Children who attend school every day make better progress and achieve more than those who miss some days or weeks of learning in a term.
In line with the National Curriculum, teachers plan and teach lessons across all subjects in termly blocks of six or seven weeks. Clearly if a child misses several days or even weeks of this learning their progress and achievement will be compromised.
Children Missing Education Officers visit all schools regularly to check on pupil attendance. They look for key indicators of children with below 90% and 85% attendance and follow these up. Our school attendance target is 96.1%, we also follow up children who fall below this indicator.
To help parents, and to raise the profile of school attendance for all, our school sends letters to parents if a child’s attendance falls below each of these indicators in any term.
What to do if your child is ill.
If your child is unwell and unable to attend school please telephone the office with a message. If we do not receive a message, someone from the office will call. As advised by the EWO (Education Welfare Officer) if there is a continued absence due to illness medical confirmation may be required, this could be in the form of signed appointment cards.
If at any time you are concerned about your child’s level of attendance then please feel free to make an appointment to see either the Mrs James.
Our doors open at 8.45am each morning. Children are expected to arrive in class between 8.45 and 8.55am. Our registers are closed at 9.05am. Children arriving to class after this time will be recorded in the register with a Late mark. Children who arrive after 9.30am will be marked with an Unauthorised Absence for the morning session. Children who are consistently late to school may be referred to the Children Missing Education Service, we also keep parents informed of their child's lateness, if it is causing concern, by sending a letter at the end of each term.
As you may know, reducing absence from schools is a key government priority nationally and locally. A pupil who has two weeks absence in each year of their school life will, by the time they are 16, have missed the equivalent of 4 terms at school.
The Law says that parents of children aged 5-16 years who are on a school roll, must make sure that their child goes to school both regularly and punctually. Where children have unauthorised absences as a result of a family holiday in term time, legal action may be taken against each parent under the following legislation:
Section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996 provides that a parent commits an offence if his or her child, being of compulsory school age, fails to attend regularly the school at which he or she is a registered pupil. Section 444A allows for a penalty notice to be issued to parents who commit such an offence.
The law does not grant parents the automatic right to take their child out of school during term time.
As stated in our school attendance policy, only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence.
If seeking permission for exceptional circumstances leave of absence, the parent/carer should complete a Leave of Absence Request form. The request should be submitted as soon as it is anticipated; and wherever possible, at least four weeks before the absence. Leave of absence cannot be approved retrospectively.
The school will consider each application individually, considering the specific facts and circumstances. Parents may be required to provide the school with additional evidence in order to support the request. The expectation of the school is that term time holidays should not be planned or booked as a matter of course, as they are likely to be unauthorised.
Where a leave of absence is granted, the school will determine the number of days the pupil can be away from school. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the school’s discretion.
In April 2017 the Supreme Court clarified the definition of regular attendance to be attendance “in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school”, therefore if an absence is not authorised by the school, the pupil’s attendance is deemed to be irregular.
Parents/carers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their child attends school on a regular basis. It is a criminal offence under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 to fail to secure regular attendance of a registered pupil at the school. This applies to both resident and non-resident parents/carers who may both be subject to legal sanctions if their child fails to attend school regularly. It also applies to others who may not be the parent/carer but may have day to day care of the child.
Unauthorised absence from school can result in a number of different outcomes for parents/carers and children. Each case is considered individually.
Penalty Notices are intended as a sanction for low level offences and a tool to support improved school attendance. They are an alternative to prosecution and may not be issued if prosecution is considered to be a more appropriate response to a pupil’s unauthorised absence.
A pupil's unauthorised absence from school could result in one of the following:
1. Penalty Notice. The penalty is £60 payable (per parent, per child) within 21 days, rising to £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days. (Failure to pay will result in prosecution.)
2. Prosecution. Prosecution could result in a criminal record and fines up to £2500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.
A full copy of the Attendance Policy is available on our school website or is available on request from our school office.