Attendance and Punctuality


Good attendance and punctuality are important for achieving success at school and are also important life skills.  Absence from school disrupts learning and hinders progress.  Ensuring regular attendance at school is a legal responsibility for parents/carers.

Attendance is important and is closely linked to attainment.  Students who are not in school are not learning and could potentially be allowing their grades to suffer.  Unless a student is genuinely ill, they should be in school and working hard to achieve their best, no matter what year group they are in.

The proper place for students to be on a school day is at school.  If they are not in school then they must have a justifiable reason and parents/carers should:
• telephone the 01900 873290 by 9.00am and leave a message, giving your child’s full name, tutor group, reason for absence (if this is an illness please state the nature of the illness) and your name
• email this information to

If you do not let us know that your child is ill, their absence will be classed as unauthorised, and you will receive a message from the school’s first day response system.

We will only authorise absence due to ‘exceptional’ circumstances (more information can be found on the ‘Leave for Exceptional Circumstances page).

The process of education is a life-long journey of building on knowledge and so students who skip school are damaging their future.  Holiday’s during term time are not authorised.

If students are away from school for more than 3 days then parent/carers will be asked to provide medical evidence for this absence.  School should be advised of any medical condition.

Unavoidable requests for leave of absence should be made well in advance of the date and a request for leave form should be completed which can be collected from the school reception.

Students who leave school with good examination grades go on to enjoy a successful and happy working career.  However an excellent attendance record is required in order for students to give education their best shot.


Punctuality is an important part of self-discipline and is essential to good time management.  Students should arrive at school promptly at 8.45am in order to be in their tutor group by 8.50am (first lesson on Thursday).

If students arrive after 8.50am, then they must sign in late with the school office.  Students will be marked late in the register and will need a note or medical appointment card explaining the reason for the late arrival.


St Joseph’s Catholic School works closely with the Local Authority to ensure that all young people of compulsory school age in Cumbria have access to, and are included in, education.  We liaise regularly with the Local Authority Inclusion Officer in order to identify students who are vulnerable in terms of their attendance, and to support such students in improving their attendance.

The Local Authority and its Inclusion Officer also has an enforcing role in relation to school attendance and employment.  Any action the service takes is always with the welfare of young people as the first and paramount consideration.

Fifteen per cent or more unauthorised absence during a six week period may lead to a penalty notice and fine issued by the Inclusion Officer for Attendance.  Parents may also be fined for taking their child on holiday.

For Attendance issues please contact:

• Mrs Laura Cross, Attendance Officer, 01900 873290
• Mrs Julie Topping, Inclusion Officer for Attendance, Allerdale and Copeland, 01539 713441

In the last academic year alone:

• 7.7 million school days were lost due to absence
• Only 10% of persistent absentees achieved the five A* – C grades compared with 38% of occasional absentees and 58% of good attenders nationally
• 21% of persistent absentees left school with no qualifications

Tutors will be able to tell students what their attendance is whenever they ask but will automatically be given this information every half term.


90% = half a day per week
80% = 1 day per week
70% = 1 and a half days per week
60% = 2 days per week
50% = 2 and a half days per week
40% = 3 days per week
30% = 3 and a half days

Leave of Absence in Term Time for Exceptional Circumstances

Changes to legislation in September 2013 make it clear that Head teachers may not grant leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional’ circumstances.  The changes also remove references to family holiday and extended leave.
Under the current legislation the following absence requests will not meet the criteria for approval unless clear and specific ‘exceptional’ circumstances can be demonstrated:
• Cheaper holidays in England and abroad
• Family holidays due to convenience (because of parental work commitments)
• Family trips (concerts, football matches, exhibitions, social events)
• Birthdays
• Looking after family
• Visiting relatives

Some examples of ‘exceptional’ circumstances that would be considered:
• Genuine illness
• Medical appointments that cannot be made outside school time (we will need to see the appointment card/letter)
• Funerals
• Serious illness to a close family member
• Religious observance days
• Representation in national or county sporting teams

All requests will be considered individually.  Supporting evidence must be provided where appropriate.  Requests should be received by school at least four weeks prior to the date of absence where possible.
The Request for Leave of Absence in Term Time form can be collected from the school reception.

Application for leave of Absence in Term Time (Word Document)

Application for leave of Absence in Term Time (PDF)