Catcote is a successful school and your child plays their part in making it so. We aim for an environment, which enables and encourages all members of the school to achieve. For our Students to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.  It is very important therefore that you make sure that your child attends regularly.

Why it is important to attend regularly?

Learning:- Any absence affects the pattern of the Students learning and regular absence will seriously affect their progress. Any Student’s absence disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class.


The Government expects

Schools and local Authorities to:

  • Reduce absence including persistent absence
  • Ensure every pupil has access to full time education to which they are entitled and
  • To act early to address patterns of absence

Parents/Carers to

  • Perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age who are to registered at the school attend early
  • All pupils to be punctual to their lessons and attend school regularly

Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.


The Law

All children of compulsory school age (between 5 and 16) are required to receive an education. As parents/carers you are responsible for ensuring your child receives an education. You risk criminal prosecution if your child fails to attend regularly, and punctually, at the school where s/he is registered. Prosecutions may result in fines of up to £2,500 and/or the possibility of a three months imprisonment. Courts may at their discretion impose a parenting order or direct the LEA to apply for an Education Supervision Order which puts a child of compulsory school age, who is not being properly educated under Local Education Authority supervision’


Understanding types of absence

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required, preferably in writing.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time/emergencies or other unavoidable cause.

Unauthorised absences are those, which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to Hartlepool Borough Council using sanctions and/or legal proceedings.   This includes:

  • Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • truancy during the school day
  • absences which have never been properly explained
  • shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
  • day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed.

Persistent absenteeism A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s progress and we need parents fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.

We monitor all absence weekly. Any Student that is seen to have reached the PA mark or is at risk of moving towards that mark is are tracked and monitored carefully, if we are unsure why we will contact parents and carers and also provide support. We have to inform the Hartlepool Attendance team and they may visit to provide additional support.

Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child.  If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending.  This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse.


Absence Procedures

If your child is absent you must:

  • Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence by ringing the school on 01429 264036;
  • Send a note in on the first day they return with an explanation of the absence – you must do this even if you have already telephoned us;
  • Or, you can call into school and report to reception, who will arrange for a member of staff to speak with you.

If your child is absent we:

  • May telephone if we have not heard from you
  • Ask our Hartlepool Attendance Officer to visit you at home
  • Invite you in to discuss the situation with our Attendance Officer and/or Pastoral Leaders, Assistant Headteacher if absences persist;


The School Attendance Officer (SAO):

Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together.  This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the School Attendance Officer from Hartlepool Borough Council. They will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed and unauthorised absences persist, these Officers can use sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court. Full details of the options open to enforce attendance at school are available from the school or Hartlepool Borough Council.

Alternatively, parents or children may wish to contact the SAO themselves to ask for help or information. They are independent of the school and will give impartial advice.  Their telephone number is 01429 284366.


Holidays In Term Time:

Taking holidays in term time will affect your child’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not to take children away in school time.

Remember that any savings you think you may make by taking a holiday in school time are offset by the cost to your child’s education.

There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to go on holiday.

All applications for leave must be made in advance and at the discretion of the school a maximum of 10 days in any academic year may be authorised. In making a decision the school will consider the circumstances of each application individually, including any previous pattern of leave in term time.


All school staff are committed to working with parents and pupils as the best way to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible and that every child’s welfare and life opportunities are promoted.

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