Attendance Policy Dec 2016-19
Minster Church of England Primary School
Lead Person Wendy Stone
Policy Ratification Date 14th December 2016
Review Date December 2019
Minster Church of England Primary School
‘Ready to Face the World’
Our school has a warm, Christian family ethos where our children thrive in a secure and happy atmosphere. They are fully supported and nurtured from when they join us until they leave our care.
Minster Primary School is a Church of England Primary School and our Christian values are at the heart of everything we do.
These are then underpinned by our learning values.
Our whole school ethos for learning and behaviour is guided by them. Each aspect of
school life is encountered through these values to establish a forward thinking, diverse
and innovative culture in which our entire school community flourishes.
Every school policy is written with this in mind.
Statement of Intent
Minster Church of England Primary School is committed to the continuous raising of achievement of all of our pupils. Regular attendance is critical if our pupils are to be successful and benefit from the opportunities presented to them. The school will follow DFE Guidelines on attendance during term time - : www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/behaviour/attendance
One of our basic principles is to celebrate success. Good attendance is fundamental to a successful and fulfilling school experience. We actively promote 100% attendance and punctuality for all our pupils and we use a variety of weekly, termly and annual rewards to promote good attendance and punctuality.
The Governors, Headteacher and staff in partnership with parents have a duty to promote full attendance at Minster C.E.P School.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child attends school regularly and arrives on time. Full attendance is essential to the all-round development of the child and they should be allowed to take full advantage of educational opportunities available to them by law. Poor attendance undermines their education and sometimes, puts pupils at risk, encouraging anti-social behaviour.
It is the parent’s responsibility to contact the school on the first day their child is absent. This is a safeguarding issue so that all parties know that your child is safe. Parents should regularly update the school and inform them on when their child is returning.
Pupils are expected to arrive by 8:55am. All pupils that arrive late must report to the school office (with their parent/carer if present) where the reason for lateness is recorded.
The Management of Attendance
The day-to-day oversight and monitoring of attendance will be the responsibility of the office staff. They will be responsible for the maintenance of all data and the contacting of parents on the first day of absence, whenever possible.
We endorse a whole school approach to the promotion of good attendance and all staff should:
Make it clear to pupils that punctuality and good school attendance is essential.
Take care over all registrations.
Follow up absentees and reasons for absence.
Give a sympathetic welcome and support to pupils returning from a period of absence and facilitate catch up work when appropriate.
Be ready to talk to pupils (or their parents) about difficulties they are having in school and any problems they may have with attendance. Offer advice as appropriate.
- The following guidelines clarify the role of any person taking the register in class:
Mark the register at 8:55am as follows
/ present a.m.
\ present p.m.
O in red for absence
The Office staff will then infill with the correct code for late/absent and update the computer records kept on SIMs on a regular basis.
- Procedures for monitoring attendance:
The office will record and monitor reasons for absence/lateness on a daily basis. From 9.30 a.m. if a child is absent without a reason being received in the office a text/telephone call will be made to the parent/carer.
- What constitutes an authorised absence?
An authorised absence is dependent on written notification from the parent/carer as to why the child was absent and the reason given fits into one of the following categories:
Authorised leave of absence
If no explanation is received, absences will not be authorised and marked as a U code.
As a school we are expected to comply with Government expectations of good attendance (96% plus).
- Procedure for checking on whether an absence is justified.
Careful consideration needs to be given as to whether the given reason fits the categories listed above. If in any doubt, please check with the Headteacher.
- Action taken for those whose attendance gives cause for concern. SEE APPENDIX 2
If any class teacher or school office staff identifies attendance problems for any child they must ensure that Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen are aware of the situation. They will consider the reasons for absence and if there is still a level of concern will write/contact the parents/carers. They may ask them in for a meeting if it is more appropriate, depending on circumstances. If the situation continues they will advise the Headteacher who may well then ask the parents/carers to attend a meeting. If this still does not resolve the situation the Headteacher will take advice from the School Liaison Officer (SLO) and this may lead to a referral.
If the situation is considered an emergency the school is able to refer directly to the SLO without meeting with, or writing to, the parents first of all. For example, if 10 sessions of unauthorised absence occur over a short period of time a referral will be made and a penalty notice could automatically be issued.
- Registration takes place at 8:55am and 1:00pm. Registers must be returned to the office by 9:05am and 1:10pm in order to comply with Health and Safety, Fire Regulations.
Lateness is unsatisfactory conduct and may, if not discouraged, lead to absenteeism. Pupils who arrive after 8:55am should go straight to the office where reasons for their lateness will be recorded as a Code’ L’ in the register. We send a text to Parents who have not accompanied their child, to inform them of their child’s late arrival. Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen will write to the parent/carer of any pupil who is late on regular occasions without good reason and if the situation is not rectified resulting in unauthorised absences (late after registration closes), the child will be discussed with the Headteacher and SLO and may then be formally referred.
