This Policy should not be seen in isolation but is a strand that underpins all other polices related to the wellbeing of children including safeguarding, behaviour, bullying, and support for children with medical needs. It should also be read in conjunction with the Late Collection Policy and Parent Handbook

Principles

Regular school attendance is the key to enabling children and young people to maximise the educational opportunities available to them and become emotionally resilient, confident and competent adults who are able to realise their full potential and make a positive contribution to their community.

All children should be in school, on time, every day that school is open unless the reason for absence is unavoidable

Promoting positive behaviour and excellent attendance is the responsibility of our whole school community.

School Responsibilities

The school will promote positive behaviour and good attendance through its use of curriculum and learning materials.

Good attendance and behaviour by pupils will be recognised appropriately. All children should be at school, on time, every day the school is open, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.

  • We will work with parents to resolve problems which may affect a child’s attendance and will involve representatives of other agencies that work with the school such as the School Nurse or representatives of the Local Support Team such as Education Welfare Workers if required in order to ensure all children can benefit from consistently good punctuality and attendance.
  • We will use the Early Help Assessment process to support this.
  • We will be proactive in encouraging attendance for all pupils through ensuring parents and pupils receive information on the importance of good attendance and punctuality and will react swiftly to intervene to improve attendance of individual children should this become a concern.

Parents or Carers Responsibilities

All children are sometimes reluctant to attend school. Any problems that arise with attendance are best resolved between the school, the parents and the child. If a child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and may make things worse. Permitting absence from school without a good reason is an offence by the parent.

  • Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children of compulsory school age attend school regularly.
  • Inform school straight away if your child cannot attend and give the reason.
  • Try to make medical, dental or other appointments outside the school day
  • Ensure the school is aware of any circumstances at home that may be likely to affect their attendance
  • Encourage good routines at home which promote a healthy lifestyle including enough sleep
  • Talk to your child about school and let the school know if your child is worried about any issues such as difficulties with homework or friendship problems.
  • Do not book holidays in term time – this will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances
  • Seek advice from your G.P. if you are not sure how long to keep your child off school with an illness
  • Ensure school has all your up to date contact details.
  • Encourage your child to enjoy school and make the most of all the opportunities available to them.

Schools are required to take an attendance register twice a day, and this shows whether the pupil is present, engaged in an approved educational activity off-site, or absent. If a pupil of compulsory school age is absent every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school, as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. Only school can authorise the absence, not parents. This is why information about the cause of each absence is always required, preferably in writing.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness or other unavoidable cause.

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This includes:

  • Parents keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • Truancy before or during the school day
  • Absences which have never been properly explained
  • Children who arrive at school too late to get a mark

Parents whose children are experiencing difficulties should contact the school at an early stage and work together with the staff in resolving any problems. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school or the parent may refer the child to the Education Welfare Officer from the County Council or local support teams. He/she will also try to resolve the situation with voluntary support, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed.

New guidelines for issuing Penalty Notices were published in February 2015. In extreme cases court proceedings to prosecute parents or to seek an Education Supervision Order on the child can be imposed. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine and/or imprisonment.

Alternatively, parents or children may wish to contact local support agencies themselves to ask for help or information. They are independent of the school and will give impartial advice. Their telephone number is available from the school office or by contacting the Local Education Authority.

Procedures

The school applies the following procedures in deciding how to deal with individual absences:

  • Children may enter the school buildings between 8.40am and 8.55am. Any child arriving after 9.00am must report to the school office and sign the late book.
  • Registers are called promptly at 8.55am and close at 9.00am.
  • If your child is absent from school, we require that you ring school, where possible, before the start of the school day, or before 9.15.am.
  • If we do not receive a message, our school secretary will contact you and we shall keep a record of calls made.
  • We require a brief note on the child’s return to school, confirming the reasons for their absence.
  • If a child has to attend an appointment for the dentist, doctor, hospital, etc, we require notification in writing. We would expect that in many cases appointments can be made before or after school, or in some cases during school holidays.

We will inform the Local Authority of the absence of any child for a continuous period of 10 days or more without school’s permission.

The school will involve the Local Support Team and take due regard of safeguarding procedures where absence of a particular child is less than 10 days but presents a cause for concern. Information sharing will be with the knowledge of the parent/carer.

If a parent/carer wishes to appeal against any issues regarding attendance they may do so by speaking to the head teacher in the first instance and, if the situation is not resolved ,by following the complaints procedure.

The safeguarding governor and the safeguarding committee meet termly regarding school attendance data, policy and procedures.

All school staff have a duty to report concerned or repeated absences to the designated safeguarding staff; Miss J.A. Fletcher. The Principal has the responsibility to report concerns to the governing body and the local authority.

Monitoring and analysis of attendance data to ensure appropriate action is in place to encourage good punctuality and attendance for all pupils including vulnerable groups takes place at least termly and all families receive information on their child(rens) attendance for the term. Any child where attendance raises concerns is discussed with the EWO and with the parents/carers

In school we encourage and recognise good attendance and punctuality through weekly praise assemblies, best class attendance awards and end of year medals and certificates.

