Attendance and Punctuality

Attendance and Punctuality Policy

 September 2017

Acting Headteacher: Mrs D Darby

 Introduction

This policy was developed and agreed by the governing body and has the full agreement of the whole school community including the Education Welfare Service and Local Authority Team.

Aims

  • To comply with the legal requirements of the Education Act 1996
  • To comply with new legislation introduced September 2013
  • To monitor and identify patterns in individual children’s attendance and punctuality throughout the year, pinpointing irregularities and cause for concern.
  • To endeavour to provide support and guidance where appropriate to improve children’s attendance and punctuality.
  • To provide information on which to base target setting for future attendance returns.
  • To provide evidence and information for reporting to Parents/Carers, Governing body, LA and DFE.
  • To ensure each child has full access to all areas of the curriculum and the education they are entitled to.
  • To improve attendance to a minimum of 96% and reduce lateness.

Whole School Involvement

The implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the staff. However, in order to achieve our aims, specific staff have more involvement in the implementation of this policy. These include – Class teachers and teaching assistants, Children, Parents/Carers, School Administration Staff, Head teacher and Senior Management Team, along with Education Welfare Service, School Governors and the Local Authority.

The Legal Position

Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, the ‘parent’ is responsible for making sure that their child of compulsory school age receives full-time education that is suitable to the child’s age, ability and aptitude. Compulsory school age is defined as beginning from the term in which a child turns five. Prosecutions are brought under S440 of the Education Act 1996.

 Registers

Registers are STATUTORY LEGAL DOCUMENTS, which must be completed accurately by a member of teaching staff. Attendance registers are taken twice a day: at the start of the morning session and afternoon sessions. Instructions for completing registers must be followed. The office staff will find out the reason for absences and enter the correct code. If they are in any doubt they will contact D Darby for clarification.

Absences

Absences can only be authorised once the attendance team or Head/Deputy head teacher are satisfied that an acceptable explanation has been provided by parent/carer regarding the absence. It is important that absences can only be authorised by the school and not by the parent/carer. If a member of staff is in doubt about whether an absence should be authorised, then this should be referred to the Head/Deputy head teacher. If a valid reason is given verbally or in writing by a Parent/Carer then the absence may be authorised. If the reason is unacceptable or not validated then it should be referred to attendance staff to investigate further. Marking the school register with a, N, is acceptable until the absence is clarified, but this should be removed within two weeks of the absence. Unauthorised absence should be recorded it no reason is supplied.

Procedures for Authorising Absence

  • Parents are required to contact school before 9.30am on the first day of absence to confirm the reason of absence and its likely duration.
  • If a child is not in school and no reason for absence has been supplied, parents are contacted to clarify the reason for absence.
  • Parents who routinely fail to make contact with the school will have all absences unauthorised and a referral to the Education Welfare Service may be made.
  • If an absent child is subject to a Child Protection Plan or is a Child in Need attendance staff should inform Head/Deputy head immediately that the child is absent.

Acceptable Reason for Absence

  • Illness (evidence will be asked for if a child’s attendance is below 95%)
  • Days agreed by school if circumstances are exceptional e.g funeral -1 day, visiting a dying relative- 1 day, marriage of a parent- 1 day, religious observance- 1 day.

Unacceptable Reasons for Absence

  • Truancy ( absence without knowledge of Parents/Carers)
  • Minding the House
  • Shopping/running errands (e.g. buying new shoes clothes)
  • Looking after sick relatives
  • Looking after brothers or sisters
  • School clothing in the wash
  • Oversleeping
  • Head lice
  • Birthday
  • Parent’s illness
  • Children in another school on an Inset Day
  • Last day of term
  • Child tells the parent/carer that they do not want to go to school
  • Holiday: whole weeks and odd days
  • Routine medical and dental appointments are discouraged in school time (school are happy to support parents if they are having difficulties obtaining appointments outside of school hours.)
  • Translating for family member/ friend
  • Any other reason that the head teacher deems unacceptable

