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 and Absence
All absences need to be reported to the school office on each day that the child is off school. Absences must be reported by 9:30am. We encourage parents/carers to telephone our main school office on 01332 345997 between 8am and 9:30am. 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 or in person at the school office, parents/carers will be contacted by phone by our school's Attendance Officer. 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 Attendance Officer, Mrs Lambert.
We employ an Attendacne Officer who is based in our main school office (Mrs Lambert). Attendance is monitored daily through our school database systems, SIMS. If a child's attendance drops below 96%, the following measures are implemented:
- Letter of concern issued to parents/carers
- Class teacher made aware of attendance cause for concern
- Class teacher to monitor attendance closely
- Letter of concern issued to parents/carers
- Key Stage Lead made aware of attendance cause for concern
- Head of School to monitor attendance closely and parent meeting considered
Below 90% (red):
- Letter of concern issued to parents/carers
- Meeting held with Head of School and parents/carers
- School to make referral to the Educational Welfare Officer (EWO)
- Home visit considered
Parents may receive a Penalty Notice payable up to £60 per parent per child for an unauthorised leave of absence.
As a school, it is our aim to work closely with families so any attendance matters can be dealt with pro-actively and swiftly.
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.
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 Head of School 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 Head of School 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 Head of School is unable to authorise any holidays during term-time.
The Head of School is only allowed to grant a leave of absence in exceptional circumstances. Applications will be made in advance and the Head of School will be satisfied by the evidence which is presented, before authorising term-time leave. The Head of School will determine the amount of time a child can be away from school. Any leave of absence is at the discretion of the Head of School. 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.
Parents are permitted to take their child away from the school premises during lunchtimes. Our lunchtime hours are 12pm-1pm. Children must be picked up and dropped off promptly by their parents/carers. Parents are required to meet their child at the school office when taking them off premises. The child will be signed out and back in using the lunchtime register at the school office. The Head of School reserves the right to withdraw the permission for home dinners at any time. This may occur, for example, where there are attendance concerns or concerns over behaviour/conduct/food and self-care concerns.
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 a maximum of two days leave in an academic year for religious observances but any further days will have to be accompanied by the relevant form and will only be authorised by the Head of School. Parents are required to inform the school in advance if absences are required for days of religious observance.
At St Chad's, we want our parents and children to understand and value the importance of good attendance and punctuality. We run a number of attendance initiatives to help encourage and reward good attendance as part of our 'Attendance Matters: Every Day Counts' campaign:
We reward the class with the best weekly attendance every Friday on arrival in school.
The class with the best weekly attendance is entered into a weekly raffle. There is a ‘winning prize draw’ at the end of every half term.
The class with the best weekly attendance is awarded ‘Chad’ (the attendance bear) to proudly display in their classroom.
Certificates for personal attendance are rewarded at the end of each term: Bronze (96-97%), Silver (98-99%) and Gold (100%).
At the end of the academic year, we run a raffle for all children with 100% attendance. They receive a prize, for example a bike.