wedding (1-3 days)
  • Elite Sporting Events
  • Pupil Local Authority License (up to 3 days)
  • Pantomime Rehearsals – Local authority License Required
  • Child/Parent Rehabilitation (GP letter must be provided)
  • Religious Observance


The Department for Education has made it clear that schools are not to authorise absence for any holidays during term time.

Please note: Whilst the above absences are authorised, this will still count against your child’s overall attendance. The authorisation ensures we know the reason for absence and we appreciate your support with this.

Unplanned Absence

It is the duty of the parent/carer to inform school of any absence. Parents should email attendance@stmaryschesterfield.org.uk. Alternatively, parents may leave a message on our dedicated absence line 01246 201191.  

We will only authorise absence in the following instances (this will still count against your child’s overall attendance; we class this absence as ‘authorised’ as we understand the reason for the absence): 

  • For sickness or ill health
  • For medical or dental appointments which fall during school hours
  • For a family emergency

Any parent or carer who has not reported their child as absent will be contacted by the school by text message or phone call. Failure to follow this procedure may result in the child receiving an unauthorised absence and could lead to us informing the local attendance officer.

Leaving School During the Day

If your child has to leave school during the day for an appointment, he/she must get an Absence Slip signed by their Head of Year. These can be found at the back of the student planner. You must provide a letter explaining why your child needs to leave school early before staff can sign the absence slip. This absence slip is then handed in to reception when your child signs the Exit Book and is collected from school.

School Refusal

There may be instances when a child, for a number of reasons, is reluctant to come to school. Please let the school know immediately so that we can work with parents/carers to resolve it quickly before it becomes an attendance problem.


Punctuality to school is extremely important. Pupils who are late to school will be challenged. Pupils who are late to school without a good reason will be given a same-day 15-minute detention that will take place afterschool. Pupils who are persistently late or fail to attend their same day detention will receive further sanctions, in line with policy. If a pupil is late due to an issue with a school bus, then we would understand that their lateness is not the fault of the child.



Possible intervention


Excellent  100-97%

Letter of congratulation

100% attendance postcard

Half term

Radar  97-95%

Notification Letter

When a child’s attendance falls below 97% they will have a meeting with their Form Tutor in the first instance.


4 weeks

Concern 95%-92%

Letter 2

If your child’s attendance falls between 95-92%, they may be spoken to by their Head of Year.

Phone call/meeting with Head of Year and parents.

Home visits can take place. 

4 weeks

Alert  92%-90%

Letter 3

Raising Attendance Panel – Head of Year

Attendance contract – signed by parents and pupil.

Home visit priority.

Mentoring and intervention.

External agency support if necessary

4 weeks

Critical – below 90%

(Classed as ‘Persistent Absentee’ by the Government)

Letter 4 – Persistent Absentee

Significant intervention – parents/carers meeting with pupil.

Afterschool catch up sessions

Social care referral – when appropriate

External agency support

Fixed Penalty Notice

4 weeks