Attendance & Holidays

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Primary School Attendance

Going to school every day is the single most important part of your child’s education. Students learn new things at school every day – missing school puts them behind.

Why it’s important

We all want our students to get a great education, and the building blocks for a great education begin with students coming to school each and every day.

If students miss school regularly, they miss out on learning the fundamental skills that will set them up for success in the later years of school.

There is no safe number of days for missing school – each day a student misses puts them behind, and can affect their educational outcomes. However, Hackney Learning Trust has a target of 96.6% which is in line with Government expectations. 

Each missed day is associated with progressively lower achievement in numeracy, writing and reading. Having an attendance of 90% in 1 school year equates to 4 whole weeks of lessons missed. Over 4 years, this means nearly 1/2 a year of lessons missed. Research suggests that 17 missed school days a year can mean one GCSE grade drop (DfES). Greater attendance = greater achievement. 

Getting in early

Attendance patterns are established early – a child regularly missing days in Nursery or Reception will often continue to miss classes in the later years, and receive lower test scores than their classmates. It’s vital that students go to school every day – even in the early years of primary school. 

What we can do

The main reasons for absence are:

Sickness – There are always times when students need to miss school, such as when they’re ill. It’s vital that they’re only away on the days they are genuinely sick, and setting good sleep patterns, eating well and exercising regularly can make a big difference. If your child is genuinely sick, you must call the school (on 0207 739 4902) before 8:30 am and inform them of your child’s absence. 

Planned Holidays – Children have 13 weeks holiday. Children attend school 191 days a year, this leaves 174 non-school days free for travel. It’s vital that holidays are planned during school holidays and not during the term.

Time lost by pupils due to family holidays taken in term time is disruptive to their education. Taking holidays during term time should be avoided as it can have a serious effect on your child’s educational progress, and can create difficulties for them on their return to school, particularly if they are joining a new school or class.

As such, St John the Baptist Primary School does not support parents who take holidays during term time. However, if you feel it is unavoidable that your child may miss school for absence other than illness, please come to the office to complete a form which will then be given to the Head Teacher. The request will be given due consideration but holidays taken during term time will not be authorised unless there are exceptional circumstances.

 “One day won’t matter” – Think twice before letting your child have a “day off” as they could fall behind their classmates – every day counts. 

If for any reason your child must miss school, there are things you can do with your school to ensure they don’t fall behind:

  • Speak with your class teacher and find out what work your child needs to do to keep up. We are very happy to send work home!
  • Speak with Joy, our attendance officer, as the school may be able to help to ensure your child is in school daily

Remember, every day counts. If your child must miss school, phone the school office as early as possible.

Openly communicating with your child’s school about all absences is a good way to prevent attendance issues being escalated to a School Attendance Officer. A School Attendance Officer works for Hackney Learning Trust who has authority to follow up attendance issues. Attendance issues that are escalated can lead to a fine and even court appearances. If you’re having attendance issues with your child, please let the school know so we can work together to get your child to school every day.

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