Absences and Term Time Holidays

Absence from school

Parents are requested to notify school when an absence occurs – either by telephone, or text before 9.30a.m. on the first day of absence, or if this is not possible, with a letter.

If a lengthy absence is anticipated school should be informed at an early stage.

If your child is suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea, please do not bring them to school until 24 hours after the last episode.

It is helpful is staff are informed beforehand of dental and doctor appointments so that registration and school meal registers can be marked accordingly.

There were 5.3% of authorised absences and 0.2 unauthorised absences in the school year 2012-2013.  Overall attendance was 96.1%.

Term Time Holidays

The current law relating to holidays in term-time has changed from 1st September 2013.

The law does not give any entitlement to parents to take their child on holiday during term-time. Any application for leave of absence must be in exceptional circumstances* and the Headteacher and governors must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the granting of leave.

This measure has been introduced to support the Government drive to improve attendance.

The Government expects:

Schools to:

–       ensure every pupil has access to the full-time education to which they are entitled.

–       Act early to address patterns of absence and lateness.

Parents to:

–       perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age who are registered at school attend regularly.

–       ensure all pupils to be on time for the start of the school day at 9:00 am


These changes came into effect on 1st September 2013.


The Governors of all Gateshead Catholic Primary Schools have agreed to adopt the statutory legislation and a standard practice of not authorising any holidays during term-time effective from September 2013.

If parents/carers, contrary to what the Governors have said, still decide to take their child out of school then the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.

Research shows that missing school damages a pupil’s attainment levels and affects his/her longer term life opportunities.  Each year a number of children are absent from school because their parents/ carers take them away from school in term-time.  The absence of pupils seriously disrupts the continuity of their learning.  They miss the teaching provided on the days they are away and they are also less prepared for lessons on their return. There is a consequent risk of underachievement which we must seek to avoid.  The link between attendance and achievement is strong and high levels of attendance at school should be a right of each pupil.

Therefore with immediate effect, any requests for leave of absence must be made in writing at least 4 weeks prior to the absence required and this will be considered by Governors on an individual basis. However, requests will only be granted in the case of exceptional circumstances.

* Exceptional circumstances will not include cheaper holidays available in term-time.

We know that our parents recognise the value of education for their child and will support the school policy and our continued efforts to maintain the level of your child’s attendance at a minimum of 96%.

For more information please visit the Pupil Support, Behaviour and Attendance section on the DFE website.