Each academy day contributes to future of your child
Only 190 out of 365 days are spent at the academy and being absent makes it hard to catch up missed work and affects pupil achievement because these lessons cannot possibly be repeated!
Attendance during one school year Equals this number of days absent Which is approximately this many weeks absent Which means this number of lessons missed
90% 19 days 4 weeks 100 lessons
80% 38 days 8 weeks 200 lessons
70% 57 days 11.5 weeks 290 lessons
Attendance at Four Dwellings Academy
· Why is good attendance important?
· What constitutes good attendance?
· What does the school do to encourage good attendance?
· What can parents do to support their child to achieve good attendance levels?
· What is the schools position on granting leave for family holidays?
· What is unauthorised absence?
· Does it matter if my child has recorded unauthorised absences?
· What is a fixed penalty notice?
· Can I be prosecuted if I pay the penalty notice but my child is still missing school?
Why is good attendance important?
Good attendance at school is vital for students to achieve their full educational potential.
Students with good attendance records benefit in the following ways:-
Continuity of learning which makes progress and retention easier
Improved performance in coursework tasks
Enhanced performance in examinations
Continuity of relationships and friendships
Good references for further education or employment
Good habits are formed for later life
What constitutes good attendance?
Attendance percentages are not like examination results: an attendance percentage needs to be in the high nineties before it can be considered good. Consider the following examples:-
An attendance record of 90% might seem good but is equal to 1 day missed per fortnight.
If this continues from Years 7 to 11, a total of six month’s education will be lost.
An attendance record of 80% might seem acceptable but is equal to 1 day missed per week.
If this continues from Years 7 to 11, a total of one year’s education will be lost.
In order for an attendance record to be deemed good it must be 96% or above:-
100% = excellent attendance
98% = very good attendance
96% = good attendance
Each year, a number of students in every year group achieve 100% attendance records, showing that this is an achievable target.
In addition, a number of children have achieved this level of attendance in successive years.
What does the school do to encourage good attendance?
We consider good attendance to be of such importance that we place a great deal of emphasis on it and put considerable resources into promoting it. Below are listed some of the strategies used:-
Inter tutor group competitions and rewards
Individual rewards for pupils with good and excellent attendance records
Students are set individual targets where necessary
Regular attendance information sent to parents to assist them in monitoring their child’s attendance
Detailed analysis of attendance figures and trends for individuals, year groups and the whole school
Regular reports to governors
Computerised registration system which allows every lesson to be monitored
Contact with parents on the first day of absence
Home visits from school staff
Support for pupils and parents where attendance difficulties are emerging
What can parents do to support their child to achieve good attendance levels?
Parents play a very important role in ensuring the good attendance records of their children.
Below is a list of suggested strategies:-
Encourage full attendance
Stress the importance of full attendance to your child
Do not allow your child to have time off for minor complaints or illnesses: if they are well enough to be up and about they are generally well enough to attend school
Monitor your child's attendance report carefully
Try to book any medical or dental appointments in out of school hours or make them from the very end of the day
Ensure your child is punctual for school
Inform the school of any absence
Take any vacations in school holidays, not during term time
If your child seems unwilling to attend, contact the school as soon as possible: do not let your child stay at home as this could set a precedent for the future
What is the school's position on granting leave for family holidays?
As attendance is so important, the school and governors took the decision, some time ago, not to authorise holidays taken in school time. A two week holiday taken during school time results in a loss of learning time of more than 5%. This makes it impossible for a child to record a good attendance record even if they lose no time at all through illness.
Parents who choose to remove their children from school for a holiday of 5 days or more may be served with a Fixed Penalty Notice by the Education Welfare Service – please see below.
What is an unauthorised absence?
Only the school can authorise an absence. An explanation given by a parent is not, necessarily, sufficient for the school to authorise an absence.
According to guidelines to schools from the Department for Education, an absence may only be authorised if the absence is due to:-
"Leave" given by the school (this commonly includes medical appointments, interviews, and other similar special circumstances)
The student being unable to attend due to unavoidable causes
Religious observance where applicable
Absences which the school is not able to authorise include:-
Looking after a relative, pet etc
A shopping trip, even if this is for uniform
Lateness after the register has closed i.e. after 9am
Remaining at home to wait for deliveries, repairmen etc
Does it matter if my child has recorded unauthorised absences?