Children who have attended a dentist or doctor’s appointment and subsequently come to school later than 9.05am will have the absence recorded as a medical absence (Attendance code M).
Any child arriving after 9:10am without good reason (such as a medical appointment etc) will be classified as having an unauthorised absence (Code ‘U’) as this is when registration closes. Parents may be asked to bring evidence of medical appointments to avoid the marks showing as a Code ‘U’.
Regular and punctual attendance at school/alternative provision is both a legal requirement and essential for pupils to maximise their educational opportunities. If pupils have more than 10 U codes, the school may issue a Penalty Notice (APPENDIX 3)
Frequent lateness after the register has closed (U) will be discussed with parents and could provide grounds for prosecution or a Penalty Notice.
Penalty Notice Proceedings for Lateness – Penalty Notices are issued in accordance with Kent County Council’s Education Penalty Notices Code of Conduct effective from January 2016.
- 10 incidents of late arrival after the registers have closed during any possible 100 school sessions for a Penalty Notice Warning Letter.
- The Penalty Notice Warning Letter sets out 15 school days during which no unauthorised absence is to be recorded
- If unauthorised absence is recorded during the 15 day period, Penalty Notice(s) will be issued (one per parent per child)
- Where a Penalty Notice is not paid within 28 days of issue the Local Authority will instigate court proceedings
We expect children to be collected promptly at the end of the school day (3:10pm FS and KS1, 3:15pm KS2) or after clubs/extended school activities. If there is persistent lateness in collecting children this will also be referred to the Headteacher who may then refer to Social Services.
Application for leave of absence: APPENDIX 1
There are many reasons why Parents may request leave of absence but it should only be requested in exceptional circumstances and this should be done at least 2 weeks in advance.
In accordance with Government regulations the school will not authorise holiday requests during term time.
If a Parent needs to discuss any exceptional circumstances for an application for leave, an appointment may be made with the Headteacher.
Parents/Carers are allowed to apply to the Chair of Governors, through the Headteacher for leave of absence in exceptional circumstances. The attendance of the child in the previous 12 months will be reviewed when the Headteacher assesses the request. Leave of absence is not an automatic right. Granting leave of absence will be at the discretion of the Headteacher/Chair of Governors. They will base their decision on the exceptional reasons given, the attendance percentages of the child in question and they may ask to discuss reasons with the parents/carers. Advice from the S.L.O may also be sought.
10 unauthorised absences in a period can be referred to the SLO.
- ½ day = 1 unauthorised absence
- 1 day = 2 unauthorised absences
- Therefore 1 week = 10 unauthorised absences
If leave of absence is denied but the child does not attend school at the requested time it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and this may lead to a penalty notice being issued.
If a pupil finds school attendance a problem, the school will;
Invite parents into school to discuss any issues.
Make parents aware that if poor attendance continues, a referral will be made to the SLO.
The school has a named SLO and regular discussions will take place with the Attendance Service in respect of pupils where attendance falls below 85%, advice and intervention will be offered. Some of the possible actions could be:
- A referral being made to the Attendance Service.
- FAST system to prosecution of the parents/carers.
- Fixed Penalty Notice being issued by the L.A.
A Positive Approach to Attendance
- The school will make the SIMs monitoring system as widely available to the staff as possible.
- The Office staff will maintain a careful database of all absence, on the basis of which rewards will be offered and support systems be put in place.
- The Attendance figures for each class will be monitored on a weekly basis. The class with the highest attendance each week will get to look after ‘Attendance Ted’ as their reward. Certificates are awarded and all classes are asked to display them in prominent positions.
- We also have a positive approach to encouraging punctuality through the use of ‘Punctuality Pup’, used in the same way as Attendance Ted, giving out certificates for the most punctual class and putting them on display.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for poor attendance (for those in compulsory Education)
Leave of Absence/Holiday
From September 2013 the Department for Education have amended the Pupil Registration Regulations, removing the Head Teacher’s ability to authorise leave of absence for the purpose of a family holiday.
Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 says that parents are guilty of an offence of failing to secure regular attendance at school unless they can prove that the child was absent:
- with leave (the school has given permission)
- due to sickness or any unavoidable cause (the sickness or unavoidable cause must relate to the child, not the parent)
- religious observance
- failure by the Local Authority to provide transport
In law, these are the only acceptable reasons for a child being absent from school.
The Head Teacher may authorise absence in “exceptional circumstances” but this must be requested in advance and agreement to each request is at the discretion of the Head Teacher, acting on behalf of the Governing Body (Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006). Each case will be judged on its merits and the Head Teacher’s decision is final. Once the decision not to authorise leave is taken, it cannot be authorised retrospectively.
