Moments Matter, Attendance Counts


Good attendance is the foundation to students’ academic success and wellbeing, which is why, at St Dunstan’s, we ask that all students attend school on time, all day, every day. 

There is national evidence that shows the direct link between good attendance and achievement in schools. When we talk about good attendance, it is important to note that this is considered to be above 96%.  The government considers students whose attendance drops to 90% to be persistently absent from school. 

90% might well be a great mark for an assessment, but an attendance of 90% in reality means….

  • On average, half a day of school  is missed every week! An employer would not think that this is an acceptable rate of attendance.

  • Over an academic year, 4 weeks of schooling (100 lessons)  have been missed.

  • Over 5 years at St Dunstan's, half a year of school (500 lessons) have been missed.  

 St Marks Attendance Matters


If your child is unwell:

We would not expect any parent to send their child to school if they are genuinely unwell. However, there are many occasions where students might start the day feeling unwell but they  ‘perk up’ during the course of the day - sending them to school is the right cause of action. 

More often than not, we recommend that if your child is feeling under the weather, they should still attend school and we will always contact you if they become too unwell to stay. Please contact the school to report that your child is unwell.  We can help you to determine whether they should stay at home or come into school.  

Medical Absences

If your child is going to be absent for 5 consecutive days we would request medical evidence to support the absence. If your child’s attendance is already being monitored (and you have been made aware of this) you may be required to provide evidence for every absence.

Term Time Leave

Students have 175 non-school days each year to spend on family time and appointments and we ask that you do not take time out from school if these events can take place during the scheduled holidays. Students who are taken out of school during term time may find it hard to catch up and this can have a detrimental effect on their learning. 

The law states that parents do not have the right to take their children out of school for holidays during term time. Any request for term time leave must be made in writing to the Head Teacher in advance. 

Requests for holidays during term time will not usually be granted. The Head Teacher will only authorise term time leave in EXCEPTIONAL circumstances according to DfE guidelines.  Any unauthorised absence, including term time leave not agreed with the school, could result in a Penalty Notice being issued to each child for every child affected. St Dunstan’s will request a Penalty Notice, if students take an unauthorised holiday during term time.

 It is not the school’s responsibility to issue work during term time leave as your child should be attending the school.


Please note the following do NOT constitute exceptional circumstances:

  • Family celebrations/special birthdays

  • Late booking for holidays

  • Holidays given as a present

  • Unable to afford a holiday except during term time

  • Booked wrong weeks

  • Work commitments

Referrals to the Education Welfare Service

If a student’s attendance is becoming a concern, a parent meeting may be requested, where we will work together to secure improvements. In extreme cases of poor attendance a Warning Penalty Notice or a Penalty Notice may be requested from the Education Welfare Service. 

What is a Warning Penalty Notice?

Your child will be requested to be at school without absence for a period of time, if they fail this expectation,  it will lead to a Penalty Notice.

How much is a Penalty Notice?

£60 if payment is made within 21 days, £120 if paid after this but within 28 days.
If payment is not made, the local authority is required to commence proceedings in the Magistrates Court for the original offence of unauthorised absence by your child. If proven, this can result in fines and/or a range of disposals such as Parenting Orders or Community Sentences. Criminal records may be received.

If you have questions regarding your child’s attendance at St Dunstan’s please call Mr Wardle (Attendance Officer).