 Leave During Term Time

New legislation introduced in September 2013 states that parents do not have the right to take their child(ren) out of school during term time. Parents can be fined for taking their child(ren) out of school during term time except in exceptional circumstances. By law you must ask permission for your child to miss school. If you don’t, you risk being served with a penalty notice from the local authority. We would actively discourage parents and carers from taking children out of school during term time. It is recognised that absence from School directly impacts learning. If a child misses a step; the next step of learning becomes much more difficult. Special requests for leave of absence during term time should be made in person/ in writing to the Head Teacher. Parents have no entitlement to leave of absence and it can only be authorised by the Head Teacher who must follow the Local Authority guidelines. If a child has 5 or more days off, then the Headteacher will forward the leave of absence request to the Local Authority who will then make a decision to issue a penalty notice. If the Local Authority chooses to issue a penalty notice, school will be informed. The Local Authority will check the leave absence against a criteria before issuing a penalty notice. If a parent wishes to appeal the decision then she/he will need to contact the Local Authority. If a parent wishes to appeal against the Headteacher’s decision to put forward the reason for absence, then he/she must write to the Chair of Governors.- Mr David Hampton : Mullett Road, Wolverhampton, WV11 1DD. dhampton@deyncourtprimary.com

 

Religious Observance

According to the Department of Education, schools are obliged to treat absence due to religious observance as authorised. However, “the day must be exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the parents belong”.

D’Eyncourt Primary School acknowledges that religious festivals may occur outside of school holidays or weekends, which makes it necessary to consider authorised absence for religious observance. The school will use their discretion where a parent does not belong to a religious body but may want to celebrate an alternative festival of importance to them.

Schools’ responsibilities

  • Pupils are permitted to have an authorised absence if the religious observance or festival is a compulsory part of their faith.

This includes:

  • 1 day for Eid ul Adha and Eid ul Fitr (Islam).
  • 1 day for Diwali (Sikhism and Hinduism).
  • 1 day for Shavuot, Passover and Rosh Hashanah (Judaism).

We will use our discretion to award absence requests for days in addition to those mentioned above. These requests will be dealt with as an ordinary absence request and not as an absence for religious observance.

The Head Teacher is responsible for ensuring that requests are reasonable and genuine.

The Head Teacher will not doubt a request on the following grounds:

  • Other pupils of the same faith have not requested absence on the same day or time.
  • The pupil’s family is more stringent in its religious observances than other families of the same faith.
  • The religious group to which the family belongs requires observance of religious practices that are altered for different members of the community. (For example, a special day to worship a saint or religious rituals related to the death anniversary of a family member).
  • D’Eyncourt Primary School will strive to construct positive relationships with local places of worship/religious leaders to establish the appropriate number of days required for religious festivals.
  • Should a family wish to apply for leave of absence for religious reasons, the school office will supply the relevant form on request.
  • The contact person for advice on such matters is Katy Everitt, Education Welfare Service – 07392137495.
  • D’Eyncourt Primary School does not consider cultural events as religious observances so if a pupil does not attend school, it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence.

Monitoring Attendance

  • All children’s attendance figures will be printed fortnightly
  • Attendance staff will meet weekly or fortnightly to analyse attendance patterns
  • Individual and whole school attendance, punctuality figures discussed and ways forward suggested.
  • Children causing concern will be discussed along with actions taken and progress towards targets.
  • All parents receive a letter if attendance falls below 95%.
  • Children with attendance less than 95% are identified as causing concern and are tracked by our EWO.
  • Children who are regularly late are also identified as causing concern Procedures for when attendance is causing concern
  • If at the attendance meeting the child’s attendance/punctuality continues to cause concern. Parents/carers are invited to attend an attendance/punctuality meeting in school where a Parenting Contract or EHA (Early Help Assessment) will be offered
  • The pupils attendance/punctuality will be monitored until it is no longer a concern
  • Regular meeting with the Education Welfare Officer will discuss attendance issues and advice sort on appropriate action.
  • If a child’s absence remains a cause of concern and after intervention by the school which will include unauthorised absences then a referral to the Education Welfare Service may be made.
  • The Education Welfare Officer will ask to meet with parents and school along with other professionals such as the school nurse to discuss absence issues.
  • If parents/carers fail to attend meetings to discuss attendance issues and attendance or punctuality does not improve within a specific time a Penalty Notice could be served.
  • Further absence or lateness could result in further court action and a custodial sentence

