Attendance & Absence Procedure

Attendance at Merit


When a student first comes to Merit, it is usually at a point in their life when attendance at their own school has been difficult and sometimes impossible for a range of different health needs.


At Merit, we are committed to provide an education that is broad, balanced and appropriate for all our students. We aim to enthuse, encourage and improve self- esteem and to provide an engaging, and if required, bespoke programme of study with a students Wellbeing at the heart of the curriculum. We aim to create an environment where all students can feel listened to, valued and welcomed and where all their needs can be met in our small teaching groups.


Attendance is taken very seriously at Merit. We aim to improve attendance in line with national expectations of 95%-100%. We work very closely with the Education Welfare Service and other support agencies to achieve this. Additionally, every member of the school community is aware of their role and responsibilities and makes an effective contribution to improving attendance for all our students.


Good attendance, rigorously monitored, ensures that we can keep all students safe. It also ensures that students receive the maximum benefit from our Wellbeing curriculum, counsellors and other therapies available here, to be able to move forward positively in life. This may be a return to their own school or to college and beyond.


Regular attendance at school is a legal requirement. Improved, good and excellent attendance will be celebrated in pastoral time and in celebration assemblies. Unnecessary absence will always be challenged.


What you can expect of us


We will keep accurate records of student attendance. Early contact with parents will be made where no appropriate reason has been provided. We will act swiftly and sensitively to resolve these problems, whatever their nature. When students return to school following absence, they will be welcomed back and praised for their resilience. If we do not hear from the parent or carer on the first day of absence, a call will be made and a follow up visit to the home may take place if appropriate, or requested.


What we expect from parents or carers


We ask that you actively encourage your child to attend school on a regular basis and that you will make contact with us ON THE FIRST DAY of absence, whenever your child is unable to attend. Keep in touch with us and inform us of any issues that may hinder your child’s return to school, because we will be able to support you through these issues.


In addition, we would like you to ensure that routine medical appointments, for example a trip to the dentist or optician, take place outside of school hours. If appointments cannot be avoided during the school day, please ensure that your child returns to school as soon as possible after the appointment.


It is interesting to note that a student who misses on average one day a week, that it would constitute A WHOLE YEAR of lost education when spread across the five years in secondary school. A sobering thought! Absence costs your child valuable grades in Year 11 and can limit life chances.