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ATTENDANCE

BRITANNIA VILLAGE ATTENDANCE POLICY

 

Introduction

This Policy has been agreed by the Governors, Staff and Pupils of Britannia Village Primary  School.

It represents our commitment to striving for 100% attendance, which is achievable, and achieved by many children.  It sets out the principles, procedures and practice the school will undertake.  Strategies, sanctions and possible legal consequences of poor Attendance and Punctuality are also detailed, as well as rewards for, and benefits of good attendance.  This policy will be reviewed, amended as necessary and published annually in accordance with current legislation and guidance.

 

Principles

  • Receiving a full-time, suitable education is a child’s legal entitlement.
  • It is parents’/carers’ legal responsibility to ensure this happens.
  • Attending school regularly aids intellectual, social and emotional development
  • Attending school regularly safeguards the welfare of children whilst they are not in the care of their parents.
  • All children whose attendance is poor will be treated as vulnerable.

These principles are enshrined in British law, within the Education Act 1996, the Children Act 1989, and other associated pieces of legislation.

 

Aims of the Policy

  • To ensure that all children attend as near full-time as possible, in order to maximise their educational achievement and social development.
  • To discharge the school’s duty to safeguard its pupils to be best of its ability
  • To ensure that all those responsible for children’s education, including parents, carers, staff and governors understand and accept their responsibilities in relation to attendance.
  • To minimise absence from school, thereby reducing levels of persistent absence.
  • To improve the life chances of Newham’s children and young people and prepare them to be fully contributing citizens when they reach adulthood.

 

Policy objectives:

  • To safeguard the welfare, health, social and emotional development of children
  • To reduce persistent absence
  • To reduce or eliminate term time holidays/leave of absence
  • To promote commitment to education and high achievement
  • To maximise the potential of every individual pupil

 

Promoting Attendance:

The Governors, Headteacher and staff will use all possible opportunities to promote the importance of good attendance and punctuality.   These will include the home/school agreement, newsletters, rewards and incentives for good or significantly improving attendance.

 

Heads have the discretion to authorise up to ten days leave of absence in term-time.  However in this school that discretion will only be exercised in the MOST EXCEPTIONAL circumstances.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARENTS/CARERS

 

Understanding types of absence coding

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school as AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED.  This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required, preferably in writing.  Medical evidence may also be required in the form of a copy of a prescription, GP note, etc.  Types of absence that are likely to be authorised are illness, medical or dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies.

 

Examples of types of absence that are not considered reasonable and which will not be authorised under any circumstances are:

  • Going shopping with parents, birthdays
  • Minding other younger children in the family
  • Staying at home because other members in the family are unwell
  • Day trips and holidays in term time that have not been agreed
  • Arriving at school too late to get a present mark
  • Truancy
  • Death of a pet

 

Reluctant attenders/school refusal

You should do everything possible to encourage your child to attend.  However if the reason for their reluctance appears to be school-based, such as difficulty with work, or bullying, please discuss this with the school at the earliest opportunity and the school will do everything possible to sort the problem out.  Colluding with your child’s reluctance to attend is likely to make the matter worse.

 

School refusal/school phobia is a psychological condition that usually has been medically diagnosed.  Other arrangements may be put in place for a child with genuine school phobia.

 

SCHOOL PROCEDURES

 

  1. Registration and punctuality procedures

Registers are taken twice a day, once at the start of the school day at 8:55 a.m., and once during the afternoon session.The registers will remain open for 35 minutes.Pupils arriving before the end of the Registration period will be coded L (Late before registers close) which is a present mark.The number of minutes late will be recorded in the register.Pupils arriving after the registers have closed will be coded U (Late after registers close) which counts as an unauthorised absence.

 

 

 

The school is now expecting pupils in Years 2-6 to be in class by 8:45 and pupils from Nursery, Reception and Year 1 to be in class by 8:50. Gates will open at 8:35 to give you suitable drop-off time. This is all in order for lessons to begin earlier so that maximum effective learning can take place.

 

Only the Headteacher or designated member(s) of staff acting on their behalf can authorise absence.If there is no known reason for the absence at registration, then the absence will be recorded as unauthorised, until a satisfactory reason is provided.If the reason given is not satisfactory in the school’s view, and/or evidence of the reason cannot be provided, the absence will be coded as O (Unauthorised absent).Absence notes received from parents/carers will be kept for the remainder of the academic year; or longer if there are concerns that require further investigation or legal action.If a pupil is persistently late the Deputy Headteacher or Learning Mentor will arrange to meet with the family as soon as the pattern is identified.

