School Attendance – Key Information
It is important that children attend school regularly to gain the best education possible and enable them to achieve to their full potential. Children who regularly miss days of school can struggle to keep up with their school work and often miss out on the social side of school life which can affect their ability to make and keep good friends.
Regular lateness is disruptive to a child (and other children in class) and it can affect a their education as they miss out on the vital routines and the first part of the education for the day. They may also start the school day unsettled and find it more difficult to concentrate on their learning.
School Procedures including for absence:
- The gates open at 08.45am each day.
- The doors close at 09.00am each day.
- Outside of these times you must bring your child in through the main office and sign them into school in the appropriate record book.
- Children arriving from 09.00am to 09.10am will be marked as late.
- Children arriving after 09.10am will be marked as unauthorised for the morning session.
- At the end of the day children should be collected promptly at the following times:
Years 1 and 2: 3.25pm
Years 3 and 4: 3.30pm
- If your child is not well please call the school office on 01582 662232 option 1 and leave a clear message with the child’s name, class, reason for absence and how long you expect them to be off school for.
- Absences should be reported as soon as possible on the first day of absence. If your child is off for longer than you first reported or their absence goes into the following week, please report their absence again.
Procedure for unreported absences
The procedures below set out the day when each action will be initiated by the school. However, each will be repeated in the intervening days before the next step is taken.
Day 1: Any unreported absence will initially be marked as ‘no reason reported for absence’ and a text message will be sent to contacts 1 and 2 as a reminder that parents/carers must report the reason for absence. If a suitable explanation is not received then we will phone any contact that we hold a number for. If we are still unsuccessful, the absence will be changed to unauthorised.
Day 3: If we still have not heard from you regarding your child’s absence, we will phone all of the contact numbers that we hold for your child.
Day 5: If we still have no explanation for the absence of your child, we will visit your address.
Day 10: Your child will be reported to the Local Authority as a Child Missing Education.
Medical and Dental appointments
- These appointments, where possible, should not be scheduled during the school day.
- When this is unavoidable, children should only be taken out of school for the minimum time required to travel to, attend and travel back from the appointment.
- Unless an appointment is first thing in the morning, children should still arrive at school for morning registration. Please inform the school office of when you will need to collect your child for their appointment.
- If your child is expected to attend regular appointments due to a medical condition, please discuss the circumstances with the school office.
Absence due to illness
- When a child is too unwell to attend school, please inform the office and the absence will in a majority of cases be authorised.
- For children who have vomited or had a case of diarrhoea, they must be kept off from school for a period of 48 hours from the last episode.
- For children with infectious diseases, they need to be kept off from school until they are no longer contagious. This will be different for different illnesses and we will be able clarify how long children are expected to be absent when you inform us of the illness.
- Children with coughs and colds should be attending school as normal. We have an abundant supply of tissues and patience. We would much prefer they came to school.
- If you are in any doubt about whether your child is well enough to attend, we encourage you to bring your child to school and they often improve once they are settled. If they are too unwell to remain, we will call you to come and pick them up.
Please note: avoid telling children that you will pick them up if they are unwell. They are more likely to settle if they believe that they are in school for the duration of the day.
- The Headteacher is responsible for authorising all absences from our school including for illness. If a suitable explanation is not given, or repeated illnesses occur the headteacher has the right to ask for further proof of a medical situation before authorising an absence.
- We want to work with parents and it is highly unusual that children with complicated medical issues are not known to the school. However, we encourage parents to discuss any issues relating to your child’s health that will affect their attendance.
- If the Headteacher is not satisfied that sufficient proof has been presented to explain an absence, then it will be unauthorised. These absences will contribute to the overall absence record of a pupil and if they accrue 10 or more sessions of unauthorised absence in a 12-week period, a Fixed Penalty Notice can be issued.
The school continuously monitors the absence of children. As absence rates drop below the attendance percentage set out below, a letter will be triggered to alert you to your child’s current attendance rate.
- Letter 1: below 97% - although this seems like a satisfactory attendance percentage, we would have concerns that if the attendance rate stays the same or drops further, then your child is likely to be missing out on a number of lessons over the year.
The letter is to advise you of your child’s attendance rate. It is unlikely that parents monitor their child’s attendance rate and so you may well be unaware that your child’s percentage is dropping. The letter will invite you to share any issues with us, but it is not expected that parents necessarily have to respond to this letter.
- Letter 2: below 94% - Your child’s attendance is low and they have missed quite a few days. The lessons that they have missed are likely to create gaps in their learning and may also have affected their subsequent learning.
This letter will inform you of our concern and suggests that you discuss your child’s absence with us. We would expect to see an improvement in your child’s attendance.
- Letter 3: below 90% - This is an unacceptable level of attendance unless there is a satisfactory explanation which should already have been shared with the school. This letter requires you to attend a meeting with the Headteacher and to contribute to creating an action plan to immediately improve the attendance of your child.
You are at risk of being classed as a ‘persistent absentee’ which can lead to a fixed penalty notice and the Local Authority’s Educational Welfare Officer may also want to investigate.
Authorising a leave of absence
The Headteacher is the only one who is allowed to authorise a leave of absence and only then if the following criteria are met:
- you make an application to the head teacher in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with)
- there are exceptional circumstances
To apply for a leave of absence, please ask for a form from the school office.
Exceptional circumstances are difficult to define but they are expected to be rare, significant and unavoidable and it should not be reasonably possible to schedule at a different time. Possible examples would include weddings, funerals and significant religious festivals.
It is possible for a leave of absence to be partly authorised but for some days to be unauthorised. This will be the case when an exceptional event is taking place, but the length of time being requested is longer than required to attend the event. For example, requesting a full week for a wedding taking place in this country.
Fixed Penalty Notices
Applying for a Fixed Penalty Notice is always a last resort for a school and we would much prefer to work with our parents to understand the issues behind your child’s absence. However, we reserve the right to issue a fine to families that are not actively engaging with the school to improve their child’s attendance and for those who take children out of school for a term time holiday.
- Each school day is split into 2 sessions: the morning and the afternoon.
- If a child accrues 10 or more sessions of unauthorised absence over a 12-week period the school can consider applying to the council to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £60 per parent.
- Any child taken out of school for an unauthorised term time holiday lasting 5 days or more will also be subject to a Fixed Penalty Notice. Again, this will be charged at £60 per parent.