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St Francis Xavier's RC Primary School

‘Love one another as I have loved you’ John 15:12


20th February 2024


Dear Parents and Carers,


Welcome back after half-term and I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed a good week.


Before half-term, our school welcomed one of the LA Attendance Officer’s on 5th February 2024. I am pleased to say that it was recognised that St Francis Xavier’s School has high expectations for pupils’ attendance, there are robust procedures in place to follow up a child’s absence and we have a positive school culture ensuring that pupils are well cared for, they enjoy coming to school and the school engages successfully with parents and carers. So, my thanks to you all for your vigilance around school attendance and your honesty when family events do arise to minimise your child’s absence from school. It is very much appreciated.


However, we could be doing even better.


The government published Working Together to Improve School Attendance May 2022 and para 10 page 6 states:


Where parents decide to have their child registered at school, they have an additional legal duty to ensure their child attends that school regularly. This means their child must attend every day that the school is open, unless:

· Your child is too ill to attend that day

· You have asked in advance and been given permission by the school for your child to be absent on that day due to exceptional circumstances.


The full document can be read by following the link below:


In line with Government and Herefordshire Local Authority policy, planned absences for holidays during term time are not authorised by St Francis Xavier’s RC School. In exceptional circumstances, absences can be authorised at the discretion of the headteacher but only if there are strong and clearly explained reasons why the absence is necessary. Exceptional circumstances are rare, significant or unavoidable, which means the event could not reasonably be rescheduled at another time.

There is, however, no legal entitlement for time off in school term time to go on holiday. Parents who take unauthorised holiday may be referred to Herefordshire Council who may issue a penalty notice or initiate legal proceedings against them under the Education Act 1996 (Section 444). Parents who exceed agreed return by dates following absences, risk losing their child’s school place at St Francis Xavier’s and having to re-register with the Local Authority for a new school place.


I have also received a number of absence request forms when extended family members, either grandparents or aunts and uncles, have booked holidays without checking first with parents or checking the term dates on our school website. Please could I urge you to encourage all family members to double check term dates before planning any holiday, so that pupils do not take

any time off during term time to avoid missing valuable learning time. If a penalty notice is issued from the Local Authority, it will be sent to parents for payment.

Punctuality for morning drop off

Please could I also remind everyone that the school gate opens at 8.40am giving parents a window of 15 minutes to drop off their children before 8.55am when the school gate closes. Parents are expected to drop their children off punctually, before 8.55am, to aid the smooth start of the school day. Pupils arriving after 8.55am will be marked as ‘Late’ and from Wednesday 21st February 2024, parents will be asked to sign the ‘Late Register’ so that we can monitor those parents who persistently drop their children off late in the mornings.

I look forward to continue working with everyone to maximise your child’s attendance and punctuality at St Francis Xavier’s School.


With kind regards and every good wish,


Mrs Diana Pearce


Every school Day Counts

Absence = poor progress and continuity

365 days in a year

190 school days in total


100% attendance


190 days attendance


95% attendance


180 days attendance

9 ½ days absence

90% attendance


171 days attendance

19 days absence

85% attendance


161 days attendance

28 ½ days absence

80% attendance


152 days attendance

More than half a term absence

75% attendance


143 days attendance

9+ weeks absence


Poor attendance significantly impacts upon your child’s educational outcome.


Punctuality counts

Lateness = lost learning

(Figures below are calculated over a school year)


Late each day


Lost each year


5 mins late each day


3 days lost

10 mins late each day


6.5 days lost

15 mins late each day


10 days lost

20 mins late each day


13 days lost

30 mins late each day


19 days lost



Please be on time, every day, to support your child’s learning.