Attendance Matters: Every day counts
At St Chad’s, we are committed to ensuring that each of our children gets the best possible start to life. One way that we can do this is through ensuring regular school attendance. Regular attendance at school is vital if children are to make good progress and to benefit from the opportunities that school offers. Patterns of punctuality and attendance started at school often continue into adulthood and future employment. Encouraging children to have a responsible attitude towards school attendance helps prepare them for their adult lives.
For our children to achieve their full potential we encourage parents and children to understand that ‘Every day counts’. We want all of our children to have excellent attendance and arrive in school on time.
As a school we strive to achieve a goal of at least 96% attendance.
There are 190 school days in a year (52%). This leaves 175 days (42%) non-school days to spend with family, have visits, take holidays and attend appointments.
Children are expected to attend school for the full 190 days of the academic year, unless there is a good reason for absence. There are two types of absence:
1. Authorised (where the school approves pupil absence). Examples include:
An absence for sickness for which the school has granted leave.
Medical or dental appointments which unavoidably fall during school time, for which the school has granted leave.
Religious or cultural observances for which the school has granted leave.
An absence due to a family emergency
2. Unauthorised (where the school does not approve pupil absence). Examples include:
- Parents keeping children off school unnecessarily or without reason.
- Truancy before or during the school day.
- Absences which have never been properly explained.
- Arrival at school after the register has closed.
- Shopping, looking after other children or birthdays.
- Day trips and holidays in term-time which have not been agreed.
- Leaving school for no reason during the day.
Reporting an Absence
All absences need to be reported to the school office on the first day that the child is off school by 9:15am, this can be done via:
- Telephone: 01332 345997
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- In person, at the main school office
Any absences that are not reported by 9:30am will be marked as unauthorised unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If no contact is made to school via telephone, email or in person at the school office, parents/carers will be contacted by phone by our school's Attendance Officer, Mrs Lambert. If no contact is made, a home visit may be carried out to get a reason for absence.
We ask that dentist, opticians and doctors appointments are made out of school time. If this is not possible then an appointment card/confirmation letter/confirmation text message must be presented to the office with as much advance notice given as possible. In the event of illness, if we have attendance concerns, we may also require a doctor's note. If families have any questions or concerns about attendance, they can speak to our school's Attendance Officer.
Attendance is monitored daily by our school's Attendance Officer, Mrs Lambert, and through our school database systems, SIMS. The school’s Attendance Officer and members of our school's Pastoral Team work closely in partnership and will report concerns to the Extended Schools and the Education Welfare Officer (EWO), where necessary.
If a child's attendance drops below 95%, the following measures are implemented:
- Attendance at 94%: The child’s attendance is to be monitored by the Attendance Officer. The name of the child is to be shared with members of the school's Pastoral Team during the school’s weekly Welfare Meetings.
- Attendance at 93%: If a child’s attendance falls to 93%, a letter is sent home raising concerns that attendance has fallen below the school’s expected standard. The attendance is to be monitored on a weekly basis until it stabilizes.
- Attendance at 92-91%: A meeting is to be arranged in school with the Welfare Officer/Family Support Worker/NCAT/Inclusion Manager and parent/carer to discuss any issues or problems that they may need help with to improve their child’s attendance. Attendance procedures, including next steps that will be followed if attendance does not improve, will be discussed. The attendance is to be monitored on a weekly basis until it stabilizes.
- Attendance at 90%: If a child's attendance falls to 90%, a letter is sent home explaining that the pupil’s attendance is significantly below the school’s expected standard. An attendance chronology is to be open on the school’s MyConcern system. A meeting is to be arranged in school with the Headteacher and parent/carer to discuss any issues or problems that they may need help with to improve their child’s attendance. The St Chad’s Attendance Parent Agreement is to be shared and signed. If parents are unwilling to cooperate, a referral may be required to the local Education Welfare Officer (EWO), who will then conduct a home visit. The attendance is to be monitored on a weekly basis until it stabilizes.
