Attendance Matters

Why does attendance matter?

It is through good attendance that pupils maximise their full potential, enhancing their life chances for the future.  Missing school means missing out on learning and this can have an impact on a child’s development and attainment. 

There is a strong statistical link between attendance and attainment.  Students who have attendance below 90% do less well in their exams.

Just 17 days absent from school in one year could mean a drop in a GCSE grade in all subjects!

Caterham High School 2019 GCSE Results

83% of our students who achieved an average grade 7 + at GCSE had attendance of 95% or above.

84% of students who achieved an average grade 4 or less had attendance below 90%.

92% of students who achieved an average of a grade 3 or less had attendance below 85%

The law states that children of statutory school age who are on roll at a school or an academy must attend regularly and punctually and that it is the parent or carers responsibility to ensure this.  Regular attendance is important, because it is the best way of ensuring children make the most of the educational opportunities available to them.

% attendance

Number of days absent

Approximate number of weeks

Number of lessons missed

Impact over 5 years



2 weeks


¼ of 1 school year missed



4 weeks


½ of 1 school year missed



6 weeks


¾ of 1 school year missed



8 weeks


1 whole school year missed.


What we are doing?

At Caterham High School, we are working hard to identify early concerns and issues which may be affecting your child’s attendance.

  • We continually promote the importance of good attendance throughout the school
  • We have robust monitoring in place
  • We ensure support is offered to those who experience difficulties with punctuality and/or attendance
  • We issue regular updates for parents/carers

Your legal responsibilities as a parent

By law, all children of compulsory school age (aged four to sixteen) must receive a suitable full-time education. For most parents, this means registering your child at a school or you may choose to make other arrangements to provide a suitable, full-time education.

Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they go regularly. 

The Education Authority (EA) is responsible for investigating if they believe your child is not getting the education they are entitled to.

How to prevent your child from missing school

You can help prevent your child missing school by:

  • having a routine from an early age and sticking it to it
  • making sure your child understands the importance of good attendance and punctuality
  • making sure they understand the possible implications for themselves and you as a parent if they don't attend
  • taking an interest in their education - ask about school work and encourage them to get involved in school activities
  • discussing any problems that they may have at school and letting their teacher or principal know about anything that is causing concern
  • not letting them take time off school for minor ailments or holidays during term time

To avoid disrupting your child's education, you should arrange (as far as possible), appointments and outings:

  • after school hours
  • at weekends
  • during school holidays

Reporting Absence

You must notify the school by 8.30am if your child is unable to attend.  The school should be updated on each and every day of absence.


To report absences by telephone, call the school on 0208 551 4321 and select Option 1 - you must clearly state your child's, name, class and reason for absence.


Absence related emails should be sent to

Where a child’s absence is a cause for concern, they will be required to complete a Return to School form and meet with the attendance officer.  Parents/carers will be notified when their child’s attendance becomes a cause for concern.

As per our Attendance Policy, we ask that medical appointments are made outside of school hours, where possible; where this is not possible, the school require at least 2 days’ notice for all medical appointments, excluding emergency appointments. Where it has been necessary to make an emergency appointment, you should inform us in the first instance.

Requests for absences during term time

We do not authorise family holidays in term time, in line with Redbridge policy.

You may request leave of absence in exceptional circumstances or on compassionate grounds but we are not obliged to grant it.  Should you wish to request leave of absence please write to Mrs West, Attendance Officer, outlining the reason for your request.  Please be aware that if a request is refused and your child still incurs unauthorised absences, this may lead to a penalty notice. 

Families of students who are absent in the days prior to, or after any school holiday will be required to provide medical evidence to authorise their child’s absence. If no sufficient evidence is provided, the absence will be marked as unauthorised holiday and a Penalty Notice will be issued.

Penalty Notice Process

Parents and Cares have a legal duty to ensure their children attend school regularly and punctually.  Failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at the school where they are registered, is a criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £1000 per parent per child.

Caterham High School operates the Redbridge Penalty Notice process for 12 or more unauthorised sessions of absence within a 12-week period.  Please note a session is half a day of unauthorised absence.  Penalty notices are administered by the Local Authority and they have the responsibility for issuing them to parents and carers.


One of the aims of Caterham High School is to prepare children for adult life.  To this end we expect pupils to be punctual at all times.

A pupil arriving after 8.30am is late and receives a late mark in the register.  We would ask for your co-operation in ensuring that your child leaves home early enough to arrive at school before the bell.  Pupils who arrive late will receive a next day, lunchtime detention.  Persistent lateness will result in further intervention.

If a student arrives later than 9.15am, they will be given a U code.  This means, that even though they are present, they will be marked as absent without authorisation for the whole morning session.

For any questions or queries regarding attendance, please contact our Attendance Officer, Mrs D West,