SCHOOL ATTENDANCE POLICY – INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
Attendance at school continues to be a high priority for the Government as part of its commitment to raising educational standards for all children. Regular attendance helps to raise educational attainment and narrow gaps between pupil groups. It also helps improve outcomes for children outside and beyond their time at school. Targets are an essential part of that work, because they show what we need to achieve and provide a clear focus for improvements. DFES 2006
At West Rise Infant School we recognise our responsibility to ensure attendance and we take seriously problems which may lead to non-attendance. One of our key tasks is to maximise attendance rates and to work in partnership with parents to achieve our goal of regular attendance by all pupils.
(3) PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Parents are required by law to ensure that their children receive sufficient full-time education. Parents are therefore primarily responsible for ensuring that children attend and stay at school and that they arrive on time.
‘All children of compulsory school age (5-16) should receive suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or through other arrangements. If a child is registered at school, parents have the primary legal responsibility for ensuring that their child attends regularly. ‘
(4) SAFE ARRIVAL
The school actively encourages parents to ensure that their children arrive safely at school each day. To this end, parents are expected to accompany their children onto the school site and to see them into the building where a member of staff will then supervise them. Pupils should never be left at the school gate to make their own way into school.
To assist parents in this and to avoid the need for families to wait outside the building, the school doors are opened ten minutes before the start of the morning registration period so that pupils may enter in good time.
Pupils arriving late may seriously disrupt not only their own learning but also that of others. It is therefore the policy of the school to encourage prompt arrival at all times. A child's arrival after the close of the morning or afternoon registration period will be treated in the same way as any other unauthorised absence and will be recorded as such.
(6) PUPIL ABSENCES
Under Government regulations schools are required to record in their Attendance Registers the reason for every period of absence and to note any absence which is not authorised.
This places a responsibility on all parents to keep the Headteacher informed of any absence which is due to illness or medical treatment and to obtain prior permission for absence for any other reason.
When a child is absent from school for any reason or is likely to arrive late, parents are expected to inform the school at the earliest opportunity. Where parents have access to a telephone, a responsible adult should inform school on the first day of absence, or in the case of lateness, before school is due to start, so that appropriate arrangements for lunch may be made. When no telephone call is received, school will always make contact to find out where a child is.
We need to know the reason for any absence - it is not sufficient for your child to pass on a verbal message, nor for you to give a verbal message to the class teacher - such information can be easily overlooked in a busy classroom.
Where proper notification is not received the Education Welfare Officer will as part of his/her scheduled visits to school make further enquiries.
(7) PROCEDURE IN THE CASE OF ABSENCE
In cases where a child does not arrive at school and there has been no message received from the parent, concern about the welfare of the pupil will necessitate immediate contact with the home. Where a telephone call is unsuccessful the emergency contact will be used. If this is also unsuccessful a letter may be sent to the child's parent by first class post requesting an urgent explanation of the absence.
If such an absence is part of a pattern of non-attendance, it will be referred to the Education Welfare Officer in order for a home visit to be made.
All absences will be monitored. In the case of repeated absence or lateness a monitoring sheet will be kept by the class teacher who will show the regularity and pattern of non attendance.
(8) REFERRAL TO THE EDUCATION WELFARE OFFICER
In promoting the regular attendance of pupils, the school works closely with the Education Welfare Service.
Irregular attendance will initially be followed up by the school and discussed whenever possible with the parents with a view to resolving any difficulties being experienced. Where these steps fail to bring about a satisfactory resolution the matter will be referred to the Education Welfare Officer who will take the necessary action on a more formal level.
(9) LEAVE OF ABSENCE - HEADTEACHER'S DISCRETION
Subject to the stated policy of the Governing Body, the Headteacher has discretion to grant or refuse leave of absence and to decide which absences will be authorised.
In using this discretion the Headteacher will take into account all the known circumstances of each case, and any guidance given by the Local Authority and the Department for Education.
(10) LEAVE OF ABSENCE
It is not acceptable for pupils to be kept away from school for reasons other than sickness or to receive urgent medical treatment, except in very exceptional circumstances.
In all such cases parents must first discuss the matter with the Headteacher before making any arrangements in order to make sure that the absence can be authorised.
Where leave is requested for children in both West Rise Infant and West Rise Junior Schools, parents must first discuss the matter with the Headteacher of each school.
In the case of parents having personal business to attend to which may make it difficult for them to bring their child or collect him/her from school, alternative arrangements should if possible be made in advance so that normal school attendance will not be interrupted.
(11) HOLIDAY DURING TERM TIME - The Department for Education allows a Head Teacher the discretion to consider authorising a holiday in term time only in ‘exceptional circumstances’
It is not expected that parents will normally take their children out of school during term time.
The authorisation of leave for any reason during term time is at the discretion of the Headteacher and in accordance with Governing Body policy.
Each request will be considered on its own merits and according to the following criteria: -
- The holiday has been arranged for exceptional circumstances
- The child's pattern of attendance is not a cause for concern or affecting continuity of education.
- Only one period of such leave will be granted in any school year, to a maximum of 10 school days, irrespective of the length of leave taken. (eg, two separate weeks will not be authorised)
- At least two weeks' notice must be given on the proper form obtainable from the office, and permission must be obtained from both schools where applicable.
- The parent has consulted with both Headteachers where children attend both the Infant and the Junior schools.
*** All the above criteria must apply
- (b) Extended Leave
- Only in very exceptional circumstances will leave of more than 10 school days be granted. In such cases it will be the parents' responsibility to provide sufficient reason to show that extended leave is necessary
- (c) Other Leave.
- Any leave taken, which does not constitute an annual holiday, cannot be authorised under the above arrangements.
- For example, days taken for the purpose of shopping, birthday celebrations, hairdressing appointments, day trips abroad, or visits to the theatre, theme park or zoo etc, can not be authorised.
- The Governors recognise that occasionally a parent may need to withdraw their child from school for a very exceptional reason. In this case the matter must first be discussed with the Headteacher(s) before any absence can be authorised.
- Children's learning is carefully planned so that each day's programme builds on what has gone before. It is very important therefore that children are only absent from school when it is absolutely essential.
- For this reason, parents wishing to take their children on an 'educational trip' should do so at weekends or in school holidays.
(12) REPORTING UNAUTHORISED ABSENCES
- Under the Education (Pupil's Attendance Records) Regulations 1991, schools are required to record in their registers all pupils' authorised and unauthorised absences. This information is then submitted annually to the Department for Education, via the Local Education Authority, so that "National Pupil Absence Tables" can be published each year, to include every school.
- Parents of pupils of compulsory school age are informed at the end of each school year of the number of unauthorised absences recorded for their child; the information is shown on their child's Annual Report. This is in addition to parents being informed at the time of the absence.
(13) REGISTRATION PROCEDURES
- Registration periods are from 9.00 until 9.10am and from 1.00 until 1.05pm daily.
- Any pupils not present by the end of the registration period will be marked absent. Their subsequent arrival will be recorded with a 'Late' entry.
- In the event of severe weather when parents may experience difficulty in bringing their children to school at the normal time, the morning registration period will be extended to 30 minutes (ie. from 9.00 until 9.30am).
(14) SCHOOL ATTENDANCE REGULATIONS
- This policy is in accordance with Government Regulations, the most recent being the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 1995 which came into effect on 1st September 1995. It also takes into account the East Sussex Education Department Attendance Policy 1993.
- These documents are held in school and parents are welcome to discuss their contents with the Headteacher should they so wish.