Attendance Policy

Introduction

The Governors, Head Teacher and Staff in partnership with parents have a duty to promote full attendance at Kilmorie Primary School.

Regular and punctual school attendance is important. Pupils need to attend school regularly if they are to take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them by law. Kilmorie Primary School and Nursery fully recognises its responsibilities to ensure pupils are in school and on time, therefore having access to learning for the maximum number of days and hours.

Our policy applies to all children registered at this school and this policy is made available to all parents/carers of pupils who are registered at our school on our school website.

This policy has been written to adhere to the relevant Children Acts, Education Acts, Regulations and Guidance from the Department for Education in addition to guidance from the Local Authority.

Although parents/carers have the legal responsibility for ensuring their child’s good attendance, the Headteacher and Governors at our school work together with other professionals and agencies to ensure that all pupils are encouraged and supported to develop good attendance habits. Procedures in this policy are followed to ensure this happens.

Children who are persistently late or absent soon fall behind with their learning .Children who are absent from school frequently develop large gaps in their learning which will impact on their progress and their ability to meet age related learning expectations. A child whose attendance drops to 90% each year will, over their time at primary school, have missed two whole terms of learning.

Parental Responsibility

Parents (for the purpose of this document the term parents also covers carers) have a legal duty to ensure that their children attend school regularly and arrive on time.  Regular attendance is essential to the all-round development of the child and they should be allowed to take full advantage of educational opportunities available to them.

It is the parents’ responsibility to contact the school on the first day their child is absent, preferably by 8.30 am. This is a safeguarding issue so that all parties know that the child is safe.  Parents must ensure that contact details are up to date and that 2 emergency contacts are provided.

If a child is absent and the parent has not contacted the school then, as part of our safeguarding policy:

  • The school office will send a text reminding them to make contact
  • If there is no response to the text the office will try to make contact with the parent or carer and other emergency contacts. The purpose of this is to check on the safety of the child
  • If it has not been possible to make contact with either the parent/carer or emergency contacts the school will give due consideration to making a home visit based on their knowledge of the child. If no contact has been made after 3 days then a home visit will definitely be made. (See the section ‘Children Missing in Education’).

This process has been summarised for parents and can be found in appendix 1

Pupils are expected to arrive by 8:55 am when a bell goes in the playground for them to go into class. Parents or carers are asked to contact the school if they are experiencing difficulties getting their child to school.

The Role of the School Staff

The head teacher has overall responsibility for attendance and has to report termly percentages to the local authority. The deputy head monitors attendance together with the learning mentor and office assistant.

Class teachers complete a register at the beginning of each morning and afternoon session.  Marking the attendance registers twice daily is a legal requirement.  Teachers mark pupils present or mark as an ‘N’ if a child is absent. The office attendance admin officer will mark in late or absent children in the morning and telephone the parents of any absent children if they have not already made contact.

It is the responsibility of office attendance admin officer to ensure:

  •  Attendance and lateness records are up to date
  • If no reason for absence has been provided, parents are contacted on the first day of absence
  • Where there has been no communication, letters are sent to parents requesting reasons for absence with a seven day reply deadline before the absence is unauthorised
  • The appropriate attendance code is entered into the register (National Attendance Codes).

Only the office staff, the Deputy Head and the Learning Mentor can change attendance codes (e.g. changing N to O), that member of staff will date, initial and give a brief reason for the change.

At the end of each school day the office staff will run a gap check to ensure all children have been marked in the register correctly.

Illness and Medical Appointments

When a child is unwell, parents are expected to contact the school before 9.15am on the first day of absence informing the school of the reason for absence. (See section above)

  1. Every effort should be make to arrange medical appointments outside school hours.
  2. An appointment card or verification by the doctors/ dentist/hospital is required for medical appointments
  3. If it is necessary for a child to be out of school for this reason, the child should be returned to school directly after the appointment.
  4. If a child is absent due to vomiting then they should not return to school for the next 48 hours after the last time that the child is sick. This is to reduce the risk of infection to other children and adults at the school.
  5. For more than three days of absence or where there is repeated absence due to illness, the school will request medical evidence (this can take the form of an appointment card or a copy of a prescription)
  6. Where there are concerns about a child’s attendance (particularly when it drops below 90%) the school will request medical evidence for any absence.

