Regular attendance at school promotes pupils’ well-being and gives them the best chance of learning and reaching their potential. Pupils should attend school every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.
Good attendance is important because pupils:
- get on better with learning and other children;
- cope better with school routines, work and friendships;
- find learning easier because they do not miss out;
- are more successful moving between primary school, secondary school, higher education and employment or training;
- are known to be safe and well by us.
Research shows a direct link between high attendance and doing well at school.
All children have the right to an education. We encourage and expect 100% attendance for all pupils. We check that pupils join video lessons and/or complete tasks during any remote learning.
- tell pupils and parents the importance of being at school;
- check that pupils are at school every day;
- follow up and check the absence of persistent non-attenders;
- aim for an attendance rate of at least 97%. Pupils who are under school age, in Nursery or Reception, are treated in the same way as all other children.
- by law, must ensure that their child attends school;
- should arrange dental and doctor’s appointments out of school hours or during school holidays, whenever possible;
- make sure that their child arrives on time between 8.45am and 9am, when classroom doors are open for ‘soft-start’ or if they arrive after 9am, sign-in at the school office;
- should contact the school on the first day their child is away from school.
Pupils should arrive and be collected from school on time:
- registration is at 9am for all children from Reception to Year 6. Pupils can go straight to their classroom from 8.45am during ‘soft-start’ until 9am;
- late arrival can cause children to feel anxious or upset;
- if a child is collected late, after 3.30pm, they join our After School Club. We may charge a fee for this childcare;
- we take the view there are no late children, only late parents/carers;
- we contact parents/carers of pupils who have patterns of lateness to talk about how to arrive and/or be collected on time.
Absence during term-time
- call the absence line, 0208 888 2780, on the first morning of all absences before 9.30am, explaining the reason for the absence;
- keep in touch by telephone, letter or email, if a child is away from school for a longer period;
- tell us about any planned absences in advance. Only request leave of absence if it is for an exceptional circumstance. Parents/Carers will need to complete a leave of absence form.
Every half-day absence must be labelled by the school as either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’:
An absence is authorised when parents tell us an allowable reason for being away from school. Allowable reasons include:
- being too unwell to come to school;
- emergency medical or dental appointments;
- religious events, when one day each year will be authorised;
- visits to another school, tests or exams;
- any other ‘exceptional circumstances’, explained below.
An absence is unauthorised when a child is away from school for reasons that are not allowed. By law, unauthorised absences are an offence and can be liable to legal action or a fixed penalty fine.
Unauthorised reasons include:
- parents keeping children off school unnecessarily,
- absences that have not been properly explained,
- travel during term-time, including family holidays, that have not been agreed,
- repeated or persistent non-specific illness, for example, ‘poorly/unwell’,
- absence of other siblings if one child is ill,
- absence because a parent is ill,
- inadequate clothing/uniform,
- confusion over school term and holiday dates,
- medical and/or dental appointments of more than half a day without very good reason,
- child’s and/or family birthdays,
- any routine family event or trip, for example, shopping.
- where the reason for absence is given as illness and occurs either side of a school holiday, medical proof will be sought. Without this proof the absence will not be authorised.
The school may instruct the Local Authority to issue a Fixed-Penalty notice for any unauthorised travel during term-time.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children are properly educated. When your child is registered at a school, parents, carers or guardians must ensure the regular and full-time attendance of their child. The Local Authority has the power to issue Fixed-Penalty Notices in respect of unauthorised absences. Penalty notices can be issued to each parent and for each child. The Penalty is £120 payable within 28 days, reducing to £60 if paid within 21 days. (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2004). If holiday absence is repeated, matters can increase and fines can be increased to both parents.
For term-time pupil absences, the Education (pupil registration) (England) (amendment) Regulations 2013, which came into force on 1 September 2013, removed all references to ‘family holidays’ and ‘extended leave’ as well as the ‘notional threshold of 10 school days’ authorised absence.
The 2013 amendments made it clear that Headteacher may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. The regulations also state that head teachers should determine the number of school days a pupil can be away from school if leave is given for ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Actions for low attendance
Not coming to school is a serious concern, however, each case is different and the school knows that there is no standard response. Consideration is given to all factors affecting attendance before deciding what intervention strategies to use.
- In every case, early intervention is needed to prevent the problem from worsening. It is essential that parents keep the school fully informed of any matters that may affect their child’s attendance.
- Prior to the engagement of the Education Welfare Officer (EWO), the school may issue letters to parents clearly defining the concerns within school regarding a pupil’s absence. It may also set up a parent meeting to discuss the pupil’s absence. It is hoped that a quick response and change in levels of absence will prevent the need for EWO involvement.
Attendance levels show our expectations and what happens next:
- 97%+, expected attendance. This will help all aspects of a child’s achievement and life in school. This will give them a good start in life and supports a positive work ethic.
- 97-91%, below expected attendance. As attendance falls, our concern increases. We follow our stepped approach to take action.
- 90% or lower, persistent absence. Absence is causing serious concern. It is highly likely to affect attainment and progress and is disruptive to the child’s learning. Meetings between home and school to share strategies for improvement will be called. If improvement is not achieved a referral is made to the (EWO). A Fixed Penalty Notice will be considered where absence is not authorised.
For all children, we have a stepped approach to taking action. It will not always be appropriate to progress through all of these steps or even to carry them out in the order listed.
- staff will use discretion and consider each case carefully;
- where there has been no contact from parents, we will initiate first day calling for all pupils;
- for pupils with attendance below 90% there will be a discussion with the Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) at our regular half termly meeting;
- we will monitor trends in pupil attendance and punctuality, including our vulnerable groups;
- we will request for parent/carer to meet school staff;
- if appropriate, will initiate procedures to access support from other agencies.
Education Welfare Officer (EWO) actions may include:
- home visits,
- multi agency meetings,
- issuing a parenting contract,
- sign posting to supportive agencies,
- issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice,
- court action for poor attendance.
Leavers and Children Missing Education
The school has a responsibility to safeguard pupils from harm. This includes knowing and taking reasonable steps to check the destinations of leavers. If your child is leaving other than at the end of Year 6, parents should:
- give the school full information about their plans including
- date of move,
- name of new school,
- new home address,
- the start date at the new school if known,
- and reasons for moving (a form is available at the school office),
- confirm the school has your current mobile phone number, let us know when you move.
When pupils leave and parents have not given us the above information, and we cannot contact the parent, then a child is considered to be a Child Missing in Education. This means that the Local Authority has a legal duty to carry out investigations to try to track and locate the child. Telling us leaving details saves unnecessary investigations.
Rewards for positive attendance
The main benefit of regular attendance is continuity and progression in learning. We promote positive attendance through:
- Individual children, certificates are awarded at the end of each school year for 100% attendance. This is celebrated in the final whole school assembly.
- Classes, weekly certificates issued for the classes with the highest attendance, also published to our website.
Summary attendance information is reported to Governing Body at least termly by the Headteacher.