Although we have left the following information on our website, there are different attendance protocols in place currently.

Whilst we encourage good attendance, we know that parents will continue to have to make difficult decisions in the current climate. We support parents in these decisions.

However, where there is no illness at home, we would encourage all students to attend school.


Student Attendance

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.


What is Regular School Attendance

  • Attending school everyday unless there is a very good reason for absence.
  • Getting to school on time.
  • Being present at school for both morning and afternoon sessions.

At St Joseph’s Catholic High School, we use the following to categorise attendance:

What does your attendance percentage mean?
99% – 100% – Excellent97% – 98.9% – Very good
95% – 96.9% – Good92% – 94.9% – Needs to improve

90% – 91.9% – Poor, Immediate improvement needed

Below 90% – Serious cause for concern


Key Contact Information

If students are not in school then they must have a justifiable reason and parents/carers should:

  • Telephone the 01900 873290 ,select the attendance option and leave 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 – You must telephone the school each day that your child is absent.
    • 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.

School should be advised of any medical condition that may prevent your child school attending school on a regular basis.


Leave of Absence

Leave of absence requests should be made 5 days prior the absence, parents should provide the following and this should be sent via email to

  • An official letter / appointment card. We understand that medical appointments are often sent via a text message and in this case a screenshot of the appointment is satisfactory and should be attached to the email.

If you are unbale to send the information via email please ask your child to pass this information on to their head of year in the morning. Alternatively, parents can bring the evidence into school and reception staff will scan the document and send it to the attendance office.

We do not authorise full days absence unless the circumstances are unavoidable, e.g, full day medical procedure or long-distance travel.

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

Holidays are not permitted during term-time and will be recorded as “G” (unathorised holiday) on the register. This is an unauthorised absence and will impact your child’s attendance.



Punctuality is an important part of self-discipline and is essential to good time management.  Students should arrive at school promptly at 8.47am.

  • If students arrive after 8.50am, then they must sign in late with their head of year, who will be located at the entrance to the year area. They will note reason for lateness and monitor this.
  • Any students arriving from 9.00 – 9.15am will be required to sign in with the Attendance Officer at reception. Students will be marked late in the register
  • From 9.15am, students will use inventory to sign in this is located at reception, late students will go straight to lessons and the Attendance team will check reasons for lateness.


Student Inclusion and the Local Authority

St Joseph’s Catholic High 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.

10% or more unauthorised absence may lead to a court summons and fine issued by the Inclusion Officer for Attendance.  Parents may also be fined for taking their child on holiday.

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.

Parents can face legal and financial sanctions if their child fails to attend school

  • Fixed Penalty Notices to the amount of £120, this amount will reduce to £60 if paid within 21 days.
  • An Education Supervision Order issued by the family court.
  • Prosecution in a Magistrates’ court.


For Attendance issues please contact:

  • Mrs Laura Cross, Attendance Officer, 01900 873290
  • Mrs Eldon – Head of Year 7
  • Mr Stuart – Head of Year 8&9
  • Mrs Hodgson – Head of Year 10
  • Miss Donaldson – Head of Year 11
  • Mrs Julie Topping, Inclusion Officer for Attendance, Allerdale and Copeland, 01539 713441


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 as per instructions above)
  • 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.