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Your child’s school attendance is extremely important; you can find information on guidelines and procedures here.  

Attendance in school is critical for all pupils and this is governed by the Department for Education. 

If students are not in school, they are not learning.  Please remember that every school day is important for your child.

We expect all students to attend St Matthew’s RC High School for more than 97% of the time they are expected each year.  High attendance and achieving target grades are linked.  

Punctuality is also very important, all students must arrive on time and be ready for learning with the correct equipment, e.g., pencil case, PE kit and planner.  School is open from 7:30am for breakfast where there is a range of free and low-cost breakfasts can be purchased.  All students must arrive to school before 8:30am.    
Please try to follow these simple steps:  
1.  Try to judge how ‘severe’ your child's absence is.  Do they really need to stay at home?  

2.  Is your child better by mid-morning? If they are, send them into school.  

3.  If your child has an extended or intermittent but persistent condition, contact their Head of Year and arrange a meeting to set up a supportive action plan.  There is a lot of support we can offer to prevent your child from missing school.  

4.  Non-urgent doctor, dental appointments and check-ups should be made out of school time where possible.  School finishes at 3pm.  We are not able to authorise full days absences for medical appointments.  Where possible send your child to school and contact us to let us know what time you need to collect them for their appointment. Students need to return to school after their appointment where possible.  This means that they keep their full days attendance marks. 

5.  If your child has a cough, cold, menstrual pains, please send them to school.  usually once they are with their friends, they forget they feel unwell.  

6.  If your child enters school after 9am, regardless of whether this is at 9:01am, it counts a half-day absence. 
Don't think that the ‘odd day off can’t harm’.  Research carried out on the effects of broken weeks and achievement is astounding.  A student can have 95% attendance but still have 10 broken weeks! This is hugely detrimental to your child’s learning, leaving big gaps in knowledge and understanding. 
Reporting students’ absence 
If your child is going to be absent from school, then you must inform the school and follow the correct procedures below: 
Student absences must be reported daily by either: 
*Telephoning the Attendance Team on 0161 681 6178 option 1 after 8:00am 

Where a student is absent with no reason provided by 9am, absence calls will be made to try and contact parents/carers to establish the reason for the absence. 
Authorising absence from school 
The Government expectation is that all students aim for 97% and above attendance.   
If your child’s attendance falls below 93% you will be asked to provide medical evidence for any absences to enable them to be authorised.  In addition, any absence of three days or more will require medical evidence. 
This can be in the form of: 
*Medical appointment cards or letters. 
*If your child has been given any medication, then a photograph of this with your child’s name and date on should be provided. 
*A photograph of your child’s prescription showing their name and the date. 
*Hospital discharge letter. 
*Unfit for school declaration from GP. 
*College, Connexions, employment or new school interviews can be authorised.  Please always email a copy of the letter. 
All medical evidence can be emailed to   
We will always acknowledge receipt of your email and authorise the absence.

Exceptional circumstances include:

  • When a family needs to spend time together because of an immediate family members bereavement, crisis or serious illness
  • Funeral of immediate family member
  • Religious observance
  • Transport was not provided by the LA when it should have been
  • Children of service personnel about to go on deployment (permission would be considered as long as the request is accompanied by a letter from the Commanding Officer)
  • One day of absence could be authorised for a wedding of an immediate family member and the invitation has been provided as evidence
  • One off sporting events/ performing arts competitions, if the child is participating and is at country standard or above and a letter has been provided from the performing arts/ sports regional governing body as evidence
  • One day of absence could be authorised for an immediate family members graduation ceremony/ passing out parade
  • Medical appointments (parents/ carers should be encourage to arrange non-urgent medical appointments outside f school hours where possible. If the medical appointment is during the school day. evidence must be provided. School will not authorise a whole days absence for a medical appointment that occurs in the morning - the child would be expected to return to school in the afternoon and vice versa.

Absence will not be authorise for reasons such as the following

  •  To care for other family members
  • Birthdays
  • To interpret for other family members
  • No school uniform/ shoes
  • Bullying
  • Friendship problems
  • Head lice
  • Learning difficulties
  • Family holiday
  • Weddings abroad - regardless of whether it is for immediate family members
  • Family anniversaries
  • Death of a pet
  • Travel problems
  • School refusal 

Home visits 
Home visits may be carried out where: 
a) No reason has been provided for absence. 

b) Students have not returned to school on a Monday if they were absent the previous Friday. 

c) If you have provided a reason for your child’s absence, you may get a home visit on the 2nd or 3rd day of absence. We must have a “eyes-on” policy for any student who is away from school for 3-consecuitive days regardless of whether contact has been made with home 

d) Courtesy visits if your child has been absent due to long illness. 

e) On each occasion we will request to see your child where possible. 
Leave in term-time 
From 1st September 2013, the law gives no entitlement for parents to take their child on holiday during term time and we strongly advise parents against this.   
Any activity, holiday or event should be arranged during the 13 weeks of school closure.  
Leave of absence will have a detrimental impact on your child’s educational achievement. 
If leave of absence is taken during term-time parent/carers will receive a Penalty Notice from the Local Authority for taking a child out of school without the school’s permission. From 1st September 2024 Penalty Notices cost £80 per child, per parent if paid within 21 days increasing to £160 per child, per parent if paid between 22 and 28 days. 
From September 2024 fines can only be issued twice for unauthorised leave of absence during your child’s time at school.  On the third occasion we will be instructed to proceed to prosecution which then results in parents/ carers having to go to court which could have a detrimental impact as this gives a criminal conviction.  
If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact the school. 
Persistent absence 
Government Announces Changes to the Definition of Persistent Absence 
In September 2015 we were informed by the Local Authority that the Department for Education (DfE) had announced that any student whose attendance falls below 90% from September 2015 will be classed as a Persistently Absent student. Therefore, if a student misses 19 or more days over an academic year they will be classed as Persistently Absent. 

The DfE say… 
“If over 5 academic years a pupil has attendance of 90% the child will miss a half of a school year, that’s a lot of lost education. 

Pupils taking unauthorised leave of absence early in the year could be categorised as persistently absent well into half term five but have perfect attendance from their return date onwards. 

As parents play an essential role in supporting attendance the changes to persistent absence need to be shared with them” 

The DfE also informed schools that this information must be placed on school websites and published in newsletters or a letter. 

In order to ensure parent/carers are fully informed we will issue regular updates via letters or telephone calls should attendance fall below 90% at key points in the school year.  We always try to support parents/ carers by inviting you to come into school to complete a Parent Contract before any legal action is started. 

If you need support, email