At Old Clee Primary Academy, excellent attendance and punctuality is our aim for every child. Full attendance maximises learning opportunities and parents/carers have a vital role in promoting good attitudes towards attendance. This starts at the very beginning of the child’s educational journey with us in Nursery and it is vital that good pupil attendance is secured from the very start. .We ask for support from parents/carers to ensure that their children are present at every opportunity, to arrive on time and to avoid allowing children to stay at home unnecessarily, or taking them out of school without authorisation. Evidence shows that children who attend school regularly make better progress both academically and socially.
We monitor student’s attendance closely and will follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers, by telephone and/or by letter. Where a student’s attendance record reaches a concerning level, we will contact parents/carers to discuss ways in which the Academy can support them and their child.
Our Academy attendance target of 97% is the minimum that we strive to expect for all students. Every lesson counts and it is this commitment to learning that will have a positive effect on students and their futures.
Punctuality and Registration
Persistent Absence is a serious problem for students. Much of the work children miss when they are off school is never made up, leaving these students at a considerable disadvantage.
A student defined as a ‘Persistent Absentee’ is one who misses 10% or more of school.
Schools are challenged by the Government to address the problem of persistent absenteeism. The government has strengthened schools’ ability to respond by increasing Fixed Penalty Notices (fines) currently at £60 for each parent of each child if paid within 21 days and £120 for each parent of each child if paid between 21 and 28 days. The school will also work closely with the Education Welfare Services and Children’s Services to ensure children attend school and are safe. When children are not at school regularly it quite rightly rings alarms bells for us and we make no apology in pursuing parents in regard to this.
What to do if your child is ill:
If your child is too ill to attend the Academy, parents/carers should contact the Academy Office as soon as possible by telephone on 01472 691887. The telephone system allows callers to leave a message 24 hours a day.
Please give your child’s name, class, the reason for the absence, and how long you expect the absence to last. We ask that you contact us each day that your child is absent unless you have given us an indication of how long the absence will last.
It is imperative you are proactive and tell us your child is not attending school, and keep us informed. If you do not, we will ring you because, as part of our safeguarding duties, we need to make sure you have not sent your child to school and they have not arrived. We cannot assume a child is poorly because they have not arrived at school. Parents’ cooperation is vital here. We are not hassling you. We are looking after your children’s safety.
What to do if your child has an appointment:
We ask that you make routine medical and other appointments out of school time, where possible. If this is not possible, we require notification in advance. Please telephone ahead of the appointment or provide a note in the Home School Contact Book, and on pick up please bring the official appointment letter/card to confirm the appointment. Without this we may not be able to authorise the absence.
In most cases, your child should attend the Academy before the appointment and return to the Academy afterwards wherever possible.
Automated calls to parents/carers:
We take our safeguarding responsibility seriously and calls are made daily to the contact numbers of parents/carers if a student is absent, where the Academy Office has received no reason for absence. Calls are made on a daily basis, even where your child has been absent due to illness on previous days. We cannot assume that your child is still ill unless you have notified us. We would not wish to put your child at risk by failing to contact you.
NOTE: Please ensure your child realises the importance of attending registration on time and getting their present mark. Parents/carers can also help by ensuring that we hold up to date contact numbers.
Leave of Absence (including term-time holidays)
Amendments came into force in September 2013 and the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 now state that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. There is a common misconception that any child is allowed to take 10 days’ holiday per year. This is not true. The government strongly urges parents/carers to avoid taking their children out of school for family holidays as this will disrupt their education.
Absence will not be authorised for reasons such as shopping for uniform, birthdays, day trips, weekends away, shift work, parents being unable to take holidays at certain times. Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence. Parents/carers should make any request well in advance and in writing (a form is available from the Academy. Requests for absence for reasons such as compassionate leave, special family events, sporting or musical competitions, etc., should be made in the same way. Absences requested for the following year groups will not under any circumstances be authorised during the following months:-
All requests are considered individually, taking into account the circumstances of the request. Other factors will be taken into account, such as:
• the time of year the student will be absent
• the attendance record of the student
• the number of previous requests for leave of absence
• the student’s ability to catch up
Parents will be notified of the Academy’s decision either by telephone or in writing. Where a parental request has been refused, and parents continue to take their child out of school, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised. We reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This is a fine of £60 per parent for each child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent for each child if paid between 21 and 28 days. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court.
Celebrating Good Attendance
Good attendance is celebrated in weekly assemblies and classes. Half-termly awards are presented in assemblies. Whole school and class attendance is updated and publicised regularly on classroom doors and displays within the Academy. Parents will be kept updated and be given an overview of their child’s attendance at each Parents’ Evenings and in their child’s End of Year Reports.
Support for Attendance
We monitor students’ attendance and punctuality very closely. We follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers by telephone and/ or by letter. Where a student’s attendance reaches a concerning level, we will contact you by letter or telephone to discuss ways in which we can work together to support you and your child. We may invite you to a meeting in school to discuss your child’s attendance and how the Academy can support you to improve this.
Parents/carers have a legal duty to make sure their child attends school regularly. The Academy can make a referral to the local authority where parents/carers are failing in their legal duty. The local authority has the power to enforce school attendance where this becomes problematic, including the power to prosecute parents/carers who fail to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school. If found guilty parents/ carers could be fined up to £2500 and/ or imprisoned for 3 months.
Penalty notices may also be imposed and are fines of £60 for each parent for each child if paid within 21 days and £120 for each parent and for each child if paid between 12 and 28 days. They are an alternative to prosecution of parents for failing to ensure their child attends school regularly.
When all our strategies fail to engage with parents, the Academy will engage with the Local Authority to seek to impose a Fixed Penalty Notice. However, we would much prefer to work closely with parents to ensure children attend school.
Fixed Penalty Notice
We have been notified by the Local Authority that following the conclusion of the Jon Platt/Isle of Wight case, they are now resuming the issue of Fixed Penalty Notices for unauthorised holidays taken during term time. This will affect all schools in the North East Lincolnshire area.
Therefore all unauthorised holidays of 5 days or more will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice. The fine will be £60 per parent, per child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent, per pupil if paid between 21 and 28 days. If the Penalty Notice is not paid within 28 days, the Education Welfare Service will continue with prosecution.
Holiday requests will be assessed on an individual basis and careful consideration will be given to all applications but only those that are considered to be ‘exceptional circumstances’ will be authorised.
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