Attendance Policy & Penalty Notice
Boyton Primary School
The policy is to be reviewed in April 2023
As a school we aim to:
- Maintain an attendance rate of a minimum of 95%.
- Maintain parents’ and pupils’ awareness of the importance of regular attendance.
Good attendance is important because:
- Statistics show a direct link between under-achievement and poor attendance.
- Regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically.
- Regular attenders find school routines and school work easier to cope with.
- Regular attenders find learning more satisfying.
- Regular attenders have an easier transfer to secondary school.
As a parent you can help us by:
- Ringing on the first morning of all absences with the reason and saying when the child will return.
- Arranging dental and doctor’s appointments out of school hours or during school breaks.
- Sending in a note explaining the reason for absence on your child’s return to school after an illness.
- Keeping us updated by telephone or letter if your child has an extended period of absence due to illness.
- Follow up unexplained absences by phone calls and letters as soon as possible. We will try to call you on the first morning of your child’s absence.
- Remind parents of the importance of regular attendance and punctuality in newsletters, the school prospectus, and the Home-school agreement.
- Publish our attendance rate in the prospectus.
- Acknowledge and reward good attendance eg through certificates and a weekly trophy for the best attending class in both key stages.
- Publish your child’s attendance rate on his/her annual school report.
- Let you know if we have concerns regarding your child’s attendance.
- If we continue to have concerns make a referral to the Education Welfare Officer, who visits the school monthly to review and support attendance matter.
Some absences are allowed by law and are known as ‘authorised absences’. For example, if a child is ill, family bereavement, religious observance.
We realise that there are rare occasions when there might be a particular problem that caused you child to be absent. Please let us know as we shall try to deal with it sympathetically.
There are times when children are absent for reasons, which are not permitted by law. There are known as ‘unauthorised absences’. Examples of unauthorised absence are:
- Waiting on a delivery
- Going for a family day out
- Sleeping in after a late night
- Going shopping or for a hair cut
- Your child’s birthday
- Unapproved holidays
- Where there is no explanation for the absence or where the explanation or reason for the absence is considered unsatisfactory.
- Unauthorised absences have to be reported to the Local Authority. The Education Welfare Officer may contact you and consider taking legal action against you if your child has unauthorised absences.
- Morning registration is at 8.50am. This is the time your child must be in the line in the playground.
- Lateness is classed as any child coming into school between 9.00am and 9.25am. All children arriving after 9.05am must report to the office. After 9.30am it is classed as an unauthorised absence.
- Lateness is monitored monthly. Where children have persistent lateness problems the Headteacher will invite the parents into school for a formal meeting.
- It is important to be on time as the first few minutes of the school day are often used to give out instructions or organise schoolwork for the rest of the day.
- If your child misses this short but vital session, their work for the whole day may be affected. Late arrivals are disruptive to the whole class and often embarrassing for your child.
- Arrival after the close of registration may be marked as unauthorised absence in line with the DfES guidance.
- We will let you know if you have concerns about your child’s punctuality.
- Children who remain uncollected at the end of school time may be referred to a place of safety if not collected or the school contacted by school closing time.
Term Time Leave of Absence
We are always concerned about the amount of school time pupils miss as a result of family holidays. There is no entitlement to time off in term time. Leave of absence is only allowed at the discretion of the Head of School in accordance with the school policy as agreed by the board of governors.
It is our policy:
- That only in exceptional circumstances will holidays be allowed and then only up to a maximum of two weeks. (The cheaper cost of holidays in term time is not an acceptable reason for an application).
- Parents wishing to apply for leave of absence for term-time holidays need to fill in an application form well in advance and before booking. Please ask the school office for a form, the Headteacher will consider your request and advise you of his decision, (possibly asking to meet with you to discuss) further time than allowed will be unauthorised.
- Try to minimise time out of school by timing holidays at either end of a school break.
- Avoid taking a holiday in September, as it is very unsettling for a child to miss the start of the school year. Avoid taking a holiday in SATs years (Year 2 and Year 6).
- If the school does not agree and you take your child on holiday, the absence will be unauthorised.
- Please remember that the more time your child misses from school, the more difficult it is for them to catch up with their work. Valuable learning time is lost. A good understanding of the work can only take place when the pupil is in the classroom. No holiday requests will be granted during the week in May in which SATs take place for Year 2 and Year 6. Notification of the date will be given to parents as early as possible in the academic year.
- Any holiday application for a child with less that 80% attendance for whatever reason will be refused. Between 80% and 90%, a meeting will be arranged with the Headteacher. For authorisation to be given we would expect the pupil’s attendance to be over 90%.
Response to absence
If any child has not been registered or the school has not been notified about a child’s absence, the office will contact the parent/carer on the first morning.
If the parent notifies the school of a child’s reason of absence, but the child continues to be absent for more than a week then an update check will be made by the school in the form of a phone call.
If the child continues to be absent then details will be passed to the Headteacher who will either write to the parent/carer or consider a referral to the Education Welfare Officer or the school nurse.
Whenever the school is unable to contact a parent/carer because of inaccurate/outdated contact details the class teacher will attempt to meet the parents. If this is not possible a letter will be written. If we are still unable to make contact the parent/carer will be invited into school to meet the Headteacher to discuss the situation.
