1. Introduction and background
Silver End Academy recognises that positive behaviour and good attendance are central to raising standards and pupil attainment. This policy is written with the above statement in mind and this policy underpins our school ethos to: Promote children’s welfare and safeguarding; Ensure every pupil has access to the full time education to which they are entitled; Ensure that pupils succeed whilst at school; and Ensure that pupils have access to the widest possible range of opportunities when they leave school.
For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for absence is unavoidable. Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Any pupil’s absence or late arrival disrupts teaching routines and so may affect the learning of others in the same class. Ensuring a child’s regular attendance at school is a parental responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
2. Promoting Regular Attendance
Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility – parents, pupils and all members of school staff. To help us all to focus on this we will:
3. 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 always required.
Authorised absences are morning or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause. Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. This includes:
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 the child. If a parent thinks their child is reluctant to attend school then we will work with that family to understand the root problem. We can use outside agencies to help with this such as the School Nurse or the Inclusion Team.
4. Persistent Absenteeism (PA) 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 education and we need parent’s fullest support and co-operation to tackle this. We monitor all absence and the reasons given 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 we will inform the parent/carers immediately. PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully we also combine this with academic tracking where absence affects attainment. A separate data file is updated termly.
5. Absence Procedures If your child is absent the parent/carer must follow the following procedures:
If your child is absent we will:
6. The Education Welfare Officer Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the Education Welfare Officer from the Local Authority. He/she will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed and unauthorised absences persist, these Officers can use sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecution in the Magistrates Court. Full details of the options to enforce attendance at school are available from the school or the Local Authority. Alternatively, parents or children may wish to contact the EWO themselves to ask for help or information. They are independent of the school and will give impartial advice. Their telephone number is available from the school office or by contacting the Local Authority.
Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If a 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. Good time keeping is a vital life skill which will help our children as they progress through their school life and into the wider world. How we manage lateness: The school day starts at 8.50am and we expect children to be in the playground before this time ready to line up when the whistle is blown. School gates open at 8.30 am and close at 8.40 am. Any child that arrives after 8.45 am is late and recorded in the late book. They then have to report to members of the Inclusion Team at break time to catch up on any work missed during the morning class time. At 9.00 am the registers will be closed. In accordance with the Regulations, if your child arrives after that time they will receive a mark that shows them to be on site, but this will not count as a present mark and it will mean they have an unauthorised absence. This may mean that you could face the possibility of a Penalty Notice if the problem persists.
If your child has a persistent late record you will be asked to meet with a senior member of staff to resolve the problem, but you can approach us at any time if you are having problems getting your child to school on time. We will encourage good punctuality by being good role models to our children and celebrate good class punctuality.
8. Holidays in Term Time
Schools have a very full curriculum to follow within the time given and any absence has a negative effect on a child’s learning. Whilst we acknowledge that illness cannot be helped, holidays can be taken during the school closure periods. Each year more and more parents are taking holidays at the correct time realising the importance of the time their children spend in school which is good to see. Following Government expectations on attendance a Governing Body decision was made that no leave of absence/holiday will be authorised for any child, irrespective of their attendance, except for ‘special circumstances’. Special circumstances do not include availability of cheap holidays during term time particularly those that overlap with the beginning or end of term. They also do not include extended leave for such events as weddings, birthdays or other family celebrations. All requests for leave of absence have to be applied for in writing to the Headteacher and will be considered on a case by case basis. Forms are available from the school office. A written reply will be sent for all requests. We are obliged to inform you that if leave of absence/holidays are taken without authorisation the school may complete a request for consideration of issuing a penalty notice and send it to the Education Welfare Service Area Attendance Leader. Their Intervention Panel will decide if the issue of a penalty notice is appropriate. If a penalty notice is issued and payment is not made then a prosecution may follow. The penalty for each parent is £60 per child if paid within 28 days of the receipt of the notice, rising to £120 if paid between 28 and 42 days after which the Education Welfare Service may prosecute.
Targets for the school and for classes will be displayed in the school to encourage participation by all in reaching these. Our target is to achieve 100% because we know that good attendance is the key to successful schooling. If a child misses 10% of schooling they are classed as a Persistent Absentee. Through the school year we monitor absences and punctuality to show us where improvements need to be made.
10. People responsible for this policy and its implementation
Attendance Leader, Senior Leadership Team and the Governing Body
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 as high a level of attendance as possible.
An appendix to this Policy is the Home School Agreement.
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