Moving School

If a family are moving out of the area there are a number of things we require them to do

  • Notify us in writing at least 2 weeks in advance, including contact details for where they are moving to and if possible the details of the school their child will be attending
  • Notify us in writing when the child has started their new school
  • If the family are moving abroad we also require sight of their aeroplane boarding passes

We will also

  • Request an email from the new school to confirm when the child started
  • If we do not hear from the family about their child’s new school, we will contact the local authority where they have moved to find out whether the child is in school. If they are on the waiting list or have started school, we will request a confirmation email  and off roll the child after one week following this confirmation

Children Missing from Education (CME)

No child may be removed from the school roll without consultation between the head teacher and the Attendance Service.

If no reason has been given for a child’s absence after 3 days and the school have not been able to make contact with parents/carers or any emergency contact, a home visit will be arranged. If a visit takes place and there is no one home the school may contact the police (having sought advice from the LA)

If a child has been absent from school for 2 weeks with no reason given, or if they have moved and no new school has contacted Kilmorie, a referral is made to the CME team.

Lateness

At Kilmorie Primary School the register is taken at 9.00 am and 1.00 pm (Reception – Year 2) or 1.30 pm (Year 3 – Year 6). Pupils arriving after these times must enter school by the main entrance and report to our learning mentor (Nicola) who will record their name and reason for lateness. The pupil will be marked as late when registration has closed (Code ‘L’).  If you and your child arrive after Nicola has gone into school please report to the school office.

The register will close at 9:05 am and 1.05 pm (Reception and KS1) or 1.35 pm (KS2). Pupils arriving after the register has closed will be marked as late after registration (Code ‘L’), pupils arriving after 9.30 am will be marked as ‘U’ which is an unauthorised absence.

Parents will be contacted by the school if their child is late regularly. If punctuality continues to be a concern the learning mentor will meet with parents to discuss any issues which are causing lateness and how things can be improved.

Parents will be contacted by the school if their child is late regularly. If punctuality continues to be a concern the learning mentor will meet with parents to discuss any issues which are causing lateness and how things can be improved.

Leave of Absence

From September 2013 the Department for Education amended the Pupil Registration Regulations, removing the head teacher’s ability to authorise leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday.

The head teacher may authorise absence in “exceptional circumstances” but this must be requested in advance and agreement to each request is at the discretion of the head teacher, acting on behalf of the Governing Body (Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006).  Each case will be judged on its merits and the head teacher’s decision is final. Once the decision not to authorise leave is taken, it cannot be authorised retrospectively.

The head teacher is not obliged to accept a parent’s explanation, a letter or telephone message from a parent does not in itself authorise an absence. If absences are not authorised, parents will be notified.

A written application must be made to request a leave of absence, the head teacher will give due consideration to the circumstances and the child’s past attendance history.  The application for leave of absence must include a return date. Children who return 10 days or more after the expected date will be reported to the local authority as a ‘Child Missing in Education’ and may be taken off the school roll.

Where leave has been granted this will be marked ‘H’ in the register, where a family request leave and it is not granted this will be marked as ‘G’ and if   this causes attendance to drop below 90% could trigger a fixed penalty notice.

The following reasons are examples of absence that will not be authorised:

  • Persistent non-specific illness e.g. poorly/unwell
  •  Absence of siblings if one child is ill
  • Oversleeping
  • Confusion over school dates
  • Medical/dental appointments of more than half a day without very good reasons
  • Child’s/family birthday
  • Shopping trip
  • Family Holidays
  • Absence of child as a result of another member of the family’s illness or medical appointment

Monitoring Attendance and Lateness

Our expectation is that a child’s attendance is 95% or above at the end of the school year. The school closely monitors attendance and lateness to try to minimize poor attendance and punctuality through

  • Rewarding classes and children for good attendance and punctuality
  • Staff speaking to parents and carers as and when concerns arise
  • The learning mentor making contact with families whose attendance is below average to try to find ways to improve
  • The Deputy writing to parents when attendance or punctuality does not improve

When a child’s attendance drops below 90% it is considered to be a persistent absence and will be closely monitored. A series of letters are sent to parents if their child’s attendance approaches or goes below this level.

