Why is attendance & punctuality important?

Every day in school matters. Excellent attendance is extremely important to us at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School. We want to protect our pupils’ education, maximising attendance is a priority.  Keeping children in classrooms is in their best interests. There is a direct link between attendance in school and student achievement. Regular attendance and being punctual will help students in their adult lives by preparing for the world of work. Regular attendance at school will also help students to develop social skills, make friends, and help them to communicate well with others. We expect every student to aim for 100% attendance and will support all pupils to achieve this wherever possible. We use good practice and learn from innovative ideas to shape and constantly develop and refine our attendance systems.


Please make sure that your child is at school every day on time.  There is incontrovertible evidence that once a child’s attendance falls below 95%, their achievement falls. They must be in school if at all possible. 100% attendance is even better and has genuine impact upon results at GCSE and A Level. Students find it easier to understand work, the expectations of their  teachers and what is needed for success in public exams. They are more likely to learn when they are always in class and it allows them to take advantage of a wider range of additional opportunities.

  • We will contact parents and carers if pupils are not in school
  • Follow-up any unexplained absences, especially for pupils with attendance problems
  • Arrange an interview with our Attendance and Welfare Manager if attendance is a cause for concern and falls below 95%
  • Refer any concerns to the Local Authority when school led interventions have not improved school attendance and when additional needs have been identified. Unauthorised absences can lead to statutory intervention
  • Refuse to authorise any requests for leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances. (Taking unauthorised leave during term time could result in Fixed Penalty Notice.)

We understand at times it may be necessary to attend a medical or dental appointment during school hours but we would encourage a pupil to come into school to get their present mark first for that session. It is always best if those appointments can take place before or after school. If your child is too ill to attend  then you must let us know before 8.20 a.m. on the first day of absence. You may do this by telephone (0191 384 3887 – choose Option 1) or by email school@durhamjohnston.org.uk . If your child is likely to be absent for a longer period of time, please keep us informed. A child should not be well enough to leave the house if they are too ill to come to school.

Amendments to the 2006 school attendance regulations came into force on 1 September 2013.  The amendments make it clear that a Headteacher may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  Requests for leave of absence should be made in writing to the Headteacher.  A LOA request form is available for download below, and copies are also available from the school office. 

Experience and research tell us that children who are taken out of school often never catch up on work they have missed.  This affects test results and can be particularly harmful if your child is studying for examinations.  Some children also find it very hard to renew or keep up friendships with their classmates. Term and holiday dates are published in the student organiser and also here on the website.



Every minute in school matters. A child arriving late to school will loses valuable learning time. Students are expected to arrive on the school site by 8.20am each day, in order to attend form period and start learning at 8.25am. If they arrive late for school, they must sign in at student reception.

The student access gate onto the school premises is locked at 8.20am every morning. Students arriving after the gate is locked will be recorded as late to school. Student names are taken and a reason for being late is requested. A member of staff records names until 8.35 in the “late book”. Students who arrive after 8.35 must sign in with the late sheet at reception. Names are recorded on SIMS as a behaviour event with no points attached.

Every Friday afternoon a SIMS report is created. This produces a list of students who have been late that week. These names are added to the late spreadsheet, where analysis allows those who have accumulated 3 lates (or multiples of 3) to be identified.

Year Leaders are consulted throughout this process to identify any pastoral factors which should be considered for each individual case. Regular communication with Form Tutors ensures that tutees are fully aware of our concerns and also any sanctions. A reminder yellow slip is placed in pigeon holes of staff teaching students Period 5 on Wednesday. 

Sanctions for punctuality are shown below. 



A student who is late to school 3 times

Letter home signed by Headteacher


Late 6 times

Letter home

15 minute detention on Friday after school in BSC. 

Late 9 times

Letter home

30 minute detention on Friday after school in BSC.

Late 12 times

Letter home

45 minute detention on Friday after school in BSC. 

Late 15 times, or multiples of 3 thereafter

Letter home

1 hour detention on Friday after school in BSC


Phonecalls home are made for any pupil who fails to attend detention. Sanctions will be escalated appropriately. Deliberate failure to attend will result in losing lunchtimes during the following week.
During the detentions, pupils will read and consider existing evidence and research regarding the importance of punctuality.