Good attendance is agreed by all parents/carers, pupils and the head teacher in the Home/School agreement

Holiday Leave Entitlement

On September 1st 2013 the Government introduced some significant changes to attendance regulations for pupils at school. These were updated in February 2015. The most important of these is in relation to term-time family holidays. Below is a quotation directly from the Department for Education Circular:

'The amendments make clear that Head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.'

I draw your attention particularly to this paragraph. Clearly there are many situations which may constitute exceptional circumstances, but as a generality the school will interpret 'exceptional' in this context as being of unique and significant emotional, educational or spiritual value to the child, which outweighs the loss of teaching time. This interpretation will have different parameters from one case to another, and whilst it will be important to look at the whole situation in making decisions about any individual request, the normality will be that requests will be refused.

Please support the school in adhering to these new regulations, but, if you do need to take your child out of school during term time, you make it very clear in your request how the circumstances are exceptional. If this is not clear then under the new legislation, the school will not be allowed to grant leave.

In addition to this new legislation there are also new regulations in which the imposition of penalty fines for parents and carers taking children out of school in unauthorised circumstances will now be imposed more strictly by the Local Authority.

Further guidance can be found at: School Attendance

Persistent absence

Persistent absentees are defined as those pupils missing around 10 % or more of the typical amount of possible sessions across a given period.

When an individual pupil’s attendance level falls below 90% in any term without good reason, a referral to the EWO will be made by the school. Following investigation any unresolved issues could result in the parent receiving a Penalty Notice or ultimately a prosecution under the Education Act 1996 s.444.

It is not appropriate for the school to authorise absences for shopping, looking after other children, haircuts etc. Leave may be granted in an emergency (e.g. bereavement) or for medical appointments which must be in school time.

The importance of good attendance and its link to attainment

The Department of Education has published research into the effect that missing time from school can have on chances of succeeding in tests and exams (Short Breaks Damage Pupil's Futures). The research is based on data from all schools in England going back several years.

  • The results are very clear – missing even small amounts of time from school can have a significant effect on achievement.
  • For example, at the end of the 2012/13 Academic year 94% of pupils who were present all the time achieved 5+ GCSE A* - C or equivalent. Where attendance dropped to between 85 and 90% only 75% of pupils achieved these results. This equates to an absence of around 1 week per year during Years 10 and 11 and clearly illustrates the impact of attendance on attainment.
  • The same pattern is also seen at primary school level, where pupils missing up to just 14 days of school in key stage 2 (normally age 11) are a quarter less likely to achieve level 5 or above in reading, writing or mathematics tests than those with no absence.

Admissions Register

School keeps an admission register which records the date that each child joined the school and their personal details including those of their parents and of their previous school.

All schools (including academies) must keep a record of attendance register entries for at least 3 years and inform their local authority of any pupil who is going to be deleted from the admission register.

A pupil can lawfully be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 where they;

  • Have been taken out of school by their parents and are being educated outside the school system e.g. home education (see below on home educated children);
  • Have ceased to attend school and no longer live within reasonable distance of the school at which they are registered;
  • Have a medical condition certified by the school medical officer that the pupil is unlikely to be in a fit state of health to attend school;
  • Are in custody for a period of more than four months due to a final court order and the proprietor does not reasonably believe they will be returning to the school at the end of that period; or,
  • Have been permanently excluded.

Elective Home Education

If school receives written notification from parents that they wish to home educate their child then we will inform the Local Authority via Entrust at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the decision to remove the child’s name from the admissions register. Whilst school will not seek to prevent parents from choosing to electively home educate their child, neither will they seek to encourage them to do this – particularly as a way of avoiding exclusion or due to a poor attendance record.

Information about individual school targets, projects and special initiatives

The school has adopted the following attendance targets and special projects:

Attendance targets for our school are 95+ %.

We will always contact parents if a child is absent, within the first hour of the school day.

The people responsible for attendance matters in this school are:

  • The Head Teacher: Mrs J Ackers
  • The Office Service Manager: Mrs H Virani

The people responsible for attendance issues related to behaviour or incidents of bullying are:

  • The Head Teacher: Mrs J Ackers

Legal Framework

  • The Education Act 1996
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 and amendments 2010, 2011 and 2013
  • The Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999
  • The Education Act 2002; and The Changing of School Session Times (England) (Revocation) Regulations 2011
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003
  • The Education Act 2005
  • The Education and Inspections Act 2006
  • The Education (Parenting Contracts and Parenting Orders) (England) Regulations 2007
  • The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007 and amendments
  • The Education and Skills Act 2008
  • The Equality Act 2010

Appendices

The school has a legal duty to publish its absence figures to parents and to promote attendance. Equally, parents have a duty to make sure that their children attend. School staff are committed to working with parents as the best way to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible.

Policy date: March 2016

Review date: Autumn 2016