Letter 1 – advising parent or carer that attendance is low and requesting medical evidence if appropriate

Letter 2 – raising concerns that attendance has not improved and setting the expectation that all future absences need to be accompanied by medical evidence

Letter 3 – raising continued concerns, arranging meeting with Deputy Head and Learning Mentor to review attendance and/or reminding families that if attendance does not improve the local authority may issue a fixed penalty warning.

Child’s Attendance ACTION
96%+ Excellent Children who achieve 99 -100% attendance are celebrated at the end of the academic year.
94 – 95% Good Well done – strive to build on this
Below 95% Causing concern Children’s attendance is below average and they will be missing out on what other children are learning and doing. Parents need to work closely with the school to improve the situation. The children’s attendance will be carefully monitored and families written to whenever there is a broken week. If attendance remains below 95% parents will be contacted by the Learning Mentor in order to work together to improve child’s attendance. If the percentage drops below 93% a meeting will be arranged between the parent, school staff and any other agency involved to review what has been happening and strive to improve it. If attendance does not improved a referral may be made to our local authority attendance and welfare officer.
Below 90% Possible penalty notice/legal proceedings Any child whose attendance falls below 90% is regarded nationally as a child who has persistent absence. The Government is very concerned with this and has invested heavily to monitor the attendance of these children. Schools have targets to reduce the levels of persistent absence and the school and local authority work closely with families to support them in getting their child to school each day. However if a child’s attendance does not improve next steps may include a penalty notice and possible legal proceedings – for more details see below.

Persistent absence

Your child will be considered as persistently absent using the following criteria:

Term Number of sessions missed since the start of the year (a session is half a day)
Autumn 1 7 or more
Autumn 2 14 or more
Spring 1 20 or more
Spring 2 25 or more
Summer 1 31 or more
Summer 2 38 or more

Support from the school

The school understands that from time to time situations may arise which make it difficult for parents to ensure their child is in school. For example

  • Housing issues
  • Health issues
  • Children’s behavioural issues

Where there are concerns about attendance we will contact you as soon as these arise:

  • By letter to raise the concern
  • Followed up by a phone call from our Learning Mentor if there is no improvement
  • Followed up by a meeting which may include a representative from our Children’s Centre, the class teacher, a local authority attendance officer, the school nurse and the deputy head. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss concerns and ways in which these can be resolved

Local Authority Action

When there are concerns about a child’s attendance and it does not appear to be improving, the school will refer to the local authority attendance service who may consider the following:

Education Welfare Officer Actions

This may include:

  • Home visits
  • multi agency meetings
  • Sign posting to supportive agencies e.g. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Social Services and Family Group Conference Service.
  • Fast Track to Prosecution
Penalty Notices for Poor Attendance
  • Penalty Notices are issued in accordance with the Attendance Service Code of Conduct.
  • The Attendance Service issue a warning letter setting out 15 school days during which no unauthorised absence is to be recorded
  • If unauthorised absence is recorded during the 15 day period a Penalty Notice will be issued (one per parent per child)

Penalty Notices will be issued in the following circumstances:

  • Truancy
  • Parentally-condoned absences
  • Persistent lateness after the register has closed
  • Being present in a public place without reasonable justification during the first 5 days of any fixed term or permanent exclusion.

Where Penalty Notices are imposed, the regulations state that the penalty will be £120 to be paid within 28 days, reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days.  Penalty notices are issued to each parent of each child. Failure to pay the penalty in full by the end of the 28 day period may result in prosecution by the Local Authority.

Rewards

The class with the best weekly attendance figures is awarded the attendance cup in Celebration Assembly on a Friday.

Children who achieve 99 -100% attendance the end of the year are recognised in a special celebration assembly.

 

 

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