 

Lateness

Lateness in attending school is an unauthorised absence. The school day begins at 8.55am. Children who are late must enter via the school reception. These children will be recorded as late. Where a child is consistently late over a number of weeks, parents will receive a letter asking why their child is late and ask for cooperation in rectifying the situation. If punctuality issues continue a referral may be made to the Education Welfare Service who may take legal action which could result in a fine.

Celebrating Good Attendance

  • Attendance certificates are awarded regularly by the school in assemblies.
  • Class teachers are encouraged to praise individual and class attendance regularly.
  • Attendance staff will regularly report attendance to other school staff to raise awareness and encourage good attendance.

Setting Targets

The Local Authority sets target for all schools based upon past performance and national expectations. However the DfE and OFSTED have specific targets which place schools into national categories and tables which will be published for parental scrutiny each year.

Race Equality & Equal Opportunities

All children have equal access to a full education regardless of their gender, nationality, disability or ability. We are committed to providing a safe and happy school free from racist intimidation or harassment of any kind and for all our children to achieve their full potential.

Reporting Attendance

Attendance is reported to pupil and parents in a variety of ways:

  • Annually via an attendance report
  • Attendance issues will be addressed by teachers during parent evenings.
  • Through ongoing intervention throughout the year.
  • By publishing attendance and punctuality results on newsletter.
  • Letters sent home for under 95% attendance.

 

Information is transferred to other schools by way of;

  • Electronic data systems
  • Common Transfer forms
  • National Curriculum assessment records
  • Passing on of annual reports

The school is required to make attendance returns to the DfE and the LA Roles and Responsibilities

The head teacher should:

  • Ensure legal requirements are being met with regard to attendance and punctuality
  • Be responsible for the operational management of the attendance policy
  • To review policy and procedures at least annually with all staff
  • To discuss attendance and punctuality with new Parents/Carers and children
  • To analyse authorised and unauthorised absence regularly with attendance staff and EWO to discuss any attendance issues
  • Reward and celebrate attendance
  • Send letters home regarding attendance and lateness
  • Identify and monitor individual absences and lateness, identifying patterns and trends and target improvements
  • Hold regular meetings to address attendance issues and implement strategies to increase attendance and reduce Persistent Absence

 

The Governing Body should:

  • Know and understand the schools policy and procedures for absence and lateness
  • Have a designated governor responsible for monitoring and supporting the school with attendance and punctuality.

 

Attendance Staff/ School Should:

  • Monitor individual attendance and lateness daily, identifying any patterns and absences
  • Liaise with the Head teacher and education Welfare officer regarding absence and lateness
  • Produce reports for the Head teacher and Governors summarising individual and whole school attendance.
  • Communicate with Parents/Carers on attendance and punctuality
  • Record and store contact with parents in an appropriate manner
  • Follow up data and reports with regard to less than 95% attendance
  • Follow up poor punctuality and communicate with parents and children to identify solutions
  • Hold regular meetings with Head/Deputy regarding attendance.
  • Update attendance log for children causing concern.

 

Class teachers should:

  • Ensure that registers are completed in accordance with Attendance and Punctuality procedures.
  • Date any written letters received from parents and send to office
  • Raise any concerns regarding attendance or lateness with attendance staff.
  • Complete register by 9.00am and 1.20pm KS1 /1.30pm KS2.

Parents and Carers should:

  • Sign home/school agreement and follow the schools policy and procedures for attendance and punctuality
  • Ensure children attend school regularly and on time every day.
  • Contact school on the child’s first day of absence.
  • Inform school of any changes in family circumstances particularly new addresses or telephone numbers.

 

 

 

 

THIS POLICY WILL BE REVIEWED IN SEPT 2018