If the absence is not authorised and the holiday is taken anyway, the case may be referred to the PRU, Inclusion and Attendance Service who may issue a Penalty Notice to each parent for each child taken out of school.
Failure to pay the penalty in full by the end of the 28 day period will result in prosecution by the Local Authority.
From February 2005 KCC (LEA) has introduced Penalty Notices for unauthorised absence from school of at least 10 sessions in a seasonal term (2 of our current terms).
The following circumstances will be considered as appropriate reasons:
- Parentally condoned absence
- Unauthorised leave of absence in term time
- Persistent lateness after the close of registration
- Delayed return from approved leave of absence
- Being present in a public place without reasonable justification during the first 5 days of any fixed term or permanent exclusion
Penalty Notices are issued to each parent for each child who is absent without the agreement of the Head teacher. Penalty Notices carry a fine of £60 per parent per child if paid within 21 days increasing to £120 per parent per child if paid between 22-28 days. Failure to pay the penalty in full by the end of the 28 day period will result in prosecution by the Local Authority.
KCC state on receipt of the warning parents are given 15 days to ensure 100% attendance, otherwise a FPN can be issued. On receipt of the notice the penalty will be £120 to be paid within 42 days, reducing to £60 if paid within 28 days. Penalty Notices are issued to each parent of each child. Failure to pay the penalty in full by the end of the 42 day period may result in prosecution by the LA. Fixed Penalty Notices will be issued by the PRU, Inclusion and Attendance Service (PIAS)based upon information provided by the Headteacher.
Penalty Notices are issued in accordance with the PRU, Inclusion and Attendance Service code of conduct.
Children missing in education
No child may be removed from the school register without consultation between the Headteacher and the PRU, Inclusion and Attendance Service. Where a child is missing from education LA guidance should be followed by completing a Child Missing Education referral for the following circumstances:
• If the whereabouts of the child is unknown and the school have failed to locate him/her.
• The family has notified the school that they are leaving the area but no
Common Transfer Form (pupil file) has been requested by another school.
Form to request leave of absence below:
Application for leave of absence of a school child.
It is necessary for the School’s Governor’s to be informed of a child’s intended absence from school at least 2 weeks before the absence occurs. The parent or Guardian of the child is requested to complete this form, and forward it, before the proposed absence period, to the Head Teacher.
The Governing Body discourages absence from School, as it is not in the best interest of the child educationally. However, under special circumstances they are prepared to consider leave of absence.
It is important that the reasons for absence are stated below in order to help the school make a decision.
I wish my child……………………………………… class……………………………..to be absent from school from
……………………… to ………………… (inc),which is a total of ……………………….days leave.
Please give the reason you wish your child to be absent from school:
I am aware that my leave of absence request may be refused and as stated in the School’s Attendance Policy, the Attendance Service may issue me with a penalty notice.
Signature of person with Parental Responsibility:………………………………………
- name: …………………………………………….. Date:……………………………
This section to be completed by the School Office only.
Attendance percentage this year Authorised Absence taken this academic year
Unauthorised absence this academic year
Taking this into consideration * I will/will not authorize the above absence for your child.
…………………………………………………………. Headteacher Date:…………………………………….
Minster School: Procedure for pupil absence.
Action taken for those whose attendance gives cause for concern.
- If any class teacher or school office staff identifies attendance problems for any child they must ensure that Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen are aware of the situation.
- Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen to monitor attendance figures regularly and contact parents/carers if a child’s attendance if below 96%
- Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen will consider the reasons for absence and if there is still a level of concern she will telephone/write to the parents/carers.
- Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen may ask them in for a meeting if it is more appropriate, depending on circumstances
- If the situation continues they will advise the Head teacher and Deputy Head, who may well then invite the parents/carers to attend a meeting with her.
- If this still does not resolve the situation the Head teacher will take advice from the School Liaison Officer (S.L.O.) and this may lead to a referral.
Procedure for absence:
First day of absence
Office telephone parents to ascertain reason for absence.
Mark in register: I/U/M etc.
First day absence:
No response from telephone call
Office to text parent to ascertain reasons for absence
Mark in register: I/U/M etc.
Inform Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen of any concerns
(to contact parent, offer support)
Child return to school without reason for absence
Office to send standard letter re reason for absence
No response from letter
Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen to contact parents.
6 consecutive U’s in a term
Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen to contact parents offering support and explain referral to EH or PRU, Inclusion and Attendance Service and explaining possible Penalty Notice
10 consecutive U’s in a term
Hazel Elks/Caroline Newgreen to refer to PRU, Inclusion and Attendance Service for SLO or PN
Absence of Leave form:
School policy is to not authorise requests for holidays during term time. However, the Head Teacher judges each request on its own merits, taking into consideration exceptional circumstances.