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School Attendance

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At St. John Fisher, we give a high priority to attendance and punctuality, recognizing their critical role in our students' academic and personal development. We are committed to supporting all our students in achieving the highest standards in these two essential aspects of school life. Regular attendance ensures that students do not miss out on valuable learning experiences, leading to better academic outcomes and a stronger foundation for future success. Punctuality fosters discipline and responsibility, preparing students for the demands of higher education and the workforce. By consistently working towards a goal of 100% attendance for all children, we aim to maximize their educational opportunities and help them reach their full potential. Our commitment is reflected in the strategies and interventions we implement to promote regular attendance and timely arrival, ensuring that every student has the best chance to thrive academically and socially.

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Importance of Attendance and Punctuality

At St. John Fisher, we firmly believe that good attendance and punctuality are essential if pupils are to reach their full potential. We strive for all of our pupils to have 100% attendance and to maintain an impeccable punctuality record.

Impact of Poor Attendance

We know from many years of experience that pupils who regularly miss school achieve grades significantly below their peers who maintain excellent attendance. Of pupils whose attendance is below 50%, only 3% achieve 5 or more higher grade passes when they come to leave secondary school. In contrast, of pupils who have an attendance of 95% or above, 73% achieve 5 or more higher grade passes.

Social and Future Impact

Poor attendance affects pupils’ socialisation and can have a detrimental impact on their employability and future life chances. According to government research, pupils who have poor attendance when they are in school are significantly more likely to not be in education, employment, or training post-16.

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Absence Due to Illness

We understand that there are times when attending school simply isn’t possible – due to debilitating illness or other significant circumstances. It might be useful to refer to the NHS’s guidance to help you make a decision when instances of this nature arise. Is my child too ill for school?

If your child is absent from school, you are required to contact the absence line each day on 01942 510715. You will be prompted to leave a message explaining why they are absent. However, instances of this nature are, for the most part, few and far between and so most pupils should be in school most of the time.

Medical Appointments and Term-time holidays

Where possible, we ask that you try to book dental and medical appointments outside of school hours. However, we understand that this is not always possible; if a child needs to leave school during the day, it is essential that you provide them with a note beforehand and that an adult collects them. We expect pupils to return to school after their appointment so that disruption to their learning is minimised.

We strongly discourage families from arranging term-time holidays; unless in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Headteacher, the school does not authorise them.

School Start Time and Lateness

The school day commences at 8:30. Any pupil arriving after this time will be marked as late and issued with a breaktime detention that morning. Pupils who accrue numerous late marks will experience escalating sanctions including Head of Year detentions and Senior Leadership detentions.

Legal Responsibilities of Parents

Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure that their child attends school. Some strategies to support you in promoting excellent attendance and punctuality include:

  • Ensuring that your child has an established and consistent nighttime regime.

  • Ensuring that your child avoids exposure to mobile phones, games consoles, and other electronic devices during the night.

  • Building a culture of resilience when your child experiences minor illnesses such as a cough or mild cold.

  • Showing a keen interest in your child’s education and encouraging them to achieve their potential.

  • Modelling a positive attitude to work and education.

  • If your child exhibits a reticence to attend school, make immediate contact with their Form Tutor so that the issue is dealt with promptly.

School Support and Interventions

As parents, you want your children to reach their God-given potential and as a school, we will do all that we can to make that happen. Ensuring regular attendance at school is the platform to making this a reality. Your child’s Head of Year and Form Tutor will regularly review attendance and interventions will be implemented if it falls below our minimum expectations. Such interventions may include:

  • Conducting home visits

  • Involving the school-based police officer

  • Requesting medical evidence to justify absence on medical grounds

  • Issuing fixed penalty warning letters and fines (see the following document for details)

Attendance Rewards and Consequences

Pupils whose attendance and punctuality are consistently good are frequently rewarded with certificates, prize draws, form group celebrations, and are invited to participate in rewards trips.

Pupils whose attendance and/or punctuality is below our expectations without good reason will be prevented from participating in rewards activities including the annual trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and (for Year 11) the Leavers’ Ball. In some cases, the local authority may intervene by conducting home visits and initiating legal proceedings to issue penalty notices.

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