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.
  • Maintain 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 have attended every single day since the academic year began in 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. See Club Points section to learn how you can still access our rewards programme should you lose your pin badge.

Throughout the academic year, we 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 large-scale events include 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.

All future events will include fairground rides and many other games and activities; all will be revealed throughout each 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

Every half term, we select three families to win one of the following prizes:

  • A £100 supermarket voucher for 100% attendance in the academic year to date (one family 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 8.10am – 8.30am. Upon arrival students can proceed to the canteen, where they will receive a free breakfast of toast or cereal. Students should be in their form room by 8:30am.

It is imperative that students arrive within their 20-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 into the planner. This will reset each term and the PD policy is followed regarding 3 negative comments for late to school means an after-school detention.

A student who arrives after the AM registration window has closed (any time after 9am) will be marked with an unauthorised absence or with another absence code if that is more appropriate.

College Interviews / Medical Appointments

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

Club Points

During the academic year of 2022/23 we revolutionised the way in which our young people are rewarded and celebrated for maintaining strong attendance. This saw the launch of 100% Club Points! This initiative sees all students who have 100% attendance in a week receive a “100% Club Point”. Students can use their “100% Club Points” to ‘buy’ access to the 100% Attendance Incentives such as the weekly Pop Up Events, Queue Jump, and large-scale events such as the JSA end of year festival. This means that EVERYONE can still access the events that are available to 100% Attendance Club members if they can save up enough points. Remember though, once it’s gone it’s gone.

Students can also win additional 100% Club Points at the weekly Pop Up Events, in Form Time Competitions, assemblies and during ad hoc additional competitions that take place across the year.