Attendance & Absence Policy


(Please click here if you would like to download this policy in pdf format.)

Aim

The school recognises that non attendance and absence has a negative impact upon attainment and achievement.  We will provide a welcoming, stimulating and structured learning environment, to encourage children to attend school.  School will work closely with parents/carers and the local authority, to ensure that all pupils attend school regularly and punctually and to improve the overall percentage of pupils in school.
 
Local Authority
Parents have the primary responsibility for ensuring that children of compulsory school age (i.e. 5 to 16 year olds) receive a suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. It is the responsibility of the Local Authority to ensure that parents meet these responsibilities. Attendance enforcement is carried out by the Local Authority Early Years Intervention Team who provide an important link between schools and families.  The EYIT communicates with school on a regular basis to monitor the attendance.
 
School 
To assist in monitoring and controlling school attendance the school employs the following measures:
An electronic registration system
First day contact with parents of children who are absent from school without prior knowledge (see Appendix 1 for procedures) 
Log kept regarding pupils out of school on appointments/agreed absence
The promotion of school attendance being shared by everyone in the school
The collection and analysis of data about attendance to check pupils  progress against measurable outcomes
Weekly 100% attendance certificates for classes (where applicable)
School is required to tell the Local Authority if a pupil fails to attend regularly or has been absent for a continuous period of ten days and the absence is treated as unauthorised. School can notify the Local Authority earlier if there are areas of concern.
 
* First day visits are conducted on the first day of school absence for any child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan or Interim Care Order and living at home, these visits are in order to check on the child’s welfare, the reason for absence and to confirm an expected return date. These visits are carried out by the Early Intervention officer and/or the duty social worker, and feedback will be given to school.
 
Responsibilities of parents
Parents have the prime responsibility for ensuring that registered pupils of compulsory school age attend school regularly. If a child does not attend regularly, parents will need to work in partnership with the school and any assigned Early Years Intervention Officer to resolve the problem. From 1 March 2001, parents found guilty of school attendance offences could be subject to a penalty of up to £1000 and/or a range of disposals such as Parenting Orders or Community Sentences depending on individual circumstances.
 
School requires parents:
To notify any absence on the first day of absence by 9.15 a.m.
For a period of continuous illness – to telephone school each morning whilst absent (this ensures that the child is safe and not missing on the way to school)
For exceptional circumstances, to request a leave of absence at least two weeks before leave is required.
Pupil registration
School ensures that an attendance register for all pupils on the school roll is taken twice a day; once at the start of the morning session and once during the afternoon session. For each pupil, the register must be marked either as present, engaged in an approved educational activity away from the school site or absent. If the pupil is absent, the register must say whether or not the absence has been authorised by the school. 
 
Authorised or unauthorised absence
Authorised absence is absence with permission from an authorised representative of the school. This includes instances of absences for which a satisfactory explanation has been provided (e.g. illness).
Unauthorised absence is absence without permission from an authorised representative of the school. This includes all unexplained or unjustified absences.  The Attendance Officer will follow up all unauthorised absences.
 
Late arrival at school after the register has closed will be marked as unauthorised absence.
 
Family holidays
Children are at school for a total of 190 days every academic year.  Weekends account for 110 days, holidays account for 65 days.  We feel therefore, that there is more than enough time/opportunity for holidays out of school time.  With only 190 school days per year, it is essential that every attempt is made by parents/carers to get their child to school every day.  All term time holidays will be unauthorised and may result in a fine being issued.
 
Under education law, 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). Exceptional circumstances may include a child’s illness, the funeral of an immediate family member or religious festival. Any decision will take into account individual circumstances and take account of:
the age of the pupil    
the time of year proposed for the trip    
its nature and parents' wishes    
the overall attendance pattern of the pupil    
the pupil's stage of education, progress and achievement levels
A child’s absence from school for more than ten consecutive days may result in their removal from the school roll.
 
The target for pupil attendance in the 2014/15 academic year was set at 97.0% (as agreed at the PPWC Governors Committee on 08.10.14). School achieved 95.3%. 
 
The target set for 2015/16 academic year is set at 97%.
 
Appendix 1 - Attendance Procedures
 
When a child is absent from school, class teachers and office staff must follow strict procedure.
 
If a child is absent from school in the morning with no known reason provided by the parents/ carers in advance, they must be given an absent mark on the class register.
When the register is checked by the office, office staff must enter an absent child’s mark as ‘N’ (for no reason yet provided) until the reason is known.
Should the child arrive after the bell, but before 9.15am they will receive a ‘L’ (late) mark in the register.
If a child arrives to school after 9.15am and was not late for any medical or other authorised reason, they will receive a ‘U’ mark (unauthorised late, after registers have closed).
Office staff must check messages taken for the morning, along with any answer phone messages to see if the parent of any absentee has contacted school.
If no message has been received, office staff must contact the parents to find out why a child is absent.
Should a parent confirm as to why their child is absent, office staff must amend the SIMS record as appropriate with either an ‘I’ (illness), ‘M’ (medical/ dental appointment), ‘C’ (other authorised circumstances, such as family emergency, etc) or a ‘O’ (for any unauthorised reason, i.e. a holiday that has not been authorised by school).
Short-term absence - Any standard absences will be managed by the office staff e.g. reasons for absence, appointments, etc. But, there may be occasions when absences are referred to the DHT/HT e.g. the reasons given for absence are questionable, and parents need to be spoken to/challenged by a senior member of staff.
 
