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St Mary's RC High School

St Mary’s RC High School

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Absence Procedures

Dear Parents/Carers


If your child is unable to attend school due to illness, urgent appointments or other reasons, please:

  • Contact the school office by phone (01432 850416) or email ( as early as possible (before 8.30am).
  • Contact the school office on each subsequent day of absence. 
  • If you contact the school by telephone, please send in an explanatory letter with your child on their return to school.  Absences will only be authorised on receipt of an email or letter.

If we do not hear from you, a member of the office staff may contact you, as we need to know that your child is safe and accounted for.

If the school is not informed of the reason for a child’s absence we are forced to record it as an Unauthorised Absence.  Unauthorised absences may ultimately result in legal action being taken.


Where possible we encourage all dental and non-urgent doctor appointments to be made out of school hours.   If this is unavoidable and you wish to collect your child during the school day, please:

  • Send a note in with your child explaining what the appointment is, on what day and time you need to collect them, and who will be collecting them.
  • If your child does not have a note, we cannot let them leave the school premises without the person collecting them signing them out at the School Office.
  • Wherever possible students should be returned to school after the appointment, when they should sign in at the School Office.


We understand that adverse circumstances will very occasionally force students to arrive late at school but would ask that all parents and carers remind students of the school rules regarding punctuality:

  • Students should arrive at school, and be in their form rooms or assembly, by 8.55am.
  • Students arriving late should sign in at the School Office and explain their lateness.


Whilst we recognise that it is more expensive to go away in school holidays, losing valuable school time is ultimately at the expense of your child’s education. 

From the 1st September 2013, a change in The Education Regulations means that Head Teachers cannot grant leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  If you feel that there are ‘special/exceptional’ circumstances, you need to gain permission by completing a letter and returning it to your child’s Head of Year a minimum of six weeks before the absence prior to any arrangements being made. 

Unauthorised absence may result in each parent/carer being issued with a £60 Penalty Notice per child, if paid within 21 days, or £120 where payment is made between 22 and 28 days. Non-payment may result in increased fines or legal action in accordance with the 1996 Education Act. 

The Government is putting pressure on schools to keep attendance high as there is a clear link with GCSE success.  Students are required to attend school for 190 days each year.  St Mary’s target for attendance is at least 95%.

  • An attendance record of 90% may seem good but it is equal to one day missed per fortnight.  If this continues throughout Years 7 to 11 a total of six months’ education will be lost.
  • An attendance record of 80% is equal to one day missed per week.  If this continues throughout Years 7 to 11 a total of one year’s education will be lost.

You can view a breakdown of your child’s attendance by logging into the ePortal database.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s attendance, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Head of Year.

Student attendance at St Mary’s is generally very good and we hope that this continues, and with good communication it may even improve.

Yours faithfully

Mr M Fitzgerald
Assistant Head Teacher