Research shows conclusively that children who attend school regularly and on time achieve best at school.

At St Barnabas we actively encourage children to be in school whenever possible and we are proud of our attendance record which is above the national average.

For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend school regularly and arrive at school on time unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s social and academic education and regular absence will seriously affect their learning.


Late arrival at school disrupts teaching routines, can upset the learning of others in the class and can disturb the smooth education of your child.

It is important that if your child is to do well at school then they attend regularly, as performance and achievement at school is directly affected by absence or lateness.

We ask parents to inform school of the reason for a child’s absence as soon as possible, and no later than 9:20am on the first day of absence.


A popular question on the DfE website is: Can I take my child on holiday in term time?

Headteachers have the discretion to grant leave, but they should only do so in exceptional circumstances. If a headteacher grants a leave request, it will be for them to determine the length of time that the child can be away from school. This leave is unlikely, however, to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday.

Parents can be fined for taking their child on holiday during term time without consent from the school. Please be aware that a penalty notice (fine) can be issued to each parent who fails to ensure their children’s regular attendance at school.

Exceptional circumstances include:

  • When a family needs to spend time together because of an immediate family members bereavement, crisis or serious illness
  • Funeral of immediate family member
  • Religious observance
  • Children of service personnel about to go on deployment (permission would be considered as long as the request is accompanied by a letter from the Commanding Officer)
  • One off sporting events/performing arts competitions, if the child is participating and is at county standard or above and a letter has been provided from the performing arts/sports regional governing body as evidence
  • One day of absence could be authorised for an immediate family members graduation ceremony/passing out parade
  • Medical appointments (parents/carers should be encouraged to arrange non-urgent medical appointments outside of school hours when possible). If the medical appointment is during the school day, evidence must be provided. Schools should not authorise a whole days absence for a medical appointment that occurs in the morning – the child would be expected to return to school in the afternoon, and vice versa.

Absence will not be authorised for reasons such as the following:

  • To care for other family members
  • Birthdays
  • No school uniform/shoes
  • Friendship problems
  • Head lice
  • Family holiday
  • Weddings abroad 
  • Family Anniversaries
  • Death of a pet
  • Travel problems
  • School refusal

If you feel that you have exceptional circumstances which require your child to take leave during term time, please return the absence request form on this website or collect a copy from School reception, before arrangements have been finalised. This must be returned to the Headteacher.

Application for Discretionary Leave of Absence

Updated: 26/03/2021 177 KB

Penalty Notices Advice For Parents

Government Advice on School Attendance & Absence