Attendance Policy 2019
HIGH BEECH CHURCH OF ENGLAND
(V.C) PRIMARY SCHOOL
‘Central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential is an assumption so widely understood that it is insufficiently stated – pupils need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school’.
School Attendance: Statutory guidance and departmental advice, DFE Aug 2013
High Beech C of E School expects the highest attendance and punctuality from all pupils, at all times. We support pupils and their families to ensure that excellent attendance is achieved.
Aims and Objectives
This attendance policy ensures that all staff and governors in our school are fully aware of and clear about the actions necessary to promote good attendance.
Through this Policy we aim to:
- Improve pupils’ achievement by ensuring high levels of attendance and punctuality.
- Achieve a minimum of 96% attendance for all children, apart from those with chronic health issues.
- Create an ethos in which good attendance and punctuality are recognised as the norm and seen to be valued by the school.
- Raise awareness of parents, carers and pupils of the importance of uninterrupted attendance and punctuality at every stage of a child’s education.
- Work in partnership with pupils, parents, staff and The Missing Education and Child Employment Service so that all pupils realise their potential, unhindered by unnecessary absence.
- Promote a positive and welcoming atmosphere in which pupils feel safe, secure, and valued, and encourage in pupils a sense of their own responsibility.
- Establish a pattern of monitoring attendance and ensure consistency in recognising achievement and dealing with difficulties.
- Recognise the key role of all staff, but especially class teachers, in promoting good attendance.
We maintain and promote good attendance and punctuality through:
- Raising awareness of attendance and punctuality issues among all staff, parents and pupils.
- Ensuring that parents have an understanding of the responsibility placed on them for making sure their child attends regularly and punctually.
- Equipping children with the life skills needed to take responsibility for good school attendance and punctuality appropriate to the child’s age and development.
- Maintaining effective means of communication with parents, pupils, staff and governors on school attendance matters.
- Developing and implementing procedures for identifying, reporting and reviewing cases of poor attendance and persistent lateness.
- Supporting pupils who have been experiencing any difficulties at home or at school which are preventing good attendance.
- Developing and implementing procedures to follow up non-attendance at school.
- An absence is classified as authorised when a child has been away from school for a legitimate reason and the school has received notification from a parent or carer. For example, if a child has been unwell and the parent telephones the school to explain the absence.
- Only the school can make an absence authorised. Parents do not have this authority. Consequently not all absences supported by parents will be classified as authorised.
- An absence is classified as unauthorised when a child is away from school without the permission of the school.
- Therefore the absence is unauthorised if a child is away from school without good reason, even with the support of a parent.
Our school will undertake to follow the following procedures to support good attendance:
- To maintain appropriate registration processes.
- To maintain appropriate attendance data.
- To communicate clearly the attendance procedures and expectations to all staff, governors, parents and pupils.
- To have consistent and systematic daily records which give detail of any absence and lateness.
- To follow up absences and persistent lateness if parents/carers have not communicated with the school.
- To inform parents/carers what constitutes authorised and unauthorised absence.
- To strongly discourage unnecessary absence through holidays taken during term time.
- To work with parents to improve individual pupils attendance and punctuality
- To refer to The Missing Education and Child Employment Service any child whose attendance causes concern and where parents/carers have not responded to school initiatives to improve.
- To report attendance statistics to Essex LA and the DfE where requested.
- All staff should be aware that they must raise any attendance or punctuality concerns to the Headteacher.
All members of school staff have a responsibility for identifying trends in attendance and punctuality. The following includes a more specific list of the kinds of responsibilities which individuals might have.
Class teachers are responsible for:
- Keeping an overview of class and individual attendance looking particularly for either poor overall attendance, anomalies in patterns of attendance and/ or unusual explanations for attendance offered by children and their parents/ carers
- Informing the Headteacher where there are concerns and acting upon them
- Providing background information to support referrals
- Monitoring follow-up once actions have been taken to correct attendance concerns
- Emphasising with their class the importance of good attendance and promptness
- Following up absences with immediate requests for explanation which should be noted inside the register
- Discussing attendance issues at consultation evenings where necessary
The Headteacher is responsible for:
- Overall monitoring of school attendance
- Trends in authorised and unauthorised absence
- Contacting families where concerns are raised about absence including arranging meetings to discuss attendance issues
- Monitoring individual attendance where concerns have been raised
- Making referrals to The Missing Education and Child Employment Service
- Liaising with other professionals to determine potential sources of difficulties and reasons for absence.
Staff in the School Office are responsible for:
- Collating and recording registration and attendance information
- Taking and recording messages from parents regarding absence
- Ensuring the Absence/Late Book is completed
- Contacting parents of absent children where no contact has been made
- Recording details of children who arrive late or go home early
- Keeping an overview of class and individual attendance looking particularly for either poor overall attendance, anomalies in patterns of attendance and/ or unusual explanations for attendance offered by children and their parents/ carers and reporting concerns to the Headteacher
- Sending out standard letters regarding attendance
Parents/Carers are responsible for:
- Ensuring that their child attends school regularly and punctually unless prevented from doing so by illness or attendance at a medical appointment.
- Contacting the school office by phone on the first morning of absence.
- Try to make medical appointments out of school hours wherever possible.
