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Holy Cross Catholic

Primary School

Building relationships with God and each other,
working hard in faith and hope to give our best in all things.

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Building relationships with God and each other,
working hard in faith and hope to give our best in all things.

Attendance and Punctuality

Changes to Attendance and Punctuality Monitoring


Important changes to start of school day and attendance and punctuality monitoring from September 2022.

  • The school day will start promptly at 8:45am. 
  • Gates will be open from 8:30am, children will be late from 8:50am.
  • Children later than 8:55am will receive an unauthorised absence.
  • Fixed penalty notices (£60 fine, per child, per parent) will be issued for 12 sessions (6 school days) of unauthorised absences.
  • No term time holidays, family days out or family occasions will be authorised during term time.
  • Written evidence required for all absences or specific details recorded on Studybugs if your child is unwell.


Following updated statutory guidance from the Department for Education to all schools we need to  make changes to our school days and attendance monitoring.  You would have received information about changes to the start of the school day in the newsletter over the last few weeks and about changes to our attendance and punctuality monitoring in the letter attached to your child’s end of year report.  We are writing to you to clarify these arrangements and to give you advanced warning of the changes.


When your children return to school on Tuesday 6th September in line with updated guidance from the Department for Education, schools across the country now need to provide at least 32.5 hours of teaching a week under a new government plan outlined in The White Paper - Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child - GOV.UK (, we are now removing the soft start to the school day and all children will need to be in school to be registered at 8.45am.  Registers will close at 8.50am. This additional learning time will help support your child's progress in all curriculum areas.


Children will be marked as late if they arrive after 8:50am and will be marked as receiving an unauthorised absence if arriving after 8:55am.  If your child has 12 or more unauthorised absences in a period of 120 school days, and you have not engaged with us in trying to improve this, both parents will be issued with a fixed penalty notice.


All students have been set a minimum attendance target of 96% and therefore we will not be approving holidays, family days out or events during term time or study leave for the 11+ or any other exams.


We understand that there may be one off family emergencies or bereavements and we ask you to communicate these with us as soon as possible.  We understand that for some of our families, this may include the possibility of overseas travel for a period of time, and this will no longer be authorised.


Appointments e.g. dentist, opticians also need to be arranged out of school hours where possible.  We know this is not always possible or that you may be issued with hospital appointments that you have no control over.  In order for an absence for an appointment to authorised, we need to see the written appointment letter or card.  Children will be expected to attend school before and/or after their appointments also.  No written evidence will result in the absence being recorded as unathorised.


Any absence needs to be reported via Studybugs at or download the app.  When reporting a child’s absence we will no longer accept messages that state ‘sick’ or ‘unwell’ and these will be classified as unauthorised absences. Please give specific symptoms when registering your child’s absence on Studybugs.  Home visits may take place from the third day of absence, if there is not supporting medical evidence. 


For children with medical conditions or those who require frequent hospital treatment, we will continue to work together with you and the medical professionals involved in their care, to support attendance at school.


When your child’s attendance drops below 96% we will be in touch with you to discuss the reasons why and to support you in ensuring your child attends school every day.  Once your child’s attendance drops below 90% we will need to consider what further support from external agencies, including social services prevention and support service, maybe necessary.  We may also begin legal proceedings.  A fixed penalty notice will be issued to both parents, once your child receives 12 unauthorised absences.


Further details and our new draft attendance policy, based on the new DFE guidelines in the document ‘Working Together to Improve School Attendance – September 2022’ will be sent out to you in September.


Children have only 190 school days to make the academic and social progress that is required of them each year, and we are appealing to you to continue to support your child and the school by ensuring that your child attends every day and on time.


The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 were amended in September 2013. All references to family holidays and extended leave have been removed. The amendments specify that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are "exceptional circumstances" and they no longer have any discretion to authorise up to ten days of absence each academic year.


At Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, 'exceptional circumstances' will be interpreted as:

... being of unique and significant emotional, educational or spiritual value to the child which outweighs the loss of teaching time (as determined by the headteacher). The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ are events that are “rare, significant, unavoidable and short”. By 'unavoidable' we mean an event that could not reasonably be scheduled at another time, outside of school term time.


The official start of the school day is 8:45 and we have a 5 minute grace period before we mark the children late at 8:50.   Between 8:50 and 8:55 children will receive an ‘L’ late code.  Children who are late after 8:55 will receive a ‘U’ unathorised absence code that registers them as in school,l but that the lateness was unathorised.

As you will be aware from our whole school correspondence on attendance and punctuality, the law treats some persistent lateness in the same way as irregular attendance and parents may be prosecuted by the Local Authority if late arrival is not resolved. 


Children who arrive late are greatly disadvantaged because they miss starting the day with their peers and the beginning of lessons. This means that they are often unsettled and confused about tasks. Their teacher will not always be able to re explain work.


It is also very important that children establish good routines and habits in preparation for the rest of their lives. Punctuality is a life skill that they need to develop whilst they are young.  It is essential that you ensure that your child arrives at school on time to prevent disruption to your child’s own learning and that of others.


If you are having issues with getting your child to school on time, please make an appointment to discuss these to see how we can support you and your child.