It can be tricky deciding whether or not to keep your child off school, nursery or playgroup when they’re unwell.

There are government guidelines for schools and nurseries about managing specific infectious diseases at GOV.UK. These say when children should be kept off school and when they shouldn’t.

If you do keep your child at home, it’s important to phone the school or nursery on the first day. Let them know that your child won’t be in and give them the reason.



Whole School Attendance Target – 97%

At St Catherine’s C of E Primary School, we aim to ensure that all children receive an education that maximises opportunities for each pupil to reach their full potential.  In order to achieve this, we work hard to provide a welcoming, caring learning environment where every member of the school community feels valued.


Every School Day Counts!


In order for our pupils to achieve their very best it is of paramount importance that their attendance is good.  Every lesson really does count for your child and catching up on lost time from school can be really difficult.  good attendance is linked to achievement, better relationships with other children and overall better behaviour.  Often, the reason that children are absent from school is due to illness.  You can help to ensure that your child’s attendance is good by leading a healthy lifestyle: exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and maintaining a balanced diet. Missing any period of time of schooling has been proven to be detrimental, both, academically and socially.  We understand that sometimes absence cannot be avoided, but it is important that we share with you the following information:


AttendanceImpact on learning in the yearOutcome
100% attendance0 weeks of learning missedBest chance of success – well done!
95% attendance1 week, 4 days of learning missedPoor attendance – we’re worried
90% attendance3 weeks, 4 days of learning missedClassed by the government as persistent absentee – your child will be falling behind their peers
85% attendance5 weeks, 3 days of learning missed – that is the equivalent of the January half-termYou may be asked to sign a parenting contract – your child will need intervention in school
80% attendanceAt least 7 weeks, 3 days of learning missedYou may be referred to social care for neglect. Your child will be considerably behind their peers and it will be difficult for them to catch up without significant input from school and home



It’s important that the children arrive to school on time, ready and willing to learn. The gates open at 8.50am and all children are expected to be in their classrooms at 9.00am, with the gates being closed at 9.00am.  Any child who arrives after the gates are locked needs to be signed in at the main school reception.

Any child arriving after the register closed receives an ‘unauthorised absence’ mark in the register.

Being late for school reduces learning time and can be highly disruptive and harmful to a child’s self esteem.  Children are often embarrassed and/or upset at entering a busy classroom after everyone else. Through missing the initial morning instructions means that that individual is playing ‘catch-up’ for the rest of the morning.

If your child is 5 minutes late everyday, they will miss 3 days of learning a year.

If they are 15 minutes late a day, they will miss 2 weeks of learning each year.


What can parents do to help attendance?


  • If your child is unwell, phone and report this in to the office before 9am;
  • If you suspect that your child is a reluctant attender or is unhappy at school, do not keep them at home. Contact the school as soon as possible so that any difficulties can be resolved;
  • Make sure your child arrives to school on time and is prepared for the day ahead (eg that they have the correct school uniform, homework, PE swimming kit);
  • Take an interest in your child’s education. Ask them about their day and praise and encourage their achievements at school (If the children can see that you value education, they will too);
  • Attend any meetings that you are invited to regarding attendance;
  • Make medical/dental appointments out of school hours or during the school holidays wherever possible.


What can St Catherine’s do to support attendance rates?


  • Promotion of good attendance is celebrated through distribution of weekly attendance certificates to classes in assemblies;
  • Termly & Yearly 100% attendance certificates are distributed to pupils who have been in school for every session that term/year;
  • Monitoring of attendance and consultation with parents is ongoing;
  • Poor attendees are monitored and contacted regularly;
  • Poor attendees may be asked to an attendance meeting to identify if any support can be offered to the family to aid attendance;
  • All unexplained absences are followed up within the morning session.



If your child is poorly you must contact school before 9:00am to inform the Office that your child will be absent from school and to give a reason for that absence. You must do this on each day of your child’s absence.

You do this by ringing 01626 832665. We then record this information and pass it on to teachers.  We ask you to ring each day to keep us updated. A member of the administrative staff checks absences every day and follows up with a call where we have not been notified of a child’s absence, in line with our Safeguarding procedures.


We are required by law to record absences and share these figures with parents, Torbay LA and the DfE. An absence is considered to be unauthorised if we have not been informed by parents.


Parents at St Catherine’s are really good at letting us know when their child is absent, so keep helping us to make sure that our unauthorised absence figures remain low.


Holiday in term time

In order to ensure that the pupils at St Catherine’s C of E Primary School receive an education that maximises opportunities for each pupil to reach their full potential, the Head of School will not authorise term time holidays.  Any exceptional circumstances should be put into writing to the Head of School and an individual decision will be made.  Unauthorised leave can result in the parents being fined £60 per parent per child (further information can be found on the Attendance policy on the website). The Local Authority may take parents to court where parents take their child out of school without authorisation.