Persistent Lateness/ Absence
 
Class teachers as well as office staff must be vigilant and take note of any children who start to show a pattern of lateness or are regularly absent from school.
If concerned, class teachers may ask office staff for a SIMS printout of a particular child’s record of attendance and present this to their parent/ carer in order to draw their attention to the amount of class time their child is missing, in the hope of this being corrected.
Things to look out for concerning lateness and absences are:
- reoccurring absences on the same day i.e. only being absent on Thursdays, etc.
- having regular medical appointments with no explanation from parents as to what the medical issue may be, again especially on reoccurring days.
- in the case of children of whose parents share custody, being repeatedly late or absent when staying with one parent, compared with the other.
- repeated late pick-ups after school.
- Continual ‘illness’ days for prolonged periods
Should staff see a pattern emerging, and after having confronted parents with a print-out of their child’s attendance school still has concerns and little improvement has been made, office staff should then contact the Early Intervention Team who will decide on a course of action to try and rectify the situation.
This intervention could just mean a short home visit to parents to discuss any issues they may be having, or to set up a meeting with parents, school staff and an early intervention officer to see if there are any changes which can be made by those involved.
If still no progress is made, and the number of unauthorised absences exceeds ten full days in one term or 20 sessions i.e. late after registration, the school/early intervention team may feel that a monetary fine is necessary to encourage parents/ carers to ensure their child is in school regularly and on time.
Long-term - At the end of each week, office staff will look at attendance patterns, and identify anyone under 97%. Acceptable reasons for absence at this level will be filtered out, but anyone who is beginning to cause concern will be referred to SLT. The next stage may involve school contact with the intervention officer and/or contact with parents
 
Below is the guidance we provide for parents 
Education is the most important gift we can give our children and a day lost is one day too many. At Ladybridge, we believe that regular attendance is linked directly to raising achievement and helps develop skills for life. Please support the school in its aim to raise the achievement of your child by ensuring that they attend school regularly and arrive on time. 
 
What should I do if my child is absent from school?
Contact the School Office on the first morning of absence to notify us of the reason for absence. 
Medical documentation will be requested for any absence from parents of children who are frequently absent from school because of minor illnesses or absence immediately adjacent to a school holiday. They may also be offered a meeting with the School Nurse. 
Provide medical documentation (e.g. letters/appointment cards) in advance of any medical appointments (e.g. hospital/dentist). Routine dental check- ups or non-emergency doctor appointments should, where possible, be made outside of school hours or, if this is not possible, at the very end of the school day.
 
Late Arrival at School
The school bell rings at 8.50 a.m. to enable all children to be settled in class for registration at 9.00 a.m. prompt. Children can choose to access school (via their classroom door) from 8.50am. We expect all children to be on time.  If your child is going to be late due to exceptional circumstances, please advise the office by telephone. If your child arrives after 9.00 a.m. they will only be able to access the building via the main entrance as all other doors are locked for security.  They must report to the office on the way into school to ensure they are marked in the relevant registers, and to give an explanation for their lateness.  All late arrivals are logged in a ‘late book’. 
 
Late Pick Up from School
We expect every pupil to be picked up on time at the end of the school day. If you are going to be late collecting your child from school at 3.30 p.m., please contact school so we can ensure your child remains safe.  If your child is left uncollected, every effort will be made to contact you or other emergency contacts.  If we are unable to contact anyone / or don’t hear from you by 4.30 p.m. then Social Services will be contacted, to ensure that safe child care arrangements can be made for your child.
 
How you can help:
Make sure your child understands the importance of good attendance and punctuality
Don’t let your child miss school for very minor ailments
Arrange appointments and outings after school hours or at weekends or school holidays
Check the school website and newsletters for term dates when planning your holidays
 
We understand that children do get sick and we are not asking you to send your children to school when they are unwell, but we are asking you to ensure they return to school as soon as they are able to do so. 
 
A large amount of time is dedicated to monitoring attendance by the office staff. Some attendance initiatives are listed below: - 
We have a first day response, therefore each parent is called if their child is absent and we have not heard from them.  
100% class attendance certificates are given each week to classes. 
100% individual attendance certificates are given out at the end of each year.
Referrals to Early Intervention Officer and School Nurse when required.
 
The office staff produce a record of attendance weekly for all pupils whose attendance has fallen beneath a certain percentage figure (97% for 2015 – 2016). For those pupils who have been identified for the first time, a letter will now be sent to parents to make you aware of your child’s attendance level. Following the sending of letter one, should your child’s attendance fail to improve or should it fall to a lower level, you will then be sent a second letter indicating the level of attendance for your child. Should your child’s attendance still fail to improve or should it fall to a lower level, then you will receive a third letter indicating the level of attendance for your child and the case will then be referred to the Early Intervention Officer.