- Attendance at 89% and below: If a child’s attendance falls to 89%, a letter is sent home explaining that the pupil’s attendance is critically below the school’s expected standard. The Attendance Officer is to make a referral to the Education Welfare Officer. Education Welfare protocol is followed, and a parental contract is drawn up.
Local councils and schools can enforce legal action to support with poor attendance, including:
- a Parenting Order
- an Education Supervision Order
- a School Attendance Order
- a fine (sometimes known as a ‘penalty notice’)
The Importance of Punctuality
Punctuality is a very important learning habit as there is a clear link between attendance/punctuality and attainment; the more time a pupil spends in school the more likely they are to improve their opportunity to fulfil their full potential.
Being frequently late for school or lessons adds up to lost learning time:
- Arriving 5 minutes late every day adds up to 3 days of lost learning each year.
- Arriving 15 minutes late ever day is the same as being absent for 2 weeks a year.
- Arriving 30 minutes later every day is the same as being absent for 19 days a year.
Being on time is a good thing:
- It gets the day off to a good start with everyone in a positive frame of mind.
- It helps your child make the most of their learning and sets positive patterns for the future.
- it helps children develop a sense of responsibility both for themselves and for others.
- It improves self-confidence.
We understand that barriers to attendance can sometimes be complex. For example, some children may find it harder than others to attend school or there could be barriers outside of school that may be impacting a parent/carer bringing their child to school. This is why we take a whole-school approach to securing good attendance, and recognise the impact that our efforts in other areas – such as the curriculum, behaviour standards, bullying, SEND support, pastoral support, and the effective use of resources such as pupil premium – can have on improving attendance. Where there are attendance concerns, parent workshops and or meetings may be delivered in school by members of our Pastoral Team e.g. support in routines, school expectations, school readiness. Outside agencies e.g. Family Visitor, Education Welfare Service may be asked to attend and support with the delivery of these session in school.
During all inductions, parents are required to provide a minimum of three emergency contact phone numbers. If a child is absent and his/her parent/carer has not notified the school, the school may consider a home visit if all three emergency contact numbers have been tried and there is no answer. All home visits must be authorised by the Headteacher or a member of the Senior Leadership team in her/his absence. In cases where there is the involvement of a Family Social Worker, the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead may inform the child’s Family Social Worker in the event of an absence of school instead of carrying out a Home Visit.
At St Chad’s, our aim is to prepare children for their future lives and careers. With this in mind, we require parents to observe the school holidays as prescribed. The Headteacher is unable to authorise any holidays during term-time.
The Headteacher is only allowed to grant a leave of absence in exceptional circumstances. Applications will be made in advance and the Headteacher will be satisfied by the evidence which is presented, before authorising term-time leave. The Headteacher will determine the amount of time a child can be away from school. Any leave of absence is at the discretion of the Headteacher. Any requests for leave during term-time will be considered on an individual basis and the pupil’s previous attendance record will be taken into account.
Requests for leave will not be granted in the following circumstances:
Immediately before and during statutory assessment periods.
When a child’s attendance record shows any unauthorised absence.
- Where a child's authorised absence record is already above 10% for any reason.
Children Missing from Education
At St Chad's, the safeguarding of our children is of paramount importance to us. Children going missing, particularly repeatedly, can be a warning sign of a range of safeguarding possibilities. If a child fails to attend on their first confirmed start date, we will undertake reasonable enquiries to establish the child’s whereabouts and consider notifying the Educational Welfare Officer at the earliest opportunity. Where a child has not returned to school for ten days after an authorised absence, or is absent from school without authorisation for twenty consecutive school days preparations can be made to remove from the admission register when the school and Educational Welfare Officer have failed, after jointly making reasonable enquiries, to establish the whereabouts of the child. This only applies if we do not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend because of sickness or unavoidable cause. We will only remove a child from our school roll once the Educational Welfare Office has confirmed that they can be removed.
School will authorise one days leave for each religious observance (up to a maximum of two days leave in an academic year) provided a leave of absence request is completed, otherwise these will be marked as unauthorised. Any further days will have to be accompanied by the relevant form and will only be authorised by the Headteacher.
Parents/carers are required to inform the school in advance if absences are required for days of religious observance.