Dunham-on-Trent CofE Primary School Attendance Policy
‘Central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfill 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: Guidance DfE November 2016
Dunham-on-Trent Primary 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.
The National target for attendance is 96%.
At Dunham we are continuously working towards our goal of 100% attendance for all pupils.
To ensure that every child is safeguarded and their right to education is protected.
To ensure the school attendance target is achieved, through rewards and incentives for good attendance and punctuality.
To raise standards and ensure every child reaches their full educational potential, through a high level of school attendance and punctuality.
To ensure all the stakeholders, governors, parents, pupils and staff receive regular communication, about the importance of good attendance and punctuality.
To keep accurate, up-to-date records and have a robust and rigorous system for analysing attendance.
To identify causes of low attendance/punctuality with individuals, classes and groups of pupils and address them.
To work with external agencies, in order to address barriers to attendance and overcome them.
School Attendance and the Law
Under the 1996 Education Act, parents and carers are responsible for ensuring their children attend school regularly and punctually. Failure to do so could result in legal action being taken against them by the Local Authority.
The register is a legal document and schools must, under the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006 take a register at the start of the morning session, and again during the afternoon session. Since September 2006, schools have been required to use statutory registration codes.
Under the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006, only the school (and not parents/carers) can authorise an absence. Where the reason for a pupil’s absence cannot be established at the time the register is taken, that absence shall be recorded as unauthorised. If a reason for absence is provided by the parent/carer, the school may decide to grant leave of absence which must be recorded as authorised using the appropriate national code.
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2013 have removed all references to family holidays and leave of absence shall not be granted unless an application had been made in advance and the headteacher considers that leave of absence should be granted due to exceptional circumstances. Headteachers no longer have the discretion to authorise up to ten days of absence. This discretion has been removed by the aforementioned Regulations (2013). Whilst the headteacher will consider all requests on a case-by-case basis, parents must be aware that requests will normally be refused. Requests must be made on the School’s official 'Absence Request Form’, which is available from school by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Where a family chooses to take a holiday during term time, the absence will be coded as unauthorised (G code). If leave of absence is taken without the request having been agreed, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. Currently Nottinghamshire Local Authority does not require schools to issue a Penalty Notice and the Governing Body of Dunham-on-Trent CofE Primary School does not support the use of penalties.
In compliance with the Education Act 436A (Chapter 2 Part 6) the school will, after making appropriate checks, report all Children Missing from Education to the Local Authority, Education Welfare Service, who has a duty to investigate the whereabouts of such children and negotiate their prompt return to suitable education.
Roles Responsibilities and Procedures
It will be the responsibility of the Governors to oversee and monitor the working of the Attendance and Punctuality Policy.
It will be the responsibility of the Headteacher to:
Initiate and monitor procedures for monitoring attendance/lateness.
Ensure all unexplained absences are investigated on the day they occur, or as soon as possible after the absence.
Monitor attendance and lateness on a regular basis and report to Governors on the progress.
Keep staff and children informed of the progress of policy and practice
It will be the responsibility of the Class Teacher to:
Encourage attendance/punctuality by creating a welcoming and stimulating atmosphere.
Keep accurate daily registers and ensure that parents’ letters/messages are passed onto the Office Staff as soon as possible.
Identify any patterns of absence, and report these to the Headteacher.
Communicate to parents where there is an initial concern regarding attendance/punctuality, and where attendance/punctuality has been improved
Feedback to parents regarding attendance at parents’ evenings
School Office Staff
It is the responsibility of Office Staff to:
Follow up all unexplained absence/lateness at least before 9:30am on the day of absence.
Inform the Headteacher of unexplained absence/lateness
Enter attendance details onto the school MIS system and produce reports as necessary
Children should only be kept at home if they have a serious illness or injury. If this is the case, parents should contact the school first thing. If a child has a minor illness e.g. mild headache, stomachaches etc. parents should inform the school and bring them in. If they don’t get any better, school will contact parents straight away, to collect them. If pupils’ have a dental, clinic or hospital appointment, parents should let the school know. Pupils’ should be brought back to school after appointments. Pupils should miss as little time as possible.
It is the responsibility of Parents/Carers to:
Ensure full and punctual attendance at school when the child is fit to attend thereby instilling good attendance habits.
Comply with the School’s procedures for reporting absence/lateness
Inform the school of reasons for non-attendance before 9.30 am or 1.45 pm on the first day of absence either by letter or by telephone call
If any child is to arrive late in school, parents should contact the school office as soon as possible (again before 9.30 am or 1.45 pm as appropriate).
When the child does arrive late, the parent/carer must accompany the child to the School Office
Where a child appears to be having an unacceptable level of absence due to medical reasons, the school may request that medical evidence (such as appointment cards or prescribed medication) be provided to cover all absences. Failure on the part of the parent to provide such medical evidence, will result in absences being recorded as unauthorised.
Children are expected to attend regularly and to be on time for registration and lessons
Children are expected to arrive at school no later than 8.50am or 1.10pm. Children should not arrive at school before 8.40am (unless they are participating in Breakfast Club)
Any child arriving after 8.50 am or 1.10pm must report to the School Office with their parent/carer. This entry will be registered as a Late Arrival (or Late After the Close of Register if after 9.25am or 1.40pm) unless prior permission has been sought and approved.
Strategies for promoting/rewarding excellent attendance:
To ensure good attendance and punctuality (above 96%) is regularly promoted and supported and remains high profile across school.
To achieve high levels of attendance and punctuality (above 96%) through rewarding good attendance and punctuality.
Weekly Celebration Assemblies / Sharing attendance data
Celebration Assemblies are held every week on Friday. Classes with the highest attendance receive Attendance Cup and 5 minutes extra playtime. This develops healthy competition between year groups to improve attendance. It also engages the form teacher in conversation with their classes about attendance.
Weekly School Newsletter
Each week, the school newsletter is used to highlight the importance of good attendance. It reports on the attendance for the previous week.
School Attendance Board
The board displays the top class for attendance that week.
Staff Promoting Good Attendance
It is important that teachers are regularly promoting good attendance with their classes. Good class attendance is attributed to good teaching and this is celebrated.
At the end of each term there is a special certificate for children who have achieved attendance at 99% or 100% signed by the Head Teacher to take home and keep. Certificates are presented each term, to reward those who achieve excellent attendance.
Parent/teacher consultation evenings
This provides an opportunity for teachers to praise and recognise excellent attendance or share attendance concerns and discuss barriers to good attendance. Where necessary a target for improving attendance is set. The class teacher then monitors this. If there is no improvement in attendance/punctuality, the pupil is referred to the Headteacher.
School Attendance Letters
The school sends out letters to communicate with parents about attendance and punctuality. These include a half-termly update on a child’s attendance, a termly information sheet summarising the school policy and individual letters in response to requests for absence from education during term time.
Head teachers may now only grant leave in term time where the circumstances are exceptional, for example:
death of parent/carer or sibling of the pupil
life threatening or critical illness of parent or sibling of the pupil
parent/carer recuperation and convalescence from critical illness or surgery (leave request to be made within 6 months of recovery and medical evidence required)
If parents have exceptional circumstances, which lead to a request for leave in term time for child/ren, the leave of absence form, which can be obtained from the school office, will need to be completed. The Head Teacher will then make a decision, on whether or not the leave can be lawfully authorised and will do so only if there is an exceptional and urgent reason for a child to be absent during term time.