Attendance – Why Good Attendance is Essential

Children are at the heart of our Christian motto – Let Your Light Shine Matthew 5:16

At St James, we believe every child has a light, their own light and with support and nourishment, they will be able to shine. Our shared vision is that our children are happy to come to school, they feel safe and well cared for. They feel challenged and supported in their learning and are excited by their learning opportunities. With this happiness and love of learning, they attend school every day, which in turn brings them academic success and the opportunity to reach their potential. Attending school means that children can make friends, improve their social skills and build positive relationships to prepare them for life.

As a school, we maintain that academic success is linked to high attendance and we have high expectations for all of our children to reach their greatest potential.

The Attendance Team (Deputy Head Teacher: Mrs J Pritchard, Senior Office Manager: Mrs N Sagoo and Learning Mentor: Mrs J Buckle) will monitor attendance and regularly promote the importance of good attendance and punctuality. They will use attendance data to identify any patterns of concern and look to work with families to identify the barriers to achieving and maintaining excellent attendance and offer the right service at the right time to try to resolve any difficulties. Our aim is to build strong relationships with our families, to ensure that every child registered at the school attends every day and arrives punctually. We will listen to issues around attendance and work with families to remove these so that poor attendance does not become ‘the norm’. Our emphasis is on support before sanctions. Attendance concerns will be raised with parents if reasons are not known by the school. Where we have concerns, or lack of engagement from families to improve attendance, we will follow the Local Authority’s Fast Track to Attendance guidance. Early Help is offered, in the first instance, with Mrs Pritchard and/or Mrs Buckle making referrals to outside agencies where appropriate. If attendance does not improve, parents/carers are invited to a school attendance review meeting (SARM) with Mrs Pritchard and Mrs Sagoo where the potential for legal intervention is made clear.

Our aim is to always to work in partnership with parents and any referral for legal intervention is deemed to be a last resort at St. James.   Throughout the school year, the Deputy Head Teacher will report on the overall attendance figures including those for different groups, monitoring of support which is reported to the Governing Body. 


We use the following percentages to classify our attendance.

98%+ Excellent

95 – 97% Good

90 – 94% - Concern (poor)

Below 90% -  High Concern – officially ‘persistently absent’

Expectations are communicated with parents at the beginning of every academic year and on a regular basis via our newsletters. Attendance figures for each child will be reported to parents as part of their annual report, we will also share a child’s attendance printout with parents/relevant agencies if we have concerns regarding a child’s attendance.

The table below is included in the information shared.


Attendance during one school year

equals this number of days absent

which is approximately this many weeks ‘absent

which means this many lessons missed


9 days

2 weeks

50 lessons


19 days

4 weeks

100 lessons


29 days

6 weeks

150 lessons


38 days

8 weeks

200 lessons


Our expectation of parents/carers:

  • Parents have a legal responsibility for ensuring that their child attends school regularly.
  • Parents promote a good attitude to learning by ensuring their child arrives at school punctually – in time for the start of registration (8.55am) every day, in correct uniform and have everything that they need to fulfil school expectations with regard to learning.
  • Parents ensure that they contact school as soon as possible if their child is absent for any unavoidable reason (and by10.00am at the latest). 
  • Parents are expected to attend meetings when requested and support the school in responding to ongoing attendance concerns.
  • Parents should plan holidays and family visits during the school holidays. If the need for leave of absence is absolutely unavoidable, parents should complete a ‘Request for Leave’ and seek permission from the Head Teacher as far in advance of the period for which leave is to be requested as possible and before making any travel arrangements.
  • Parents should plan routine medical/dental check-ups/optician appointments during the school holidays.


Our expectation of class teachers:

  • Class teachers are key staff members in promoting regular, punctual attendance.
  • Class teachers will regularly remind children and parents of the importance of good attendance.
  • Class teachers will provide a good example by always being punctual and meeting children at the door – providing a welcoming and safe environment, which encourages attendance and the best performance from children.
  • Class teachers will keep an accurate and up to date register on time, at the start of each morning and afternoon session.
  • Class teachers will report any concerns regarding attendance matters concerning the class group to Mrs Sagoo/Mrs Pritchard.
  • Class teachers will inform parents of their child’s attendance at parent’s evenings and on end of year reports.
  • Class teachers will ensure children receive rewards in relation to attendance and punctuality success – aligned to the Attendance Policy.
  • Class teachers will build a welcoming atmosphere in the classroom and provide support as necessary when children return after an absence.


Our expectation of children:

  • Children should aim to have excellent attendance and punctuality for which there are appropriate rewards.
  • Children should arrive at school on time and ready to learn.


Promoting excellent attendance

The school will employ a wide range of strategies to promote excellent attendance:

  • Teachers will regularly communicate with children and parents on attendance matters.
  • Clear attendance information will be communicated to parents, staff, children and governors within the Attendance and Punctuality Policy and on the school website.
  • Good, regular attendance will be highlighted in the Induction meetings for new parents.
  • An Attendance and Punctuality noticeboard is displayed in the school hall. It is changed weekly, highlighting the best attending class in KS1 and KS2 as well as demonstrating progress to the ‘96% Attendance Challenge’.
  • Informing parents, staff, children and governors on the school newsletter fortnightly.

The school aims to encourage excellent attendance, where the children’s efforts are acknowledged and rewarded. Rewards will be various and may include:

  • Termly certificates to individuals with excellent attendance.
  • Termly prizes for attendance.
  • Attendance Teddy/weekly prize awarded to class who has best attendance in KS1 and KS2.
  • Weekly ‘96% Attendance Challenge’ – a class will celebrate their collective success. When a class achieves 96% or above they receive a token. When they have collected 6 tokens, they will receive a class reward of their choice.
  • All classes with excellent attendance highlighted and promoted within fortnightly newsletter.
  • Certificates/letters for improved attendance.