Attendance and Late/Absence Procedures
Registration and punctuality procedures
Registers are taken twice a day, once at the start of the school day and once during the afternoon session. 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 expects pupils in Years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 to be in class by 8:45 am and pupils in Reception to be in class by 8:50 am. Gates open at 8:35 am (8:40am for Reception) to give parents and carers a suitable period of time to drop their children off at school.
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 absence). 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 Attendance Lead will arrange to meet with the family as soon as the pattern is identified.
First Day Absence Contact
Parents are expected to notify the school each day if their child is unable to attend for an 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.
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.
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 eight consecutive school days (85%), who has a pattern of erratic attendance (85%), or persistent lateness after the registers close will be referred to the Attendance Management Service so 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.
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 15% or more in a half term. The Attendance Lead 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.
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:
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. 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 six months: www.newham.gov.uk/schools/Attendance
The school may ask the Council to initiate court action under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996, which could lead to fines of up to £2,500, or even imprisonment.
In some cases, action may be taken under the Children Act 1989 to protect the welfare and development of the child.