Attendance

 

Attendance Documents can be downloaded please see below.

Introduction

This is a successful school and your child plays their part in making it so. We aim for an environment which enables and encourages all members of the community to reach out for excellence. For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.

It is very important therefore that you make sure that your child attends regularly and this Policy sets out how together we will achieve this.

Why Regular Attendance is so Important

Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Any pupil’s absence disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class.

Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.

Promoting Regular Attendance

Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility – parents, pupils and all members of school staff.

To help us all to focus on this we will:

  • Give you details on whole school attendance in our regular Newsletter;
  • Report to you at least half-termly on how your child is performing in school, what their attendance and punctuality rate is and how this relates to their attainments;
  • Celebrate good attendance by displaying individual and class achievements;
  • Reward good or improving attendance through tutor group competitions, individual certificates and rewards.

Your Responsibilities as a Parent

By law, all children of compulsory school age (5 to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. As a parent, you have a legal responsibility to make sure this happens – either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements to give them a suitable, full-time education. Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly.

If they do not, you will be contacted by your child’s school or the local authority. Local authorities have a duty to step in if they believe a child is not getting the education required by law, either at home or at school.

If your child is missing school, you may be visited by a member of the Local Authority; Attendance Improvement Service. They will talk to you about your child’s attendance problems and as a last resort may prosecute for persistent irregular attendance.

A child continues to be of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year that they reach the age of 16.

Understanding Types of Absence

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required, preferably in writing.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like; sickness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause.

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings.   This includes:

  • Parents/carers 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
  • shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
  • Day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed. 

Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child.  If your 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 usually make things worse.

Persistent Absenteeism (PA)

A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 15% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents’ fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.

We monitor all absence thoroughly. Any case that is seen to have reached the PA mark or is at risk of moving towards that mark is given priority and you will be informed of this immediately.

PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully through our pastoral system and we also combine this with academic mentoring where absence affects attainment.

All our PA pupils and their parents are subject to an Action Plan and the plan may include: allocation of additional support through a Mentor, use of revision guides and extra-curricular time, individual incentive programmes and participation in group activities around raising attendance. All PA cases are also automatically made known to the Education Welfare Officer.

Persistent Absentee – What Steps are Taken?

Absence Procedures

If your child is absent you must:

  • Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence;
  • Send a note in on the first day they return with an explanation of the absence – you must do this even if you have already telephoned us;
  • Or, you can call into school and report to reception, who will arrange for a member of staff to speak with you.

If your child is absent we will:

  • Telephone or text you on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you;
  • Invite you in to discuss the situation with our Attendance Officer and/or Heads of House if absences persist;
  • Refer the matter to the Pupil Attendance & Education Welfare Officer if attendance moves below 85%.

Telephone Numbers

There are times when we need to contact parents about lots of things, including absence, so we need to have your contact numbers at all times. So help us to help you and your child by making sure we always have an up to date number – if we don’t then something important may be missed. There will be regular checks on telephone numbers throughout the year.

The Education Welfare Officer

Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together.  This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the Pupil Attendance & Education Welfare Officer from the Local Authority.  He/she will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed and unauthorized absences persist, these Officers can use sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court. Full details of the options open to enforce attendance at school are available from the school or the Local Authority.

Alternatively, parents or children may wish to contact the EWO 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.

Lateness

Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If your child misses the start of the day they can miss work and do not spend time with their class teacher getting vital information and news for the day. Late arriving pupils also disrupt lessons, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence.

How We Manage Lateness

The school day starts at 8.45am and we expect your child to be in class at that time.

Registers are marked by 9.05am and your child will receive a late mark if they are not in by that time.

At 9.30am the registers will be closed.  In accordance with the Regulations, if your child arrives after that time they will receive a mark that shows them to be on site, but this will not count as a present mark and it will mean they have an unauthorised absence. This may mean that you could face the possibility of a Penalty Notice if the problem persists.

If your child has a persistent late record you will be asked to meet with the Attendance Officer and/or Heads of House to resolve the problem, but you can approach us at any time if you are having problems getting your child to school on time.

Holidays In Term Time

Taking holidays in term time will affect your child’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not to take children away in school time.

Remember that any savings you think you may make by taking a holiday in school time are offset by the cost to your child’s education.

There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to go on holiday.

There are only 190 school days each academic year which leaves 175 days for holidays, family outings, buying of school uniform, haircuts and birthday treats etc.  Government legislation states that we should expect ALL students to reach attendance levels of 95% each year.  Please only request holiday leave in unavoidable circumstances.  If you take your child on a 2 week (10 school days) holiday you have automatically reduced their attendance levels to 94% and 50 lessons are missed.

Parents might reconsider taking holiday in term time if they were aware that missed lessons may never be repeated:

  • 1 day absence                   =                5 lessons missed
  • 3 days absence                 =              15 lessons missed
  • 1 week absence                =              25 lessons missed
  • 2 weeks absence              =              50 lessons missed

Any period of leave taken without the agreement of the school, or in excess of that agreed, will be classed as unauthorised and may attract sanctions such as a Penalty Notice.

School Targets, Projects and Special Initiatives

The school has targets to improve attendance and your child has an important part to play in meeting these targets.

  • Targets for the school and for classes are displayed in the school and you should take time to study them.
  • The minimum level of attendance for this school is 95% attendance and we will keep you updated regularly about progress to this level and how your child’s attendance compares.
  • Our target is to achieve better than this however because we know that good attendance is the key to successful schooling and we believe our pupils can be amongst the best in the city.
  • Through the school year we monitor absences and punctuality to show us where improvements need to be made.
  • Information on any projects or initiatives that will focus on these areas will be
  • Provided in our Newsletter and we ask for your full support.

Those people responsible for attendance matters in this school are:

Gill Weston – Attendance Officer

Pauline Harding – Head of House, Attendance

Tracey Pratt – KS4/5 Progress Manager

Emma Merry – Vice Principal

Summary

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.

All school staff are committed to working with parents and pupils as the best way to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible.

Documents:

Attendance Reporting Absence
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Attendance Table Achievement
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Attendance Action Plan and Targets
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Persistent Absentee: what steps are taken
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