Attendance Policy (updated September 2023)
Regular attendance at school is essential to promote the education of all pupils. Staff at Heap Bridge seek to inspire every child with a passion for learning which will demonstrate to them that their presence in school is important and that they are missed when they are absent or late. School will take appropriate action when necessary in order to promote the aims of this policy.
- To maximise the attendance of all our children.
- To provide an environment which encourages regular attendance and makes attendance and punctuality a priority for everyone
- To monitor and support children whose attendance is a cause for concern and work in partnership with parents and carers to resolve any difficulties
- To analyse attendance data regularly to inform future policy and practise
- To work closely with and make full use of the support from the wider community including the Education Welfare Service and multi agency teams
What is expected of parents:
- To keep their child’s absence to a minimum
- To offer a reason for any period of absence, preferably before the absence or on the first day of absence
- To ensure that their child arrives on time, properly dressed, with the right equipment and in a condition to learn. A reason should be offered for any lateness
- To work closely with the school and the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) to resolve any issues that may impede a child’s attendance
- To be aware of curriculum requirements and be especially vigilant with regards to attendance during important times such as Assessment weeks and SAT’s tests
- To support their child and recognise successes and achievements
- To keep school updated should contact numbers or address details change
Parents and carers are asked to contact the school office on the first morning by phone or in person if their child is absent from school. This needs to be done before registration at 9am. Parents can also ‘Report an Absence’ under the ‘Contact US’ tab of the school website.
What is expected of school:
- To give a high priority to punctuality and attendance
- To develop procedures that enable school to identify, follow up and record unauthorised absence, patterns of absence and parent condoned absence with effective monitoring and intervention
- To consistently record absence within the guidance of the 1996 Education Act
- To develop a range of strategies to follow up intermittent and long term absenteeism and promote good attendance
- To encourage communication between home and school
- To develop procedures leading to a formal referral to the EWO
Authorised Absences include:
Genuine sickness, hospital appointments, dental appointments, religious holidays. Where possible medical and dental appointments should be arranged during holidays or outside the school day. Where this is not possible it is expected that pupils only miss part of the day and that an appointment card or letter is brought into the school office as evidence. Where attendance of pupils has been identified as an area of concern the school will insist on seeing such evidence before authorising the absence.
Unauthorised Absences include:
Family holidays in term time, shopping, visiting relatives, buying shoes, going for a haircut, parent/s unwell or any absence that the school has not been informed about.
School supports the view that every day in school makes a difference and discourages parents from taking holidays in term time. Parents must request permission before taking their child out of school in term time. An ‘Application for Leave of Absence from School’ form can be collected from the school office or downloaded from the school website.
DfE guidance to schools is very clear on term time family holidays. Schools ARE NOT expected to authorise family holidays and as such any holidays taken in term time will be marked as unauthorised.
Applying for Leave of Absence:
Parents must request permission before taking their child out of school in term time. An ‘Application for Leave of Absence from School’ form can be collected from the school office. Key aspects that will be taken in to consideration are; previous applications for leave of absence, current attainment any progress and other key events within the school timetable i.e. assessment weeks.
Where leave of absence is refused parents have the option of meeting with the Headteacher to discuss any exceptional circumstances which may affect the final decision.
Response to Absence:
- If any child has not been registered or the school has not been notified about a child’s absence, the office will contact parents by telephone or text message.
- In some cases school staff will continue to check each morning with the parents on each subsequent day that the child is absent (although parents should keep the school informed).
- At the end of the week, if no absence reason has been received the school will record the absence as unauthorised and we may refer the matter to the Education Welfare Officer. Children’s Social Care may also be informed.
At each stage of this process, parents are invited in to speak to the headteacher if they have specific concerns or issues.
Following regular monitoring of absence figures, parents may be invited in to school to discuss long or regular periods of absence with the Headteacher, School Governors and the Education Welfare Officer.
School starts at 8:50am, school doors are open from 8.40am. Lateness is classed as any child arriving between 8:50am and 9.00am when registers close. All children arriving after 9am must report to the school office. The afternoon session begins at 1pm and the register closes at 1:10pm.
Arriving after the registers close will result in your child receiving an unauthorised absence mark for that session. Persistent levels of unauthorised absence due to lateness may result in a penalty notice being issued.
Lateness is monitored weekly and letters are sent home to the parents informing them of the lost lesson time and disruption caused to the child and the class as a whole. If the lateness is persistent then the school will seek to meet or speak with parents to discuss our concerns. Cases of persistent lateness will result in a referral to the Education Welfare Officer.
The Education Welfare Service:
Heap Bridge Village Primary School works together with the Education Welfare Service to improve the attendance of all our children. Our target attendance for this academic year is 97% and whilst the majority of our children achieve this, there are a minority who do not. There are different strategies used by the Education Welfare Service to support families and raise awareness of the importance of school attendance. If attendance does not improve this could lead to penalty notices and ultimately court action.
Please note that at Heap Bridge we issue penalty notices when pupils meet triggers for unauthorised absences (including unauthorised holidays). These are issued through the Local Authority.
All staff at Heap Bridge hope that any attendance issues or concerns can be resolved long before court proceedings are begun. As such it is imperative that parents communicate any absences from school at the earliest opportunity.
A child who has an attendance figure of 90% or below is classed as a persistent absentee and could be referred to the EWO and could result in a referral to Children’s Social Care.
A child who has an attendance percentage below 96% or has had 5 or more separate absences due to illness will be monitored and supported to prevent them falling into the persistent absentee category. As such they could be referred to the EWO and the school will also request medical evidence for further absences to be authorised. Please note an appointment card is not accepted as medical evidence.
Monitoring and Evaluation
- Registers are kept electronically at Heap Bridge and monitored daily by the administration staff. Details of all absences and lateness are recorded. A log is kept of all text correspondence between parents and school.
- Percentage attendance figures are calculated on a weekly basis, including lateness for each class.
- These are reported in the weekly school newsletter with a healthy element of competition being encouraged between classes.
- Attendance and lateness data are reviewed weekly by the school’s Learning Mentor, Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher. Any long term or patterns of absence are identified and responded to by contacting parents and requesting a meeting with the Headteacher.
- Letters are sent to parents whose children have had 2 or more lates over a period of two weeks.
- Letters are sent to parents whose children have been absent and not provided school with a reason.
- A letter is sent to parents of children who have had 8 lates in the current month.
- 100% attendance certificates presented to the children in the final assembly of the term.
- Report of attendance is presented to governors.
- 100% attendance certificates presented to the children in the final assembly and all names entered into a prize draw.
- Action plan for further improvement
Government advice to schools on attendance can be read here.