At John Smeaton Academy, attendance is one of our obsessions!

Research proves that there is a very clear relationship between excellent school attendance and academic achievement. Year after year, the students with the best school attendance achieve the best results. We are passionate about providing students with the best possible life chances and as such, know they have to ‘be here to get there.’

All students at John Smeaton Academy are set an attendance target of 97% or above.

Students with 97% attendance and above are more likely to:

  • Be appointed to a well paid job.
  • Make the best progress in their subjects.
  • Develop good habits for work and wider life.
  • Achieve higher than average grades in their GCSEs.
  • Secure a place at a college, University or a training course.
  • Maintaining strong and sound friendships.

Parents, carers and families are therefore asked to ensure that their young person is in school every day of term.

The law states that students can miss school if they are:

  • Too unwell to attend school*;
  • It has been authorised in advance by the Principal (such as a religious observance, funeral or competitive sporting event).

* Schools may ask for medical evidence to authorise extended periods of absence or when attendance is below 97%.

The table below details the number of days and lessons of invaluable learning opportunities missed over a year with attendance at different levels.

Yearly Attendance Yearly Days Missed Yearly Learning Hours Missed Learning Hours Missed Over 5 Years
100% 0 0 0
95% 10 50 250
90% 20 100 500
80% 40 200 1000
50% 100 500 2500

Attendance Process

If your child is absent from the Academy you must telephone the Attendance Line (0113 8313 990) on the first day of absence before 9.00 am and provide a reason.

  • If we do not receive communication, you will receive a phone call home from one of our team of dedicated Attendance Officers.
  • A home visit may be made depending on the student’s attendance record and the nature of the absence.
  • On returning to the Academy the student must take responsibility to catch up on work missed.

Students’ attendance is monitored against our Traffic Light Group system.

Home visits will be conducted by members of the Attendance Team if a student’s attendance is of concern. The purpose of making home visits is to have a conversation with families about their young person’s attendance, complete a safeguarding check and offer support where applicable.

Please be aware that John Smeaton Academy works closely with Leeds City Council and will transfer any cases of persistently poor attendance for possible prosecution in either the Family or Magistrates court.

The 100% Attendance Club

Maintaining an attendance record of 100% is a brilliant achievement and one that we are delighted to reward and celebrate. Students who achieve 100% attendance will be given a much-deserved place in the 100% Attendance Club. Membership of the club entitles students to a range of rewards, including celebration activities, trips and pop up events throughout the year.

A 100% Attendance Club pin badge is presented to students when they enter the club. It is expected that this badge is worn with pride, on the school blazer, at all times around the Academy. This is a student’s pass to a raft of rewards and treats including a specially allocated queue in the dining room, ensuring priority and speedy serving at lunch and break times. If any student is found to be abusing the badge, for example by loaning it to another student, the privilege of being in the 100% club will be removed.

Students that are members of the 100% attendance club from October half term will be those that secured 100% attendance at John Smeaton Academy following the 100% Attendance Club student launch assembly on Friday 17 September. Since October half term, we have welcomed to the club every student that has achieved 100% attendance since Friday 17 September. Students stay in the club and experience all the perks that go alongside this for as long as they maintain 100% attendance. This is reviewed weekly by the Attendance Team and any student who drops below 100% will hand their pin badge back to school.

Throughout the academic year, we will host several large-scale events to reward our students for their fantastic attendance; this is a way of recognising the incredible achievement in maintaining 100% attendance.

We know how to celebrate in style here at John Smeaton Academy: our first large-scale event included a fairground ride called the Miami ride, as well as giant inflatables, an ice cream van and a Wild West photobooth, alongside amazing food stalls. Members of the club also had a phenomenal opportunity to win a flight over Leeds in a helicopter!

Our future events will also include fairground rides and many other games and activities; all will be revealed throughout the academic year. We will therefore be requiring parents/carers to provide us with their consent in order for their child to be able to access the rides.

Exceptional Circumstances

We recognise 100% Attendance as being a huge achievement and one that needs significant reward and celebration! Therefore, only students with 100% Attendance will be granted access to the club. The 100% attendance club is a reward for those students who show resilience and excellent attitudes to school. We do, however, recognise that in some cases, absence from school is unavoidable. Examples include students being absent from school:

  • to mark a religious observance, including attending the wedding of a family member.
  • to attend a specialist medical appointment related to a lifelong medical condition.
  • to grieve for, and attend a funeral of an immediate family member.

In all cases where a parent / carer is seeking an exception to be made, the Principal must authorise this. Please complete an ‘Exceptional Circumstances form’ and return to the academy by email or post.

Students who maintain attendance above 97% will be able to access some of the same rewards given to those in the 100% Attendance Club. The Attendance Team may, when appropriate, also provide incentives and rewards specifically targeted to individuals or groups where it is seen fit.

An exceptional circumstances form does not need to be completed if the only absences are due to self-isolation.

Attendance Family Rewards

We understand the integral part that parents/carers play in ensuring that attendance remains high we extend our rewards to families to recognise this. Every half term, we select four families to win one of the following prizes:

  • A £100 supermarket voucher for 100% attendance in the academic year to date (two families randomly selected from all 100% attendance club students)
  • A £50 supermarket voucher for 97% or above attendance in the academic year to date (one family randomly selected from all 97%+ students)
  • A £20 supermarket voucher for the most improved attendance over the half term (randomly selected from the most improved students during the half term)

The above categories mean that any child and their family have a chance to win every half term!

Holidays in Term Time

John Smeaton Academy will never authorise a holiday during term time.

As an academy we recognise that financial pressures and work commitments sometimes make it difficult to take holidays outside of school time. However, we ask for your full support in ensuring that your son / daughter is in school all of the time to access an outstanding education.

If you choose to take an unauthorised leave of absence the case will be transferred to Leeds City Council to process a penalty fine.


John Smeaton Academy’s site is large, and it is therefore imperative that students factor in enough time to arrive at their morning destination in a calm and relaxed manner. Arrival times for all year groups is 8.25am – 8.40am. Upon arrival students should proceed immediately to their form room.

It is imperative that students arrive within their 15-minute arrival window. Students who are late to school will receive a verbal warning for their lateness on the first occasion. For every time after this, a negative comment will be written in to the planner. In addition, a break time detention on the same day will be issued. Students are expected to attend this break time detention. Failure to do so will result in an after-school detention being issued.

College Interviews

Due to safeguarding reasons, all students must be collected from school for college interviews.