Previous: September 2010
Revised: February 2013
Attendance at school is an important pre-requisite for a successful and fulfilling school career. Prolonged absence, irregular attendance and lack of punctuality can all serve to undermine educational achievement and results in long-term disadvantage to children. In line with our Mission Statement we aim to provide a welcoming and safe environment, which encourages attendance and promotes the best performance from children. We will provide an education suitable to the child’s age, aptitude, and ability and meet any special educational needs. In addition we will contribute sensitively to the child’s social, emotional and moral development.
The legal framework governing attendance at school is set by successive Education Acts and regulations. There are legal obligations on:
- Parents to secure education for their children and to send them to school regularly once they are on the register
- School to register attendance, to report attendance statistics and notify the LEA of absence from school
Responsibilities of Staff
- The attendance register should be maintained regularly and accurately
- Absences must be recorded using the appropriate codes in the register
- Letters supporting absence should be kept in a plastic wallet in the school register
- A late book is available in the office specifying the reasons for lateness
- Records of telephone messages are inserted in appropriate class registers
- Bring any concerns about attendance to the attention of the headteacher
Home – School Links
We must ensure good and effective communication links with parents and pupils to maximise attendance. We try to encourage parents through our Home School Agreement, to foster a good attitude to learning. This can be supported by ensuring punctuality, appropriate dress and by fulfilling the expectations of our school. The Home School Agreement is issued annually and we encourage parents to sign. We also encourage parents to work in partnership with the school and other agencies in the best interests of their child; this includes informing school about significant changes or influences in the child’s life, which may impact on learning.
Concerns over a child’s punctuality or attendance must be reported to the head. The head will contact the parents and an attendance or punctuality plan may be drawn up. The Education Welfare Service will be contacted for persistent non-attendance. We may need to work collaboratively with other agencies e.g. Social Services or Child Protection, to ensure the child’s needs are met.
Holidays During Term-time
A pupil may be granted up to 10 days in one year to take an annual family holiday. Holidays during term time are not encouraged however and they are usually unauthorised unless there are exceptional circumstances eg a written letter from a company to show that an employee can only take holiday in term time. Parents need to be aware that a fortnight off school, results in new concepts being missed, particularly in numeracy and literacy. Furthermore the child is often excited prior to the holiday and extremely tired after, which greatly affects concentration. A letter to the governors requesting permission to take a child on an annual family holiday is required.
The school acknowledges that some parents will want to take their children out of school for an extended period of time. These occasions should be exceptional.
Exceptional circumstances could include a trip to visit extended family living abroad. There are positive benefits for the child, educationally and culturally. However it is also clearly the case that extended absence can cause insufficient coverage of the national curriculum. There may also be difficulty with social integration when a child returns which may affect a child’s confidence, relationships and self esteem. Where possible it would be sensible to arrange the leave in conjunction with an existing school holiday. The teacher may suggest specific work to complete on the extended leave but is not expected to mark the work on the child’s return.
Parents will be invited to discuss the situation with the head and/or governors and to question the need to remove their child from school for such a length of time. The governors may grant up to 4 weeks of term-time leave in exceptional circumstances. No more than two such breaks will be allowed during a pupil’s school career.
Children with long term Medical Needs will remain in the school register. This must be supported by a medical letter (refer to the Medical Needs Policy for guidance).
The Legal Position
- Except in exceptional circumstances a pupil shall not be granted more than 10 days of leave of absence in any school year
- If a pupil is granted leave of absence exceeding 10 days for the purpose of a family holiday and that pupil fails to attend the school within the 10 school days immediately following the expiry of the period for which such leave was granted and the school is not satisfied that the pupil is unable to attend the school by reason of sickness or other avoidable cause*, then the pupil’s name will be deleted from the admission register.
If there is a dispute after the pupil has been taken off roll it is the Headteacher who will need to account for the reasons.
*Such causes may be:
- Serious illness/accident
- Death of a family
- Flight delays
- Severe weather conditions
- War/civil unrest
A contact number should be available so that the school can follow up unavoidable causes for a family returning home.
Anti bullying Policy
Equal Opportunities Policy
Medical Needs Policy
See also RBWM’s Attendance Policy
The criteria used to determine whether extended leave is justifiable should pay regard to equality issues e.g. the extended leave need not involve a trip abroad.
For advice on penalty notices for poor attendance see Appendix A