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 agreement 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.
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 required and proof of any appointment must be shown in writing before it takes place.
Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason i.e illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and from which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. Reasons for not authorising absence would be:
- The school is not satisfied with the explanation
- No explanation has been given by the parent
- The school has requested the reason for the absence and a reply has not been received by the school
- The pupil is absent from school on a family holiday
- The pupil is absent for unexceptional reasons e.g. birthday or shopping trip
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 child. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give into pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and can make things worse.
A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% 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 parent’s 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 in writing immediately.
If your child is absent you must:
- Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence
The Attendance Officer will call the parents if they do not report the reason for the absence.
There are times when be need to contact parents about lots of things, including absence, so we need to have your contact numbers at all times. There will be regular checks on telephone numbers throughout the year.
Attendance Advisory Officer
Parents are expected to contact school and to work with the staff in resolving any attendance problems. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the Attendance Advisory Service from the Local Authority. They will try to resolve the situation by trying to improve the child’s attendance. If this fails and unauthorised absence continues the Advisors can issue Penalty notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court.
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.
If any pupil arrives accompanied by a parent the office staff will complete the record asking the pupil to offer a reason. All parents and staff need to be aware that any child arriving late must register at the office for purposes of fire regulations.
Term-time holidays will affect a pupil’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to assist the school by not taking children away in school time. There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to go on holiday.
All applications for leave must be made to the Headteacher, in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with) and are at the discretion of the school. It is up the Headteacher how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted. Where a pupil’s attendance rate is already below 90% a request will not be authorised.
Any period of leave taken without the agreement of the school, or in excess of that agreed, will be classed as unauthorised. Parents can be fined for taking their child on leave during term time without consent from the school.
The Headteacher will oversee, direct and co-ordinate the school’s work in promoting regular and improved attendance and will ensure the Attendance Policy is consistently applied throughout the school.
Those people responsible for attendance matters in this school are:
TBC, Attendance Officer
Mrs N McNelis - Head Teacher
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 a high level of attendance as possible.