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Dear Parent / Carer,

The staff of St Joseph’s always want our students to attend regularly and achieve their very best. We have been given guidance from the Local Authority regarding absence and holidays in 2017-18 and the Supreme Court judgement which there is a link to.

The school attendance monitoring team have been implementing interim procedures for penalty notices for unauthorised leave of absence, since just before the end of the Summer term last year.  This was because of the uncertainty following the Isle of Wight v Platt case.  In May 2017 the Supreme Court issued a ruling that reinforced the measures previously used by the Local Authority.

Following this decision, the attendance monitoring team will, from September 2017,  return to its original policy of enforcing all unauthorised leave of absence of 10 sessions or more, regardless of overall attendance levels.  In the meantime the current interim procedures will continue for the remainder of this academic year.

Consequently holidays will be unauthorised unless they fall under “exceptional circumstances”. The LEA will also monitor absence for any sustained period of absence and may give fines in these cases.

We look forward to your continued support throughout the remaining part of this academic year and into 2017-18. The link below takes you to the Supreme Court’s ruling.


Mr Perkins

Supreme Court Attendance Judgement


In order to provide students with the best chance of a successful education we advocate, encourage and reward good attendance at school.

It is one of our aims that all of our students attend 100% of the time and maintain an average attendance rate of no less than 95% (the government considers 90% or less to be a persistent absentee).

When a student is absent we will phone home on the first day of absence, unless a telephone call has been received prior to this. This immediately authorises the absences and helps eliminate cases of truancy. If our records show that a student’s attendance is regularly falling below this figure, the Head of Year will contact the parents as part of the process of identifying the nature of any problems which may be contributing to the student’s poor attendance.

There is a misconception that students are allowed to take 10 days holiday in term time per academic year for an annual family holiday.

The DFE expects schools to actively discourage all holidays in term time.

(DFE September 2013) Holidays during term time are therefore not allowed and can only be approved in exceptional circumstances as they can lead to the following consequences:

– The education of the student is disrupted and therefore suffers.

– Work for Public examinations and school assessments are missed and the teaching of this can never be regained.

– Vital lessons and extra-curricular activities are missed.

– Continuity of course work and project work is lost.

– Friendship groups can break down.

– The tutor group is disrupted.

– School attendance figures are disrupted.

There is clear evidence that success in public examinations can be related directly to school attendance and the in advisability of taking holidays during term time is undisputed.

School policy on this is that holidays during term time will not be authorised by the school.

Please try whenever possible to keep routine dental doctor appointments to after 4.00pm or during school holidays. We recognise this isn’t always possible, but your child’s education will benefit ultimately from minimal disruption.

Good attendance is a matter for praise and recognition. Students with an excellent attendance record are awarded a prize at the annual prize giving ceremony.

Absence from School and Truancy
  1. Any other absences known in advance e.g. hospital appointments should be noticed to the group tutor in writing before the event.
  2. If your child is absent because of illness then it is helpful to telephone the school and leave a message with the secretary.
  3. If the illness lasts three days or more then please write or telephone by the third day.
  4. When your child returns to school, please give them a note which indicates the days/dates that you have kept them at home. This is extremely helpful in combating any temptation the student may have to truant. Heads of Year monitor attendance and punctuality by examining the registers every week. They compare the attendance of known friendship groups and look for any emerging patterns of late coming or absence. Group tutors also have a role in this monitoring process as they are the people who receive the absence notes which students hand in on their return to school.
Information Regarding Potential Fines

Holidays can only be granted in ‘exceptional circumstances’. Due to government legislation, holidays are very likely to be unauthorised. If this is the case then both parents may be issued with a fine. This fine may rise to £120 each. The government state that any student with less than 90% attendance is a persistent absentee. This will mean that the local authority will be involved and could mean a home visit and potentially a fine. Our advice is to book your holidays outside of term time and to try, where possible, to send your child to school every day.

Request for leave of absence in term time

A form can be obtained from reception or downloaded by clicking the button below. Authorisation will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

Leave of Absence Request Form