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Stoke Damerel Community College

Attendance and Punctuality



  • 97%    SDCC Target for student attendance
  • 90%    Equates to your child missing ½ a day a week. Every Week.
  • 80%    Equates to your child missing 1 day a week – or a whole year’s education over the course of their secondary schooling!


  • Missing just 17 days in one year (90%) can cause a drop of a full grade at GCSE
  • Only about one in four students with attendance less than 90% achieve 5 4-9 GCSEs
  • Only about one in ten students with less than 80% attendance achieve 5 4-9 GCSEs
  • And achieving 5 4-9 GCSEs can increase wages by 42%


Please ensure you know the dates of the school year, a printable calendar is available on the school website – or phone for a copy.  We cannot authorise absences where parents forget a term date or when students provide incorrect information to parents.

8.35 Students need to be onsite ready for line up at 8.40am. It is essential your child attends this period daily. Students failing to attend registration will be recorded as Late and issued an after-school detention. If students arrive after our register closes (9.30 am) they will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and are at risk of receiving a Penalty Notice Fine, should this happen 8 or more times. 

3pm School finishes (Twilight lessons at 4.00 pm), we will never release your child early without contacting you

Stoke Damerel Procedures:

Our electronic registration system means that we can register students to every lesson.  We will check your child’s attendance regularly and will contact you should we have any concerns.  

  • We aim to contact by SMS text and/or e-mail the parent/carer of any child not present in school each day and for whom we have not had a telephone call explaining their absence
  • Please ensure we have your current mobile telephone number, email and postal address
  • Please ensure we have a daytime contact number at all times so that we can contact you in case of concern or any emergency involving your child

Attendance Concerns:

  • If attendance drops below 95% we will send a letter of concern.  Should attendance drop further towards 90% we may have to ask you to provide evidence to support absence from school as students with attendance of 90% or less are classified as Persistent Absentees by government criteria.
  • Should attendance fail to improve we will invite you to a meeting at which we will initiate an Individual Attendance Plan to seek to identify barriers to attendance and provide support and solutions.
  • Should attendance still fail to improve we will refer the student to our Attendance Outreach Worker who will visit you at home and again seek to resolve issues.  Only following this will we refer the student to the Local Authority who may consider the issuing of penalty notices and ultimately prosecution.


Please note that absence from school can only be authorised by the Principal of the School. Parents cannot authorise absence. 

Examples of Authorised absence

  • Illness
  • Medical appointments (routine medical/dental check-ups should be made out of school hours whenever possible), if the medical appointment occurs in the morning or afternoon, your child is expected to attend school before or after the appointment (you'll need to provide evidence of the appointment)
  • Transport that wasn't provided by us when it should have been
  • Unavoidable cause (this means an unusual/extraordinary event that couldn’t be avoided
  • A specified, limited period for an immediate family member's bereavement, crisis or serious illness
  • A funeral of an immediate family member
  • Religious observance (you'll need authorisation from the school at least four weeks before the event)
  • A specified, limited period for children of service personnel about to go on deployment (you'll need to provide a letter from the Commanding Officer as evidence)
  • One day for a wedding of an immediate family member (you'll need to provide the invitation as evidence)
  • One day for an immediate family members graduation ceremony/passing out parade (you'll need to provide the invitation as evidence)
  • A one off sporting events/performing arts competitions if your child is participating and is at county standard or above (you'll need to provide a letter from the performing arts/sports regional governing body as evidence)
Examples of Unauthorised absence
  • Caring for other family members
  • Birthdays
  • To interpret for family members
  • Having no school uniform/shoes
  • Bullying
  • Friendship problems
  • Head lice
  • Learning difficulties
  • Family holiday
  • Weddings abroad (even if it's immediate family)
  • Family anniversaries
  • Death of a pet
  • Travel problems
  • Attending immigration interviews with parents or guardian
  • Moving house
  • School refusal
  • Lateness after the school's registration period


We will authorise absence on receipt of a phone call from the parent/carer to our Absence Line – 01752 284221 as long as attendance remains acceptable.  The Absence Line has an answerphone and messages can be left 24 hours a day.

We ask that you phone daily and should your child be absent for more than 3 days will expect some form of evidence of the seriousness of their illness to support the absence being authorised.  

You should send your child to school on any day that they do not have a temperature, diarrhoea, vomiting or contagious condition.  We have a highly experienced 1st Aider who will contact you should we consider your child is unfit to remain at school.  We will only authorise the absence of students leaving school unwell if a member of staff has authorised their departure. Students should not contact parents directly, should they do so any resultant absence will be unauthorised.

We will administer any medicines which your child requires at the appropriate times you will need to sign an authorisation form obtainable from reception.  The fact that your child is on a course of antibiotics is not a satisfactory reason for keeping your child away from school.

Should we have concerns regarding the amount of time your child is absent due to illness we will contact you. Should attendance fall below 90% the Principal may decide not to authorise any further absence on medical grounds without evidence of inability to attend.

Medical Appointments

We expect medical appointments to be arranged for after school, or if necessary as close to the end of the school day as possible, but appreciate that this is not always possible and that students may have to attend appointments at other times, however we will authorise only half a day’s absence for appointments.  DfE require that students bring a printed appointment card to show their tutor and to book out at reception.  Students failing to produce a printed appointment card will have their absence recorded as unauthorised

Holidays during term-time

Principals no longer have the authority to authorise holiday absence during term-time.  Any holiday in term-time request will be declined unless for exceptional circumstances and any resultant absence will be unauthorised.  We are required to inform the local authority of any holiday absence of 8 or more sessions (4 days). Please complete an Absence Request Form and return it to the Attendance Officer at least 1 week before the planned absence.

Religious Observance

Please phone the Attendance Office should your child need to be absent from school for reasons of religious observance.

Other Absence

Principals may now only authorise absence from school in exceptional circumstances, any requests should be made via the Absence Request Form and submitted to the Attendance Officer, but please note – we will not authorise absence from school for moving house/birthdays/obtaining or not having appropriate uniform or caring for relatives.


Absence Line (Answerphone at night) 01752 284221
Pippa Brennand Attendance Officer 01752 284221
Simon Kelly Director of Student Services 01752 556065
Emma Hermon-Wright, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead  01752 284112 


Plymouth City Council: Education

Information from the Department of Education


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