Attendance and Punctuality

St Joseph's sets an annual target for attendance and expects all children to aim for 100% attendance to ensure they receive every opportunity to reach their full potential. Just one day of absence means 6 hours of missed learning opportunities. Likewise, late arrival at school impacts on your child’s learning as they miss the morning welcome and the introduction to the lesson. This can be detrimental to their self esteem, as it can be embarrassing for your child, so please ensure your child is always on time.

Both attendance and punctuality are the legal responsibility of the parent. If a child is unwell, then certainly the best place for the child is at home but, apart from personal illness, children must attend school all day and every day. Missing school for any other reasons may well affect social and educational progress.

If a child is not in school, parents are required to phone the school before 8.30am to let us know the reason for their child’s absence. Alternatively, parents can email the name of the child, class and reason for absence to

If we do not receive a phone call or email from a parent we will then attempt to contact the parent ourselves. We will do this for two reasons; firstly to make sure that the parent is aware that their child is not in school and secondly to enable us to officially record the absence. For safeguarding purposes, parents must contact the school on every day of their child’s absence unless the school has been notified that the child will definitely be absent for a specific period of time. If the school has not had a reasonable explanation for absence, the school will seek advice from the Attendance Team at Buckinghamshire County Council.

Following any long period of absence, written confirmation for the reason is required on return to school. Where applicable, please also provide a copy of any documentation associated with the absence such as a hospital letter or appointment card.

Parents do not have an automatic right to withdraw pupils from school and according to the relevant legislation, parents have to apply for permission in advance. St Joseph’s WILL NOT authorise any requests for holidays in term time.  We cannot legally authorise more than ten days absence in a school year unless there are extenuating circumstances. If your child will not be able to attend school and you know of the reason in advance, please arrange an appointment to speak with the Attendance Officer in the first instance. Each situation is considered individually, in line with current policies and guidelines, to determine if the absence will be officially authorised on the school register. The most important consideration is the effect the absence would have on the child’s education.

Parents who choose to take their child out of school during term time will each be issued with a £120 Education Penalty Notice Fine per child (reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days of issue date)

Routine appointments should be arranged out of school hours or during the 14 weeks of school holidays. Where an interruption to the school day is unavoidable, for example an urgent medical appointment, please arrange this for as late in the day as possible to avoid your child missing the essential learning skills which mainly take place in the morning sessions.

Punctuality at both ends of the day is an important factor in your child’s learning progress. Children who are ‘left behind’ when everyone else has gone home can become very distressed. Sometimes parents are unavoidably detained. The school will expect a phone call in this circumstance.  

Persistent late arrival or late collection after school will be tracked and you may be asked to meet and discuss this with the Attendance Officer