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Attendance

Freeman Community Primary School Attendance Policy 2015

Aims
Our attendance policy aims to:

  • Support pupils and their parents/carers in the establishment of the highest possible levels of attendance and punctuality;
  • Ensure that all pupils have full and equal access to the best education that we can offer in order to increase learning;
  • Enable pupils to progress smoothly, confidently and with continuity through the school;
  • Make parents/carers aware of their legal responsibilities;
  • Ensure attendance meets Government and Local Authority targets

This policy has been devised in consultation with Staff, Governors, Children and Parents.

Being at school
School education lays the vital foundations of a child’s life. Research clearly demonstrates the link between regular attendance and educational progress and attainment. Parents/carers and the school staff should work in partnership in making education a success and in ensuring that all children have full and equal access to all that the school has to offer. As a school, we will encourage parents and carers to ensure that their child achieves maximum possible attendance and that any problems that prevent this are identified and acted on promptly. As parents, it is their responsibility to ensure that their children arrive at school and return home safely.

Expectations
We expect that all pupils will:

  • Attend school every day
  • Attend school punctually
  • Attend appropriately prepared for the day
  • Discuss promptly with their class teacher or school office any problems that may affect their school attendance.

We expect that all parents/carers will:

  • Ensure regular school attendance and be aware of their legal responsibilities.
  • Ensure that their child arrives at school punctually and prepared for the school day.
  • Ensure that they contact the school by 9 am daily of absence or if known in advance, whenever their child is unable to attend school.
  • Contact school promptly whenever any problem occurs that may keep their child away from school.
  • Notify the school of any home circumstances that might affect the behaviour and learning of their child.
  • Notify school immediately of any changes to contact details.

Examples Authorised absences:

  • Genuine illness of the pupil
  • Hospital/dental/doctor’s appointment for the pupil
  • Major religious observances
  • Visits to prospective new schools
  • External exams or educational assessments.

Unauthorised absences:

  • Shopping /day trip / visit to a theme park
  • A birthday treat
  • Term time holidays
  • Oversleeping due to a late night
  • Looking after other children / other family member
  • Parent/carer or other sibling not feeling well
  • Appointments for other family members.

As a school we will:

  • Provide a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Provide a safe learning environment.
  • Provide a sympathetic response to any child’s or parent’s concerns.
  • Keep regular and accurate records of AM and PM attendance and punctuality, monitor individual child’s attendance and punctuality.
  • Contact parents when a child fails to attend and where no message has been received to explain the absence by 9am.
  • Follow up all unexplained absences to obtain explanations from parents.
  • Although parents may offer a reason, only the school can authorise the absence. In the case of long term or frequent absence due to medical conditions, verifications from a GP or other relevant body may be requested.
  • Encourage good attendance and punctuality through a system of reward and recognition.
  • Regularly inform parents of the % attendance of all pupils.
  • Make initial enquiries regarding pupils who are not attending regularly.
  • Meet regularly with the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) to monitor and support school attendance and punctuality.
  • Refer irregular or unjustified patterns of attendance to Education Welfare.
  • Failure by the family to comply with the planned support set by Education Welfare may result in further actions, e.g. a Penalty Notice, parental prosecution or an application for an Education Supervision Order.
  • Will notify the Local education Authority (LEA) after 15 days sickness.
  • Will notify EWO after 3 days unexplained absence.

Registers, Punctuality and Lateness
Punctuality to school is crucial. Lateness into school causes disruption to that individual’s learning and to that of the other pupils in the class. It is paramount therefore that all pupils arrive at school on time. For school pupils the main playground is supervised from 8.30am and the school day starts at 8.40am.

  • By law, schools must take a morning and afternoon register and record the attendance or absence of every pupil.
  • Registration takes place at 8.40am and pupils who arrive between 8.45 am and 8.55am will be recorded as late to school.
  • Registers close at 8.55am and after this lateness is recorded as an unauthorised absence and can be subject to prosecution by the local authority.
  • Afternoon registration is taken at 1.15pm.
  • Persistent lateness by a pupil will be monitored by the Headteacher and may be referred to Education Welfare.
  • Pupil’s attendance and punctuality is recorded on their report and will be passed on to future schools as necessary.

Pupil Leaving During the School Day
During school hours the school staff are legally in loco parentis and therefore must know where the pupils are during the school day.

