Good attendance is extremely important in ensuring the best possible progress for your child. Please ensure that your child arrives punctually for the start of each school day. Late arrivals do cause additional work and disrupt the learning of the class. Good attendance at school is vitally important and this is defined currently as at least 96% attendance with no unauthorised absences.
Our attendance registers are checked regularly and all pupils whose attendance falls below 96%, for whatever reason, are highlighted. Regular lateness is also identified. Parents of children who are identified in this way, may be referred to our Attendance Officer for additional support.
Government legislation has set the persistent absence threshold at 10%. This means that any pupil will be persistently absent when they have missed 38 sessions (half days) at any point during the academic year, which can be as little as 5 or 7 sessions (half days) each term. Pupils who are in danger of reaching this threshold will automatically be referred to the Attendance Officer for additional support.
The school and its staff regard the regular attendance of children at school as being vital to each child’s education and development. It is for this reason that non-attendances (however short or infrequent) are treated seriously. It remains the policy of the school to only sanction non-attendance during term time in exceptional circumstances.
If your child has unauthorised leave of absence you may either be issued with a Penalty Notice of £120 per parent per child (discounted to £60 if paid within 21 days), or your case could be referred by the Local Authority directly to the Magistrates’ Court for the purposes of criminal prosecution.
I hope that you will support the school in this matter, as we are all concerned to see children fulfil their full potential at school. I am sure you will agree that this can best be achieved by avoiding unnecessary absence.
Parent and Carer responsibilities
Your legal responsibility as a parent or carer is to ensure that your children of school age receive a suitable full-time education, by either enrolling your child at a school or by making other arrangements through homeschooling /elective home education. Once enrolled at a school it remains the parent or carer’s legal responsibility to ensure that their child attends school regularly and arrives on time each day.
Parents and carers are encouraged to maintain good attendance by:
- Making sure they and their child understand the importance of school attendance and punctuality;
- Getting involved and showing interest in their child’s school work and activities;
- Talking to the headteacher if your child has any issues which could affect attendance levels;
- Not taking holidays during school term-time.
Taking your child on a family holiday during term time
Headteachers are no longer able to grant any leave of absence for family holidays, unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ which support the request being made.
Where a family chooses to take a holiday during term time, the absences will be coded as unauthorised, and as such Headteachers may request that the Local Authority issues a Penalty Notice.
Authorised non-attendance at school
The High Court has confirmed that schools, not parents, authorise absence.
- Schools must use the National Attendance Codes to ensure consistency in the treatment and recording of attendance and absence.
- In most cases, illness will be the reason for absence (code I). However, schools can also authorise absence for ‘other exceptional circumstances’ (code C).
- Such decisions will take place at the Headteacher’s discretion. An example would be ‘bereavement’, whereas unacceptable reasons might include a shopping trip or birthday.