Understanding our attendance expectations can be complicated but it is important that we are clear about them and about the criteria for authorised and non authorised absence. Unbroken attendance at school is important. Data shows that there is a direct link between strong attendance and GCSE outcomes. However, they may be times when absence is unavoidable and acceptable. Please see our guidelines below.
Average attendance should be around 96% for the year, with outstanding attendance above 98%.
What is considered as poor attendance
Anything below 94% is weak, under 90% is poor and if attendance dips below 85% we will have serious concerns. Below 85% is regarded as persistent absence by the DFE. In this school we are aiming for every pupil to achieve attendance levels of at least 95%. We monitor attendance and provide termly reports on each pupil's attendance. At the end of each half term we identify all those pupils whose attendance has fallen below 90% and issue a courtesy letter or make a telephone call informing parents. We then monitor the pupils’ attendance on a weekly basis and hope to see a pattern of unbroken weeks developing.
Types of Absence
Each absence is classed as authorised or unauthorised. Absences are coded as authorised where reasons are considered valid and unauthorised where no explanation or unacceptable reasons are given.
The following reasons are not acceptable:
- Shopping visits
- Care for family members
- Days out to theme parks or to attend concerts/shows
- Parents’ work commitments or business trips
- Holidays taken in term time (including long weekends taken on Fridays and/or Mondays)
- Parental illness
Unauthorised absences will be referred to the Achieving for Children Education Welfare Service.
Illness and First Day Call
If your child is unable to attend school through illness you should inform us by telephone (0208 876 8897) on the first day of absence before 8.00am. Alternatively you can email us at email@example.com
It is useful to know the expected day of return. If you do not supply us with this information we have a duty to contact you so that we can be sure of the child’s whereabouts; this is an important safeguarding measure.
Where the child is absent through illness or medical appointments this will normally be counted as authorised. Where we have concerns over excessive absence patterns through illness we will need to discuss this with parents in order to gain a better understanding of the problems and to offer support.
It is generally better if these can be arranged outside school hours, but we know this is not always possible. Where children need to attend such appointments during the school day it is important that parents contact the Attendance Office before collecting children. Please indicate in advance whether s/he will be returning to school after the appointment. If so, please return your child to the student entrance from their appointment. . Medical and dental appointments count as authorised absences.
There are some occasions e.g. bereavements, family problems, etc where it may be inappropriate for children to attend school; we will be sympathetic to such needs.
Please try to ensure that your child arrives at school so that they are present for registration; this is done at 8.30 am each day so we advise that students are onsite by 8.20 am . Meeting and exchanging news with friends before school is important for the children's social development. Lateness causes problems with the marking of registers and missed instructions. Where a genuine reason for lateness exists this will be an authorised absence but where explanations are inadequate or the lateness is after 9.10 a.m. then an absence (late) will be recorded.
Leave of Absence
Holidays It is not our policy to authorise holidays in term time. The only exception to this is where parents serve in the armed forces (this does not extend to the emergency services i.e. Police, Fire, Ambulance etc).
Where authorisation is not granted then subsequent term time holiday absence will be reported as a matter of course to the Education Welfare Service; we are under a duty to do this. Where unauthorised leave is taken, the Academy has decided that it will support the imposition of a fixed penalty fine. This can be very expensive. This will apply to any parents who book holidays in term time.
Approved Public Performance
Where children are invited to perform in a licensed show or concert (e.g. orchestra, pantomime) you
are asked to consult with staff about how much time away from school is required. Where possible such requests will be granted provided that the child’s education is unlikely to suffer. The school will also be sympathetic towards leave to participate in a recognized city, county or national sporting event.
Where parents wish to take their child(ren) out of school during term time for purposes other than holidays, they should complete the leave of absence form and return to Ms Hutchinson, the Attendance Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The form is available to download at the bottom of this page.
Our duty of care in responding to unauthorised and persistent absence - possible consequences
We have a duty of care, shared with the Local Authority, to challenge poor attendance. Where attendance levels are low and where there are invalid reasons (judged by the Education Welfare Service, not the parent) for a pupil’s frequent absence or where parents condone absence (e.g. by taking children out of school on unauthorised holidays) then parents render themselves liable to a fine of £60 per pupil per parent. This could mean a fine of £360 for two parents of three children. This would be doubled to £720 if the fine is unpaid within 21 days and could ultimately lead to a criminal conviction. Of course, no one wants this to happen but we need to be very clear about the issue.
Please contact Ms Hutchinson, Attendance Officer on email@example.com
The Attendance Line number is: 0208 487 1932