Many thanks for the support of the vast majority of parents and carers in the school for ensuring good attendance for our children. Our attendance figure for the last academic year was 95.7%, which considering the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had, is reassuring. We are striving to improve on this this year – we want every child to be 100%. Good attendance is essential for a successful future for your child. Research shows that some young people who regularly miss school can be drawn into anti-social behaviour or crime. We want all our children to be happy and achieve, we want them to have a good education so they have choices and opportunities in adult life.
We monitor attendance very carefully so that we can support families. The Government have defined the ‘persistent absence threshold’ as 90%. We write and speak to parents on a regular basis if their attendance or punctuality is causing a concern and put in place measures to try to improve this. Following the pandemic, the Government are keen that school leaders focus on improving attendance this academic year.
Holidays / Leave of absence in term time
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that in September 2013, the Department for Education made amendments to the leave request regulations. We had to revise our school policy based upon this new government regulation. In summary, the new legislation states that:
We are required by law to report unauthorised absences to the Local Authority, who may issue a Fixed Penalty Notice, which means a parent may be fined by the Education Inclusion Service (EIS). I must also make parents aware that due to equalities legislation, fixed penalty notices will now be issued to all parents who have parental responsibility and whom can be traced. Please be aware that the proceeds from fixed penalty fines DO NOT go to the school.
Should parents make the choice to take their child out of school on an unauthorised holiday they should not then declare this as a sickness absence. We do ring to check, particularly when children inform us of the holiday or when they return from a sickness absence with a suspiciously deep sun tan! As already stated, it is the Headteacher’s decision whether or not to authorise any absence and the mark given.
Leave of absence during term time is not an entitlement and will not be granted for the sole purpose of a family holiday. Leave of absence during term time interrupts continuity of teaching and learning and can disrupt the educational progress of individual children, creating disruption in schools. Promoting regular school attendance is a key component in the Government’s strategy to raise educational standards. In order for children to reach their full potential and access the learning opportunities available to them, children must attend school regularly. As a parent or carer you are required by law to ensure that your child attends school regularly.
Absence for illness
We would ask that parents and carers do not arrange for medical and dental appointments in school time wherever possible. When this is unavoidable, then your child should return to school or come to school first before being collected for the appointment. Please be aware that the school register is taken twice a day, so your child will receive an attendance mark in the morning and the afternoon.
If your child is ill, you must phone the school each day they are absent. Messages can be left on the phone system if there is no-one in the office to take your call. Minor ailments, such as a headache or slight cold, are not acceptable reasons for failing to attend school. Repeated absences may require the school to request that you obtain medical evidence from your doctor’s surgery or local pharmacy as recommended by the Government.
A reminder to all that we are back to normal school times and the school day starts at 9am, so your children should be in their seat in their classroom at this time. We open the gates and classroom doors at 8.545am to let the children straight in to school. If your child arrives after 9am, they must go through the main office and sign in, as they will have missed registration in their class. The school and EIS monitor this closely and will contact families if this occurs frequently. If your child is late they are missing out on valuable school time and settling in time. We start teaching immediately, they may also miss things like interventions and marking review time.
If you have any questions about the school attendance procedures, please do not hesitate to contact the school. Please accept my thanks for your full support in attendance and punctuality matters.