Good attendance is key to your child being able to fulfil their potential and make good progress in school. One of the most important ways a parent can support the education of their child and the child’s social, emotional and academic development is to ensure they attend every day and on time.
We are currently working towards our Unicef Rights Respecting School Award and Article 28 says:
All children have the right to a good quality education
By law, all children of compulsory school age must get a suitable, full-time education. As a parent/carer, you are responsible for making sure this happens. Once your child is registered at The Oaks Community Primary School, you are responsible for making sure your child has regular and punctual attendance at school.
The Local Authority (LA) is responsible for making sure that parents/carers fulfil their responsibilities, and the school must tell the LA if your child is regularly absent from school. As a parent/carer, you are committing an offence if you fail to make sure that your child attends school regularly. You run the risk of being prosecuted by the LA if your child’s attendance is poor.
Reporting School Absence
We appreciate there may be times your child is unwell or unable to attend school. As a parent you have a responsibility to:-
- Contact school on the first morning of absence, providing a reason for their absence.
- Keep school informed on a regular basis if your child is absent for a long period.
- Provide medical evidence if this has been requested by the school
If school are not informed and unable to contact you via telephone regarding your child’s absence, a text will be sent asking you to call the school office. If this is not returned and still no reason for the absence is provided the absence will be marked as unauthorised. Home visits will be conducted by the school to ensure the highest safeguarding of our pupils.
Only the head teacher can authorise absence and it is at their discretion as to whether the reason provided is acceptable or not. Below is a guideline for your information.
- Illness (genuine)
- Essential appointment
- Infectious disease
- Exceptional circumstances (approved by Headteacher)
- Religious Observance
- Holidays (unless prior approval granted)
- Visiting relatives
- Out of school sports
- Not wanting to go
The minimum acceptable level of school attendance is 96%. We believe as a school that identifying poor attendance and issues affecting attendance early as well as working in partnership with parents we can significantly improve attendance and prevent a child becoming a persistent absentee and involvement with the Local authority. Below outlines the procedure that we follow to support and improve attendance:
- Notice to Improve Letter – sent home to indicate to parents/cares that attendance is starting to decline. This will be sent to students below 96% attendance.
- Medical Evidence Request Letter – sent home to request medical evidence to be provided to support absence, without this future absence will be marked as unauthorised. This could be in the form of an appointment card or proof of medication given by the doctor
- Parents/carers to be invited to attend a school attendance meeting to discuss concerns and set targets to improve attendance.
- If your child’s attendance falls to 90% or below, this is considered, by the Government, to be persistent absence. Where attendance falls below 90% and there are unauthorised absences a referral will be made to the Local Authority School Improvement Officer for further intervention and enforcement action may be taken.
Punctuality Matters too!
Missed minutes = missed learning = missed opportunities!
Being frequently late for school means lost learning:
- Arriving 5 minutes late every day adds up to over 3 days lost each year.
- Arriving 15 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 2 weeks a year.
- Arriving 30 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 19 days a year.
Lateness to School
School starts at 8:45 am. Your child will receive a late mark if they arrive after this time. For safeguarding reasons, you must come into school to sign at the office so we know your child has arrived safely. If your child arrives after the register closes at 9am they will be given an unauthorised late mark. Persistent Unauthorised late marks may result in a referral to the Local Authority School Improvement Officer for further intervention and enforcement action may be taken.
Some Strategies to Improve Punctuality
Bedtime routines – packing school bag ready for the next day, getting to bed earlier, setting a time for a television, IPad, computer, mobile phone and other devices to be turned off.
Morning routines – setting the alarm earlier, no television until ready for school (and maybe not even then), having breakfast before leaving home, so no need to call in at the shop, meeting a reliable friend to walk to school with.
Holidays/ Leave of Absence
Please think carefully before taking your child out of school during term time. The law states that you must ask permission for your children to miss school. Leave in term time will only be agreed where the Head teacher feels there are exceptional circumstances. On occasion we may ask for evidence to support the reason provided, particularly from employers if it is a work related request.
If you are requesting a holiday during term time or leave of absence you must complete a leave of absence request form and hand it into the school Office, you will then be notified in writing as to whether or not the absence has been authorised.
Parents/Carers who take a child of compulsory school age on holiday without permission may be issued with a Penalty Notice from the Local Authority.
The Importance of School Attendance
We want our children at The Oaks Community Primary School to enjoy coming to school. Our attendance ‘floor target’ is 96%, but we hope for 100%. Research has proven that there is a high correlation between school attendance and academic performance and success. Absence from school is often the greatest single cause of poor performance and achievement.
Why is it so important to attend every day?
- Learning is a progressive activity; each day’s lessons build upon those of the previous day(s).
- Reading the material and completing work independently does not compensate for direct interaction with the teacher.
- Many classes use discussions, demonstrations, experiments and participation as part of the daily learning activities, and these cannot be made up by those who are absent.
Are there other benefits to my child?
- Pupils with good attendance records generally achieve higher grades and enjoy school more.
- Having a good education will help to give your child the best possible start in life.
- Regular school attendance patterns encourage the development of other responsible patterns of behaviour.
What are the risks of frequent absences?
- A child who does not attend school regularly will be unlikely to keep up with the work.
- The more pupils miss school, the lower their grades; the lower their grades, the less they want to stay in school.
What can families do to help?
- Families must model the value of education, including the importance of regular attendance.
- Make sure that your child goes to school regularly and arrives on time-you will establish a good habit that they will carry through life.
- If your child starts missing school, work with the school to put things right. Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of him/her missing school.
- If your child is ill or must miss school for some other reason, contact school immediately. If you ask for homelearning, make sure your child completes it.
- Do not expect school to approve of shopping trips, birthday treats etc. during school hours. Arrange family holidays so that your child will not miss any learning.
- Take an interest in your child’s school work and be involved in the school as much as possible-your child will value school more if you do.
Leave of Absence in Term Time
From 1st September 2013, a change to government legislation means that schools are no longer allowed to authorise requests for children to be taken out of school for a holiday during term time.
Requests for leave can only be granted by schools if there are “exceptional circumstances” and holidays are not considered exceptional. Requests for leave must be made to the head teacher in advance, as the Department for Education has told schools that they cannot authorise any absences after they have been taken.
A penalty notice is a fine to parents or carers if they fail to ensure that their child/ren attend school regularly.
If a penalty notice is issued, it will be one fine to cover the whole period of the absence. So the fine would be the same amount for an absence of five days or 10 days. For example, a parent could be issued with £60.00 fine if their child misses one day of school each week over a five week period, whilst another parent might be issued the same fine for one two-week block of absence.
Penalty fines are £60.00 per child per parent if paid within 21 days, and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days. If the fine is not paid, parents will be reported for prosecution.
REMEMBER – Regular attendance is necessary for success in school. Help ensure that your child has the best opportunity for success by making sure he/she is in school every day