 

  1. First Day Absence Contact

Parents are expected to notify the school if their child is unable to attend for any unavoidable reason, such as illness.  If the school does not receive notification it will text/telephone on the first day of absence, to try to ascertain the reason.  First day contact will be carried out as early as possible in the school day, in order to notify parents whose children may have set off for school, but not arrived, as quickly as possible.

 

  1. Second Day Absence Contact

If the child is still absent on the second day without contact from the family, a telephone call will be made to the home. The family may be asked to come to school for a meeting.

 

  1. Continuing Absence Procedures

In the event of an absence of three or more days without contact from the family, a home visit will be made.Any child who is absent without explanation for 8 consecutive school days (90%), who has a pattern of erratic attendance (90%), or persistent lateness after registers close will be referred to the Attendance Management Service in order that further investigations can be made.Such cases will be allocated to an Attendance Management Officer who will visit the home, set targets for improvement, signpost sources of support if needed, and ultimately recommend court action or a Penalty Notice if there is no improvement.

 

  1. Frequent/Persistent Absence Procedures

Regular trawls of the registers will be made by admin staff to identify pupils with a pattern of absences that may lead to Persistent Absence (PA), that is to say absence of 10% or more in a half term.  The Deputy Headteacher will be responsible for putting in place actions for each pupil of concern.  Initially the school will try to resolve the problem with parents/carers, but if the pattern continues the school will refer to the School Health Adviser if the problem appears to be a medical one.  In cases where there appear to be issues requiring outside intervention to support the family and the child, referral may be made through the Triage system for external agency support.  All PA pupils and their parents will be subject to an Action Plan or Parenting Contract.  Such a plan or contract may include allocation of additional in-school or external support.  Examples of unjustifiable reasons for absence from school would be:

 

  • Going shopping with parents, birthdays
  • Minding other younger children in the family
  • Staying at home because other members in the family are unwell
  • Day trips and holidays in term time that have not been agreed
  • Arriving at school too late to get a present mark
  • Truancy
  • Death of a pet.

 

 

 

 

  1. Consequences of Poor Attendance /Punctuality

For pupils whose attendance and/or punctuality fails to improve, after a range of interventions and support measures have been tried by the school, the ultimate consequences may be one of the following:

  1. The school may ask the Council to issue a Penalty Notice on its behalf.  A Penalty Notice carries a fine of £60, per parent, per child.  If the fine is not paid within 20 days it rises to £120 per parent, per child.  If not paid at all, court action will be initiated.
  2. The school may ask the Council initiate court action under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996, which could lead to fines of up to £2,500, or even imprisonment.
  3. In some cases, action may be taken under the Children Act 1989 to protect the welfare and development of the child.

 

  1. Children who Cease to Attend without Prior Notification (CME) procedures

Procedures for trying to trace children who cease to attend without prior notification are covered in detail in the CME Policy and Procedures.  However, if, after ten days continuous absence school has been unable to ascertain the whereabouts of a pupil, they will refer the child’s details to the Local Authority for it to perform further checks that are not available to school.  If after 20 days continuous unauthorised absence, their whereabouts cannot be traced, they will be removed from the school roll.

 

  1. Non starters

Pupils who are allocated places but fail to start are also treated as CME.If the school has been unable to make contact with the family during a ten-day period after their expected arrival, they will refer the pupils to the local authority CME team for further checks.

 

Vulnerable Children

Children who are Looked After (LAC), subject to a Child Protection Plan (CP), Children in Need (CIN) will be treated with highest priority and will be known to the Attendance Officer.  Any unexplained absence will be followed up immediately by a telephone call to the home, a home visit or by a call to the AMS Duty Desk Tel: 07805770436 in order that a same-day visit can be made.  Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) will be treated with similar priority in order that their time in school can be maximised, and their learning supported to the greatest extent possible.

 

 

 

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR PARENTS AND CARERS

 

Introduction

This is a successful school, and you and your child play a part in making it so.  We aim to encourage all members of the school community to reach out for excellence.  For children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly, and your child should be at school in good time for the start of the school day, every day the school is open, unless they are genuinely ill or there is some other unavoidable reason.

 

Some children are reluctant to go to school and say they do not feel well.  It is for you as the adult, to judge whether they are genuinely unwell, or just unwilling.  It will be better for them in the long run to go to school, rather than avoid it, as days off mean they will fall further behind and make them even more reluctant.  Your job as the parent is to encourage them to attend.

