‘Pupils need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school.’
School Attendance – Departmental Advice August 2013
The Importance of Good Attendance
In recent years a lot of research has been carried out on the importance of good attendance and the effect that poor attendance can have on children’s attainment and their future life chances. For example, 90% attendance might sound quite acceptable but what that means in reality is:
•on average half a day’s school missed every week
•in one year four whole weeks of schooling missed
•in five years half of a school year missed.
•a GCSE grade drop in attainment in each subject.
At Old Sarum Primary School, the classroom doors open at 8:45 am and Attendance Registers are taken at 9 am and close at 9.20am. Pupils who are not present for registration are marked as absent initially. If a child then arrives before 9:20 am, this will be changed to ‘present but late’. Any pupil arriving after 9:20 am will be marked with an unauthorised mark, unless there is another reason for the late arrival, for example a medical appointment.
Persistent lateness is followed up, by a meeting between the Headteacher and the family to ascertain reasons and explain the impact of the lateness.
What Can Parents Do To Help?
•If you feel that your child is unhappy at school please speak to your child’s class teacher in the first instance. This will ensure that we can work together quickly to solve any issues before they become an obstacle to attendance.
•Ensure that your child attends school regularly, arrives on time, follows the uniform guidelines and brings the necessary equipment for the day.
•Talk with your child about the importance of good attendance at school and how it can affect their future.
•If at all possible try to keep medical appointments outside of the school day, inform the school well in advance if this is not possible.
•Only grant days at home for genuine illness – you know your child.
•Do not take your child on holiday during term time.
•Praise and reward good attendance.
•Report your child’s absence if they are too poorly to attend. Please contact the school before 9:20am. Please do this for each day your child is absent (unless you have informed us that s/he has been signed off by a doctor for an extended period of time).
How will the school Support Attendance?
If attendance is causing a concern we will do everything we can to support our families to see an improvement. We will often seek support from the Educational Welfare Officer who will work directly with parents and children to help address any issues which may be affecting attendance. Every child’s attendance will be monitored carefully and if a child’s attendance begins to drop a meeting will be arranged with the Headteacher to discuss how we can improve this.
Holidays During Term Time
All children are expected to attend school for the full 190 days of the academic year and parents have a statutory responsibility to ensure this.
Taking your child out of school for two weeks (ten school days) for an unauthorised holiday during term time will reduce their attendance to 94% before any account is taken of days off for illness.
Schools are required to inform the Local Authority if a child has unauthorised absences of ten or more sessions in a twelve week period. As there are two sessions in a day, this equates to five full days or ten half days in a twelve week period.
Unauthorised absences are not approved by the school and typically include holidays and outings, or absences with no explanations. Wiltshire Council are now issuing penalty notices for unauthorised absences which have arisen since the Supreme Court ruling on the 6th of April. Please be aware Penalty notices are:
• £120 per child per parent if paid within 28 days. The penalty is reduced to £60 per child per parent if paid within the first 21 days
•If you do not pay the fine within 28 days we have no option but to prosecute you in the Magistrates’ Court. This could lead to a fine of up to £,1000 per parent per child.
Request for Leave of Absence from School
Please use this form to request leave for absence from school for anything other than illness or a medical appointment. This form can be returned to school via email firstname.lastname@example.org or handed into the school office.