Attendance

At Bridgemary School we affirm that high attendance will have a positive effect on achieving the best exam results possible. Therefore, we use a daily text system, whereby parents and carers of students who have not arrived at school, and for whom we have had no reason for absence, are sent a text message detailing that their child has not turned up for school as expected. It is vital that parents communicate with the school regarding all reasons for absence so that we can authorise the absence accordingly and offer advice and support.

Please phone Bridgemary School as soon as possible on the first day of absence on the dedicated attendance line: 01329 512333

EXPECTATIONS

Absence

  • If a student is absent for any reason then it is the parent’s responsibility to phone the school to make us aware. Failure to do so will mean that the child’s absence will be marked as unauthorised.

  • If a request for authorised absence is made, although the school are committed to working with parents, we do ask that students attendance is above 95% unless it is an exceptional circumstance. The school has the right to unauthorise attendance if these criteria are not met.

  • The attendance procedure for absence is triggered when a student’s attendance drops to 93%.

Lateness

  • Although it is accepted that everyone will be late once in a while, persistent lateness will not. Persistent lateness can have a huge effect on a student’s day meaning they miss vital information and are not fully prepared for the start of the day.

Lesson

  • Students late for lessons are not only disrupting their own learning but also the other students in the class. The impact on teachers also means that they have to adjust lessons to enable the student to catch up with the rest of the class.

Sanctions

  • Students arriving late in the morning or to lessons will receive 10-minute detention at break time. Students who are persistently late in the morning will result in a parent meeting, which will trigger our attendance procedure.

Why is good attendance important?

Good attendance at school is vital for students to achieve their full educational potential and enhance opportunities for further education and work placements.

As well as good attendance being a legal requirement, research has also proved that students with good attendance records benefit in the following ways:

  • 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

  • less likely to become involved in anti-social behaviour

  • less likely to become NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training)

For further information on why good attendance matters please click here

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% = good attendance

  • 96% = acceptable attendance

  • 95% - 90% = concerning

  • below 90% is a serious cause for concern

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 our school

  • Monitor your child's attendance report carefully

  • Try to book any medical or dental appointments out of Academy hours or make them from the very end of the day

  • Ensure your child is punctual (lateness can lead to legal action)

  • Inform the school of any absence on the first day of absence and subsequent days

  • 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 Bridgemary School’s position on granting leave for family holidays?

Attendance is very important and therefore, the school and governors took the decision not to authorise holidays taken in school time.

Any parent/carer wishing planning to take their child/children on holiday during term time are strongly advised against this and are given a full reason why the holiday has been denied by the school. If you do wish to ask permission for Leave of Absence (holiday in term time) you must write to the Headteacher in the first instance requesting permission; failure to do this can lead to legal action being taken. It is not given that because you have written in that we will authorise the Leave of absence as each case is evaluated on its own merit.

All children of compulsory school age who are registered at a School or Academy that fail to attend regularly are subject to legal action being taken against parent/s and carers under section 444 of the 1996 Education Act

What is an unauthorised absence?

Only Bridgemary 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 an absence may only be authorised if the absence is due to:

  • Student illness

  • "Leave" given by the school (this commonly includes medical appointments, interviews, and other similar special circumstances)

  • The Student is 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

  • Day trips

  • Pop concerts

  • Lateness after the register has closed i.e. after 8.45 am

  • Being unable to participate in a school activity e.g. Games or a school trip

  • 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. 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

  • Contact the school as soon as possible

  • Consider seeking advice from appropriate websites

What is a Fixed Penalty Notice?

Bridgemary School never takes such action lightly and would far rather work with parents/carers to improve attendance without having to resort to any enforcement actions.

Under section 444 of the Education Act 1996, a penalty fine will be issued. The cost of the fine is £60 payable within 21 days. If this remains unpaid it increases to £120 within a further 7 days. If this remains unpaid then we being proceeding to court action that can lead to higher fines, possible custodial sentences, parenting orders and community orders

Attendance Policy link