If an absence is unexplained the school will write to the parents for an explanation. If no reason is forthcoming a phone call will made.
Any absence considered not to be a justified reason will remain unauthorised. A series of unauthorised absences will trigger a meeting with the Headteacher.
Where children have persistent attendance problems the Headteacher will invite parents/carers into school to a formal meeting. We are adopting the DfES and LEA model on fast-track to attendance guideline. See attached.
The class teacher will take a register recording who is present and absent from school at 8.50am. At 9.00am the register is taken to the office. Any late pupils should then enter the school through the main entrance. If any pupil arrives late the time and reason for late arrival will be recorded. All staff need to be aware that any child arriving late MUST register at the office for purposes of fire regulations.
Afternoon registration is completed by 1.05pm and this is then taken to the office for both classes.
Reasons for absence may be offered verbally by phone. The school may then decide if it wishes to authorise the absence or record it as an unauthorised absence. This decision will be made within the guidance set out in the 1996 Education Act which identifies the following reasons as acceptable reasons of an authorised absence:
- The child is ill or is prevented from attending by unavoidable cause;
- The child lives over a certain distance from the school and either the LA has failed to make suitable arrangements to register the child at a nearer school or the LA has failed to make suitable transport arrangements.
- The child is absent on days exclusive set apart for religious observance in their particular faith.
- The child is absent ‘with leave’. This refers to leave being granted by the school, not by the parent, and would normally relate to no more than 10 school days in any 1 year.
- A reason for a period of absence is always required. The school will contact parents who have not offered a reason.
A set of standard codes is used consistently within the register. These codes are input into the electronic register as required and are used to give more meaning to the register and provide statistical data.
Requests for Leave of Absence
If parents wish to request a period of leave they are required to complete an absence permission form. If the request is denied the school will inform the parent of the reason by letter and the request will be noted in the electronic register. Leave of absence will not be offered to pupils for family holidays except under 1959 exceptional circumstances.
The Headteacher and the Education Welfare Officer will review the attendance of all the pupils on a regular basis and any pupils identified as a concern having less than 85% attendance more often. A letter will be sent to the parents of any pupil identified as having attendance problems informing them of the school’s concerns and offering support to resolve any problems that may be impeding a child from attending. The pupil’s attendance will be closely monitored and if after another month there appears to be no improvement the parents of the pupil will be invited to a meeting with the Headteacher to discuss the issue and hopefully resolve any issues preventing the pupil from attending. If the parents do not attend the meeting or after such meeting the attendance of the pupil does not improve a formal referral to the Educational Welfare Officer will be made. The electronic registration system provides many reports and information that assist the school to monitor attendance. These reports will be accessed and provide information to assist the school to manage attendance issues strategically. The Education Welfare Officer will also have access to this information and will use the reports to support their role.
Regular monitoring of ‘broken weeks’ will also take place and letters sent to parents informing them of the school’s concern if there are more than 5 broken weeks in 12. A ‘broken’ week is one with an absence. This monitoring helps the school to see if there are children with frequent absences of 1 of 2 days over a period of a few months.
Children Missing Education
When pupils leave and cannot be contacted then the child is considered to be a Child Missing Education. This means that the Local Authority has a legal duty to carry out investigations, which will include liaising with Children’s Services (formerly Social Services), the Police and other agencies, to try to track and locate the child.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure the regular and full time attendance at school of registered pupils (Education Act 1996). This policy is based on the law and on Best Practice guidance produced by the Department of Education and Skills and the Local Authority. The Education Welfare Officer aims to work with schools and families to promote good attendance and avoid legal action. However, in some cases, parents are prosecuted or have to pay a Fixed Penalty fine for unauthorised absences.
We value your support in helping us to maintain standards.
A penalty notice may be issued as an alternative to the prosecution of a parent/carer for their child’s unauthorised absence from school and requires the recipient to pay a fixed amount. If the penalty notice is not paid within 42 days, the Local Authority must prosecute the parent/carer for failing to ensure regular school attendance under Section 444 Education Act 1996.
Education Welfare may issue a penalty notice to parents/carers who are failing to secure their child’s school attendance and are not engaging with supportive measures to improve attendance proposed by the school or Education Welfare Officers. Before a penalty notice is issued, parents will be warned of their liability to receive such a notice. Holidays during SATs, mock and other external examinations will not be authorised. Parents who take their child out of school for four days or more during a period covered by these examinations, without the authority or the Headteacher, will be liable to receive a penalty notice provided it can be shown that the parents had been notified in advance of this policy.
When a pupil comes to the notice of a Truancy Patrol, the pupils pattern of school attendance is investigated. If there are unauthorised absences in the preceding four months, a warning letter may be sent to the parents/carers. If there are further unauthorised absences during the subsequent 15 schools days, a penalty notice will be issued to each parent/carer.
At Boyton Primary School, all children have the right to achieve to their full potential, regardless of gender, race, culture, language, physical ability, special needs or socio-economic status. Therefore, all pupils are given appropriate support and encouragement to attend school regularly.