  • Pupils are not allowed to leave the premises without prior permission from the school.
  • Whenever possible, parents should try to arrange medical and other appointments outside of school time.
  • Parents are requested to confirm in writing, by letter, contact book or email, the reason for any planned absence, the time of leaving, the expected return time.
  • Pupils must be signed out on leaving the school and be signed back in on their return.
  • Where a pupil is being collected from the school, parents are to report to the school office before the pupil is allowed to leave the site.
  • If a pupil leaves the school site without permission their parents will be contacted. Should the school be unable to make contact with the family it may be appropriate, in certain circumstances, to contact the Police and register the pupils as a missing person.

Leave of Absence
The school holiday dates and end of Key Stage Assessment dates are published a year in advance and leave of absence will not be authorised during these assessment periods. INSET days are published as soon as the school have agreed these, but may be subject to change. In line with the Government’s amendments to the 2006 regulations (appendix 1), holidays during term time will NOT be authorised. The Headteacher and Governors have determined that:

  • In exceptional circumstances permission may be granted for a maximum of six sessions of absence providing your child has a good (95% or higher) attendance record over the previous three terms.
  • Where leave of absence in term time is due to exceptional circumstances, an application form must be requested from the school office and submitted for consideration by the Headteacher on behalf of the school governors, no less than 2 weeks prior to the requested date or as soon as possible. Consideration will then be given to the pupil’s previous school attendance and that the time requested does not exceed five school days in any one academic year.
  • If leave is taken without prior authorisation by the school, it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and the Education Welfare will be notified.

Penalty Notices
Penalty Notices can be issued for 7 or more sessions of unauthorised absence over a period of time (does not have to be consecutive session) and may also be issued when a pupil is stopped by Truancy Patrol or if a parent / carer fails to ensure regular school attendance.

Penalty Notices for Holidays
Holidays during SATS and other external exam periods will not be authorised by the school and a Penalty Notice may be issued. In line with the amendments made to The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007 please note the following:

  • The Headteacher can now request that the local authority issue a Penalty Notice to parents, when pupils are taken out of school for 7 sessions or more leave of absence without school authorisation.
  • The amount payable on issue of a Penalty Notice is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days and within 28 days.
  • If the Penalty Notice is not paid within 42 days the local authority is then obliged to prosecute for failing to ensure regular school attendance.
  • Penalty notices are issued to each parent, for each child.

Failure to ensure regular school attendance
Freeman Community Primary School hold regular attendance meetings in conjunction with the EWO, any parents whose children are identified as a cause for concern will be sent a letter. If there is no improvement in school attendance Freeman Community Primary School will refer to EWO who work in partnership with school and parents in support of pupils who are failing to attend school on a regular basis. Education Welfare may also issue a Penalty Notice to parent / carers who are failing to secure their Childs regular school attendance and are not engaging with supportive measures to improve attendance proposed by the school or Education Welfare Officers. Before a Penalty notice is issued, parents will be warned of their liability to receive such a notice.

Changing Schools
It is important that if families decide to send their child to a different school that they inform Freeman Community Primary School as soon as possible. A pupil will not be removed from the school roll until the following information has been received and investigated:

  • The date the pupil will be leaving the school and starting the next
  • The address of the new school
  • A new home address if appropriate
  • Freeman Community Primary School has been officially informed that the pupil
  • has started at a new school.

The pupil’s school records will then be sent to the new school. In the event that the school has not been informed of the above information, the family will be referred to the local authority Tracking Officer and Education Welfare.

March 2015

Signed by Chair of Governors __________________________              Date_____

Appendix One

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006
Amendments have been made to the 2006 regulations in the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013. These amendments, as described below, will come into force on 1 September 2013.

Term-time holiday
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 currently allow headteachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday during term time in “special circumstances” of up to ten school days leave per year. Headteachers can also grant extended leave for more than ten school days in exceptional circumstances. Amendments to the 2006 regulations remove references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amendments make clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Headteachers should determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.

The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007
Amendments have been made to the 2007 Regulations in the Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013. These amendments, as described below, will come into force on 1 September 2013. The 2007 regulations set out the procedures for issuing penalty notices (fines) to each parent who fails to ensure their children’s regular attendance at school or fails to ensure that their excluded child is not in a public place during the first five days of exclusion. Parents must pay £60 if they pay within 28 days; or £120 if they pay within 42 days. Amendments to 2007 regulations will reduce the timescales for paying a penalty notice. Parents must, from 1 September 2013, pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. This brings attendance penalty notices into line with other types of penalty notices and allows local authorities to act faster on prosecutions.