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St. Paul's Primary School, Belfast



What are the attendance expectations?

One of our school values is to celebrate success. Good attendance is fundamental to a successful and fulfilling school experience. We actively promote 100% attendance for all our pupils. Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child(ren) attend school regularly and arrive on time.  Regular attendance is essential to the all-round development of the child and they should be allowed to take full advantage of educational opportunities available to them.  Poor attendance undermines their education and sometimes, puts pupils at risk, encouraging anti-social behaviour

Only the Headteacher can authorise absence using a consistent approach. The Headteacher is not obliged to accept a parent’s explanation.  A letter or telephone message from a parent does not in itself authorise an absence. If absences are not authorised, parents will be notified.


Only the school can authorise a child’s absence. An absence is recorded as authorised when a child has been away from school for a legitimate reason, and the school has received notification from a parent or carer. For example, if a child has been unwell and the parent writes a note or sends an email to explain the reason. Wherever possible medical evidence should be provided. In cases where the child’s attendance is below 95%, medical evidence will be required before the absence will be authorised.


An absence is recorded as unauthorised when is child is away from school without the permission of the school. The following are examples where absence will be unauthorised:

 Another member of the family is ill

The family have overslept, or had a late night

There are problems with uniform or clothing

You have forgotten school dates

It has snowed and you live within walking distance of the school

An annual family event, such as a birthday

An outing, e.g. to a theme park

You take your child shopping

A parent or sibling has a medical or other appointment

You have a problem with your car

How do I report absence?

Please contact the school office on 028 90328968. It is a parents’ responsibility to contact school on the first day of a child’s absence.  Parents should regularly update the school and inform on when their child is returning, this helps both home and school ensure children are safeguarded.

If school is not made aware of why a child is absent it will be recorded as an unauthorized absence.

What causes concerns?


What do the codes mean on my child's registration certificate?


Present AM

  Present PM
A Artistic Endeavour
B Bereavement
C Suspended
D Did not provide a reason for absence
F Family Holiday (Agreed)
H Other Absence
I Illness (Not Medical/Dental Appointments)
L Late (before registration closed)
M Medical/Dental Appointments 
N No reason yet provided for absence
O Other Exceptional Circumstances
P Approved Sporting Activity
R Religious Observance 
S  Study Leave
U Late (After registers closed) - After 9:30AM
! No attendance required
4 Pupil Referral Unit


How do we celebrate good attendance?

At the end of each half term children are awarded a special certificate for achieving 100% attendance during that period. If by the end of the school year children have achieved 100% from September through to July, they are awarded with a further certificate and a prize at our final celebration assembly. 

Holidays in term time

From September 2013 the Department for Education have amended the Pupil Registration Regulations, removing the Headteacher’s ability to authorise leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday. It is our policy that children will not be taken out of school during term time except in exceptional circumstances.  A child's absence during term time can seriously disrupt their continuity of learning. Not only do they miss valuable teaching on the days they are away, they are also less prepared for the lessons when they return to school.

Requests must be made in writing, to the Headteacher, with at least 14 days’ notice.