- Informing the school in advance of any medical appointments in school time. For the absence to be recorded as a medical absence we do require evidence from the doctor or dentist. This evidence could be in the form of:
- an appointment card / slip
- a text message confirming that an appointment had been made with the GP
- a photocopy of the tear off slip retained by the parent when a prescription is issued
- a photocopy of the label on any medication prescribed for the pupil in question
- Making requests for authorised absence in term time, only in exceptional circumstances as these are not automatically authorised.
- Talking to the school as soon as possible about any child’s reluctance to come to school so that problems can be quickly identified and dealt with.
- The school doors open at 8.40 am until 8.55 am. This time is sufficient for all pupils to come into their classroom.
- Each class teacher has the responsibility for keeping an accurate record of attendance. Any pupil who is absent must be recorded at the beginning of the morning and afternoon session. The attendance register must be completed by the class teacher by 9.00 am and by 1.20 pm. These registers are then returned to the school office.
- The register closes at 9.30 am. A pupil who arrives after the register has closed will be marked as absent using the U code or with another code if this is more appropriate.
- All attendance records are documented using SIMs software, which is supported by the Local Authority. Attendance registers are legal documents and these must be kept secure and preserved for a period of three years after the date they were last used.
- Any pupil who comes into school after 9.00 am and before the register closes at 9.30 am will be marked as late in the attendance record. (code L) Records are kept of those pupils who are late, this is documented on the electronic register for each pupil.
- Children who have attended a dentist or doctor’s appointment and subsequently come to school later than 9.00am will have the absence recorded as a medical absence (Attendance code M).
- Where there have been persistent incidents of lateness parents/carers will receive a letter advising them of the concerns and the school will provide opportunities for parents/carers to seek support and advice to address these issues.
- Parents/carers should contact the school on the first day of their child’s absence. When parents/carers notify us of their child’s absence it is important that they provide us with details of the reason for their absence.
- All absences are recorded as either authorised or unauthorised absences on the computer. It is important that we receive accurate information from parents with reasons for the child’s absence. This information is used to determine whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised. The Headteacher has the responsibility to determine whether absences are authorised or unauthorised
- Where the school has not received reasons for a child’s absence the office staff will phone, requesting parents/carers to state a reason for the absence. If a reason is not given the absence will be recorded as an unauthorised absence (Attendance Code O)
First Day Contact
- Where a child is absent from school and we have not received any verbal or written communication from the parent, then we initiate a first day contact process. Office staff check all of the registers from 9.00am to 10.00am on a daily basis, to identify those pupils who are absent. There are occasions when we are unaware why the child is absent and we will contact the parent to check the reasons for the child’s absence.
- When children have an illness that means they will be away from school long term, the school will do all it can to support pupils to access as much of their education as possible.
- If the absence is likely to continue for an extended period, or be a repetitive absence, the school will contact the support services, so that arrangements can be made for the child to be given some tuition outside school.
- Where over the course of an academic year, a child has repeated periods of illness, the school will write to parents to ask them to provide medical evidence for each future period of illness related absence. This evidence could be a Doctor’s note, appointment card or copy of a prescription. The School may seek written permission from parents to make their own enquiries.
Parental Request for Absence from School
- The Headteacher will not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Each case will be considered individually and recorded for monitoring purposes.
- A letter, clearly stating the decision whether to authorise or not, will be sent to each parent/carer
- If a parent takes their child out of school when an absence has not been authorised, the Headteacher will issue a warning letter stating that the absence may have been referred to MECES with possibility of a penalty notice being issued.
- If a parent/carer keeps a child away for longer than was agreed, any extra time is recorded as unauthorised and a letter sent to each parent/carer advising such.
- When it is suspected that a child has been taken on holiday and medical reasons are given for the absence, we reserve the right to request a doctor’s certificate verifying the illness.
- A penalty notice will be considered by the Local Authority if there have been 10 sessions (5 consecutive days) or more of unauthorised absence due to a leave taken and there is sufficient evidence attached
Addressing Attendance Concerns
- The school expects attendance of at least 96%.
- Initially concerns about attendance are raised with parents via letters which are sent home. There will be opportunities for the parent/carer to discuss reasons for absence and support to be given by the school with the aim to improve attendance.
- Where a child’s attendance record does not improve over a period of time and continue to be a cause for concern, then the school has a responsibility to make a referral to The Missing Education and Child Employment Service.
- MECES will issue penalty notices to parents where there has been a referral from the school as part of the school’s processes to address poor attendance patterns.
Rewarding good and improved attendance patterns
- The school will use a variety of approaches to reward positive attendance patterns.
- Pupil voice will be used to bring about high levels of engagement with the reward systems.
Monitoring and review
- It is the responsibility of the governors to monitor overall attendance, and they will request a termly report from the headteacher. The governing body also has the responsibility for this policy, and for seeing that it is carried out. The governors will therefore examine closely the information provided to them, and seek to ensure that our attendance figures are as high as they should be.
- The school will keep accurate attendance records on file for a minimum period of three years.
- Class teachers will be responsible for monitoring attendance in their class, and for following up absences in the appropriate way. If there is concern about a child’s absence, they will contact the school office immediately. If there is a longer-term general worry about the attendance of a particular child, this will be reported to the headteacher, who will contact the parents or guardians.