 

Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is YOUR legal responsibility and permitting absence without good reason is an offence in law and may result in legal action being taken, or a Penalty Notice being issued (see below).

 

Learning

Any absence affects the child’s learning, and the more they miss the harder it will be for them to catch up.  Research has shown that for every percentage point of absence, attainment is significantly lower.

 

Safeguarding

There is extensive research linking poor school attendance and exclusion with crime and anti-social behaviour, and risk of exploitation by unsuitable adults.  For this reason, failure to attend regularly will be regarded as a safeguarding issue.

 

Understanding absence percentages

You may wonder why a school would be concerned if your child’s attendance is 95%.  This may make it easier to understand:

95% equates to half a day off every two weeks

90% equates to a day off every two weeks

85% equates to one and a half days off every two weeks

80% equates to one whole day off every week

A secondary age child whose attendance is 80% will have missed ONE WHOLE YEAR of education by the time they leave school

 

Even the brightest and most enthusiastic learner will find it hard to keep up with their work with these levels of absence.  That is why we encourage the highest attendance possible.

 

 

 

Understanding types of absence coding

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school as AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED.  This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required, preferably in writing.  Medical evidence may also be required in the form of a copy of a prescription, GP note, etc.  Types of absence that are likely to be authorised are illness, medical or dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies.

 

Examples of types of absence that are not considered reasonable and which will be UNAUTHORISED under any circumstances are:

  • Going shopping with parents, birthdays
  • Minding other younger children in the family
  • Staying at home because other members in the family are unwell
  • Day trips and holidays in term time that have not been agreed
  • Arriving at school too late to get a present mark
  • Truancy

 

Reluctant attenders

You should do everything possible to encourage your child to attend.  However if the reason for their reluctance appears to be school-based, such as difficulty with work, or bullying, please discuss this with the school at the earliest opportunity and the school will do everything possible to sort the problem out.  Colluding with your child’s reluctance to attend is likely to make the matter worse.

 

Persistent Absence

A pupil is classed as a persistent absentee when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year, for whatever reason, whether it be authorised or unauthorised, or a mixture of both.  Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to a child’s educational prospects and we need parents’ full support and encouragement to tackle it.  PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully through our pastoral system, and we combine this with tracking academic progress to assess the effect on the pupil’s attainment.  All our PA pupils and their parents are subject to an Action Plan, which may include allocation of some kind of support.

 

Parenting Contracts

You may be asked to participate in a Parenting Contract to support your child’s attendance.

These are initiated where school feels you may need help in influencing your child to attend properly.  They have no force in law, and are entered into voluntarily.  A meeting will be held to which you and your child will be invited.  The problems will be discussed and agreement reached as to what the school will do, the child will do and what you as parents/carers will do to try to improve the situation.  You may be offered some form of support such as counselling or parenting classes to assist you in setting boundaries and enforcing expectations of your child.

 

Reporting your child’s absence

If your child is absent you must:

  • Contact the school as early as possible on the first day of absence, either by telephone or in person, and
  • Send a note in on the first day they return with an explanation of the absence

 

Applications for leave of absence in term time

This school’s policy is not to authorise holidays during term time.  Any applications for leave in term time must be made in writing to the Headteacher.  There is no automatic right to term time leave of absence, and your request is likely to be declined except in the most exceptional circumstances.  Each application will be considered on its own merit, and the attendance record(s) of the child/ren concerned will be taken into account when making a decision.

 

Penalty Notices

Penalty Notices can now be issued for a range of attendance-related offences, including unauthorised term-time holidays, poor attendance and poor punctuality, a child coming to the attention of the police in school time, or located twice or more in  truancy sweeps in 6 months.  Further details are available on www.newham.gov.uk/schools/Attendance.

 

Your contact details

Please make sure that the contact details you have given to the school are kept up to date, so that in the event of an accident, emergency or any other need to contact you we have the correct details.

 

Useful school contacts

 

Attendance Officer

Olaf Moorhouse (Assistant Headteacher)

Headteacher

Linda-May Bingham

 

 

Legal References

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that

 

the ‘parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive efficient full time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs he/she may have, either by regular attendance at school, or otherwise.’

 

Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities and governing bodies to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State with regard to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and students under the age of 18.

 

The Children Act 1989 provides for a number of actions that can be taken to protect children’s safety and welfare, on the premise that the welfare of the child is paramount.

 

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