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St John the Baptist Primary School, Belfast




At St. John the Baptist Primary School we are committed to providing a full and effective educational experience to all pupils. In order to achieve this, good school attendance is essential. We feel the whole school community takes responsibility for attendance.

Staff will communicate to pupils and parents / guardians that their contribution in school is valued and make school a fruitful and enjoyable place to be so that a positive attitude to school and learning is fostered. It is vital that parents and carers ensure their child's regular attendance at school and it is also their legal duty to ensure their child's regular and punctual attendance at school.

Staff will do all they can to ensure maximum attendance for all pupils. Any problems that impede full attendance will be identified and addressed as a priority. Our school wants to support carers as fully as possible in ensuring that children attend school.

Staff will actively promote and encourage 100% attendance for all pupils.


  • To raise attendance levels of all children.
  • To improve punctuality.
  • To raise level of personal achievement.
  • To maximise opportunities for children both in school and in later life.



  1. All staff taking an attendance register will:
  • Be aware of the registration process including registration regulations and education law - at SJB we use register sheets which are printed with the Class, Week No, Date and with the children’s names in alphabetical order.
  • Complete accurate registers at the beginning of each morning. The teacher is only required to mark a child as absent or late.
  • Promote positive attitudes to pupils returning to school after absence.
  • Pass on concerns about absence or punctuality to the Principal and the Pastoral Care Coordinator so that an appropriate response can be agreed.
  • Registers are returned to the School Office immediately registration is completed.
  • The Register will be 'closed' at 9:10 a.m. and any child arriving after that time will be 'late'.
  • After the times detailed above, the only entrance into the school is through the main office. Children, who do arrive after these times, must go to the school office to register their attendance, receive their mark and gain entry to the school. Please note: - The school registers close at 9.10am; any children arriving after this time will receive an unauthorised late mark.


  1. School will make clear to all parents/carers that the school should be contacted on the first day of absence as early as possible, preferably by 10 a.m.
  3. The School Secretary will contact parents/carers of any pupil who is absent and for whom no message has been received.
  1. At SJB regular attendance is celebrated. Termly award certificates are given for children with 100 % and pupils receive special attendance badges. Photographs are displayed throughout the school and entered into the school newsletter and website (permission permitted). At the end of the school year, 100% attendance is rewarded with a certificate.
  1. The Acting Vice Principal will monitor and audit attendance on a regular basis - both of individuals (raised with her by staff), and overall.




A joint review of attendance will be undertaken with the EWO each term based on the following information:

  1. Percentage attendance for each class
  1. A list of pupils with attendance below 90% monitored by attendance officer, indicating whether absences:
  • Seem to be 100% genuine, e.g. medical reasons covered by medical certificate, hospital admission, flu outbreaks, etc.
  • Have been authorised for 'minor' medical reasons, e.g. cough, cold, 'didn't feel well'.
  • Parental holiday or other authorised circumstances
  • Unauthorised absences (specify if reasons for absence are given, e.g. shopping, visiting Gran)
  1. Reports are used as basis for consultation with the EWO.
  1. Each pupil will be discussed, with special attention on any pupil whose attendance is below 90%. For each outcome will be recorded, e.g.:
  • No response necessary as absences are appropriately authorised
  • No immediate action necessary but school will monitor absences and review at next audit/discuss with EWO in the interim.
  • Green Letter to go from school clearly identifying the cause for concern and stating what is expected from the parents/carers. A copy of the attendance breakdown may be enclosed.Red letter -Written referral to the EWO.
  • Amber letter - Parents to be invited to a meeting at school
  • Other agreed action.
  1. Date for next audit agreed
  1. Attendance Officer to feed back to individual staff / summary to whole staff


  • If any child has not been marked as present or the school has not been notified about a child’s absence, the office will contact the parent carer after the third day of absence.
  • If the parent notifies the school of a child’s reason for absence, but the child continues to be absent for more than a week, then an update check will be made by the school in the form of a phone call.
  • If the child continues to be absent then details will be passed to the Vice Principal who will either phone to the parent/ carer or consider a referral to the Education welfare officer.
  • Whenever the school is unable to contact a parent or carer because of inaccurate/ outdated contact details the class teacher will attempt to meet the parents. If this is not possible a letter will be written. If we are still unable to make contact the parent/ carer will be invited into school to meet the Vice Principal to discuss the situation.
  • If an absence is unexplained the school will write to parents for an explanation. If no reason is forthcoming, a phone call will be made.
  • Any absence considered not to be a justified reason will remain unauthorised.
  • A series of unauthorised absences will trigger a meeting with the Vice Principal.
  • Where children have persistent attendance problems the Vice Principal will invite parents/ carers into school to a formal meeting.



  1. A record will be kept of all contact with parents/carers over absence This is in the form of Absence Notes which give the name, class, date, time and the person who called (either parent/carer calling school or school calling parent), as well as the reason for absence.
  2. All records including parental notes and notes from meetings are retained. Staff and EWO will have ready access to each pupil's absence details, thus enabling an informed response.


  • School starts at 8:55 am.
  • Lateness is classed as: any child who arrives into school between 9.05 am and
  • 9:20am
  • All children arriving after 9.05 am will be marked as late. (L)
  • Any arrival after 9:20 is classed as unreasonably late (U)
  • Punctuality is monitored monthly. Where children have persistent lateness problems, the Principal will invite the parents into school to a formal meeting.




  1. All parents to be made aware of their responsibilities in law and of the school's expectations with regard to school attendance, e.g. phoning the school before 9.00 a.m. on first day of absence, sending a letter in on return.Children who arrive late are signed in at the office so that we have an accurate record of who is in school for Health & Safety reasons. If a child has to leave school early for any reason they are signed out. The Signing In book is kept in the Secretary’s office.
  1. Parents to be contacted promptly if there are any concerns about an attendance or punctuality.
  1. The Pastoral Care Coordinator will dedicate time to working with parents of children with poor records of attendance.


Absence from school should be avoided wherever possible as it causes disruption to your child’s education as every lesson counts.  

Holidays cannot be authorised during term time but for exceptional family circumstance and is at the discretion of the Principal / Board of Governors. The school needs to be informed if child is going to be missing for any period of time.




Absences due to illness, hospital appointments, dental appointments, bereavements, religious observance, will be authorised if believed to be genuine. Absences due to, for example, parents being ill and unable to bring child to school, visiting relatives, car breaking down, etc. will be recorded as unauthorised.

This policy is based on the guidance issued by the Educational Welfare Service and has been approved by the Staff and Governing Body. It will be reviewed annually.