It is the law for parents to ensure that their child has the benefit of regular education. Recorded unauthorised absences show that parents are in breach of this law. Recent changes to the law have given local authorities the power to serve parents with a Fixed Penalty Notice if a child has ten or more unauthorised absences (i.e. 5 days) in one term.
Please see below for further information on Fixed Penalty Notices.
In addition, unauthorised absences, including truancy, are recorded on the register in the same way. Thus, future employers, colleges or universities will not be able to differentiate between different unauthorised absences and may decide that the attendance record shows a lack of commitment to education and authority.
What can I do if my child is starting to present attendance difficulties?
These difficulties can show themselves in a number of different ways e.g. a reluctance to go to school, feigning illness, failure to attend school even though the child is sent, missing lessons whilst in school.
If a problem seems to be emerging parents should:-
Talk to the child to try to ascertain if there are any problems or worries at school, on the journey to or from school or at home and contact the school as soon as possible
What is a Fixed Penalty Notice?
The Local Education Authority can issue Penalty Notices where a parent/carer is considered capable of, but unwilling to, secure an improvement in their child's school attendance.
The powers came into force on the 27th February 2004.
Why has it been introduced?
Reducing absence from school is a key priority nationally and locally because missing school damages a student's attainment levels and disrupts school routines, affecting the learning of others. It can also leave a pupil vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and youth crime.
Above all, missing school seriously affects children's longer term life opportunities.
What is a Penalty Notice?
Under existing legislation, parents/carers commit an offence if a child fails to attend school regularly and the absences are classed as unauthorised (those for which the school cannot or has not given permission). Depending on circumstances, such cases may result in prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.
A Penalty Notice is an alternative to prosecution, which does not require an appearance in Court, whilst still seeking to secure an improvement in a student’s attendance.
What are the costs?
Payment within 28 days of receipt of a Penalty Notice is £60 and £120 if paid after this but within 42 days.
How are they issued?
By post to your home address.
When are they used?
The Local Authority considers that regular attendance at school is of such importance that Penalty Notices may be used in a range of situations where unauthorised absence occurs :
Overt truancy (including pupils found during truancy sweeps).
Inappropriate parentally-condoned absence.
Excessive holidays in term time or excessive delayed return from an extended holiday without prior school permission.
Persistent late arrival at school (after the Register has closed).
In every case a pupil will have had a minimum of 10 school sessions (i.e. 5 school days) lost to unauthorised absence during the current term before a Penalty Notice is considered.
The Authority never takes such action lightly and would far rather work with parents/carers to improve attendance without having to resort to any enforcement actions. Education is of such importance, however, that the Authority will use the powers if this is the only way of securing a child's regular attendance at school.
Is a warning given?
The normal response to a first offence will be a written warning rather than a Penalty Notice. However, the Authority has the discretion to issue a Penalty Notice for a first offence, without warning, in exceptional circumstances. This could be where the parent has chosen to take their child on holiday without prior authorisation by the school.
Is there an appeal process?
There is no statutory right of appeal once a Penalty Notice has been issued.
How do I pay?
Details of payment arrangements will be included on the Penalty Notice. You need to be aware that payment in part or by instalment is not an option with Penalty Notices.
What happens if I do not pay?
You have up to 42 days from receipt to pay the Penalty Notice in full, after which the Authority is required under the Act to commence proceedings in the Magistrates Court, for the original offence of failure to ensure your child's regular attendance at school.
If proven, parents/carers can be fined up to £2,500 each depending upon circumstances.
The Court is also able to impose other sanctions such as Parenting Orders or Community / Custodial Sentences etc.
Can I be prosecuted if I pay the Penalty Notice but my child is still missing school?
Not for the period included in the Penalty Notice - payment discharges your liability in this respect.
However, it may be the case that a prosecution might be considered for further periods of poor attendance not covered by the Penalty Notice, depending upon the circumstances. If this is an issue, it is vital that you work closely with school.
Websites which may be useful to parents:
Parentline - www.parentlineplus.org.uk
Advisory Centre for Education - www.ace-ed.org.uk
Parents Centre - www.parentscentre.goc.uk