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It is a legal requirement that we keep an accurate record of attendance and absence, and differentiate accurately between authorised and unauthorised absences.

Unplanned absence

If your daughter/son is prevented from attending school through illness or due to an unavoidable circumstance, please notify the School Office by telephone on 01223 454700 or email us at studentabsence@stephenperse.com on the first day of absence before 08:30am. You will receive a phone call from the School Office if your child is not at school and you have not contacted us. 

Parents are requested to ensure that the doctor has agreed that their child may return to school following an infectious or contagious illness, although a certificate is not required. Following Health Protection Agency guidelines, we ask that a child does not return to school for 48 hours after a case of diarrhoea or vomiting.

Planned absence

If your daughter/son has a medical appointment, external music examination or visa appointment, please email us at studentabsence@stephenperse.com the details of the planned absence 72 hours in advance, though we appreciate this may not be possible for emergency appointments. Please include your daughter/son’s first name and surname, and if possible their year/form, in the subject of the email.

Where possible please avoid making routine medical or dental appointments during school hours, especially the middle of the school day. We endeavour to respond to requests for planned absence authorisation within two working days. 

Students should sign out at Reception if they are leaving school early. No student may leave the premises during normal school hours, including the lunch hour, without a written request from their parent or guardian or special permission from their Pastoral Leader.

Which absences are likely to be unauthorised?

  • Family holidays: Given that term dates are published over a year in advance (find them here), absence for any period of time for a family holiday will not be categorised as 'authorised', even where there is an educational aspect of the holiday. This includes the travel to and from the holiday.
  • Birthday celebrations: These will normally not be categorised as 'authorised' even, with regret, where this is the significant birthday of an elderly relative. We would encourage alternative arrangements for celebrations that fall on a weekend or holiday to be made.

The following family events are considered exceptional and are therefore normally authorised:

  • Wedding day of immediate family members (e.g. Parent, sibling). Any preparatory day will not count as a part of this, except where it is necessary to travel to the venue (up to a maximum of one day either side of the wedding day).
  • Graduation ceremony of immediate family member - as per wedding.
  • Funeral of immediate or close family member or close friend. It is our express wish not to cause additional suffering in the case of the death of a loved one, so periods of absence around this time will be considered as authorised and our pastoral care systems will be made available to students.

Other circumstances

Sports, drama and music participation

Absences to allow participation in activities that fall into these categories will be approved if they meet the following criteria:

  • Sports: International, National or significant Regional sporting competitions, up to 5 days in any academic year.
  • Drama: Rehearsals and performances for drama performances in National or significant Regional productions, and where there is a clear plan to mitigate against the work that is missed. This will normally be limited to one production per year and not during an external exam year.
  • Music: It is understood that, once musicians reach a certain calibre, the demands on practice time can be extremely significant. Where this is anticipated, we would request that a meeting be arranged at the beginning of the academic year with the Head of School and the Pastoral Leader to arrange a plan that will allow for both musical and academic demands to be met. Where this is not the case, permission will be granted for International, National or significant Regional performances, up to 5 days in any academic year.

Open Days

It is understood that students will want to make visits and attend interviews of institutions that they are planning on attending further down their educational career.  Whilst these will be categorised as ‘authorised’, they should be encouraged to arrange these for weekends and holidays wherever possible.

Educational opportunities

There may occasionally arise educational opportunities that present an opportunity for personal growth that is significant and only available if school time is missed.  These will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and can be approved if they are:

  • In the best interests of the student
  • Genuinely educational in nature
  • Unavailable outside of school hours (i.e. missing school is a requirement not a convenience)