St Mary's Church of England Academy

Here at St. Mary's we provide the highest possible quality of education, underpinned by our Christian ethos and values however we pride ourselves in the fact that we are mixed faith with a rising number of multi faiths through our school


To tell us that your child will be absent from school call the Academy Office on 01638 713317.


St Mary's Church of England Academy is committed to providing an education of the highest quality for all its pupils and recognises this can only be achieved by supporting and promoting excellent attendance for all. This is based on the belief that only attending regularly and punctually will children and young people be able to take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them. High attainment depends on good attendance. Any absence which is not approved by the school is classified as unauthorised.  


If your child has 8 or more unauthorised sessions (half days) in a year, then you will receive a £60 penalty notice from the Local Authority per child, per parent. This must be paid within 21 days or it will increase to £120 per child, per parent. If this is not paid within 28 days, the Local Authority refer it to the courts where the maximum penalty is £1000.


From 1 September 2013 the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended, removed all reference to family holiday, extended leave and the 10 school days absence threshold previously published. These amendments apply to all schools and you may have already heard of these changes from information that other schools have distributed. Full details can be found on the DfE website here.


School attendance national expectation is over 95%. On a school year of 195 days this equates to no more than 10 days absence. Given inevitable illness and other unavoidable factors which will keep a child off school, it can be seen that absence for holiday will most likely result in a child falling below the 95% threshold. There are currently both national and county campaigns to promote good attendance and reduce the current absence levels, in particular in Suffolk schools. 


The guidance is clear. With no reference to holidays in term time and the 10 day threshold removed there is no right to remove a child from school for reason of holiday. An absence now can only be granted in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and the parent must make a case for taking a child away from school. Absence which has not been agreed in advance will lead to the pupil being marked with ‘unauthorised absence’. This may then be referred to the Local Authority for consideration of Penalty Notice (£60 payable within 21 days or £120 within 28 days or other action). 


The changes are to directly help raise pupil achievement. If children do not attend school regularly, they will not be able to keep up with their school work. Pupils falling below 90% attendance struggle to achieve expected progress and for those achieving less than 80%, they will not achieve regardless of ability or effort.