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Holy TrinityC of E Primary School

Living, loving and learning with God

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Late/Absence Procedures

Aims

Our school aims to meet its obligations with regards to school attendance by:

  • Promoting good attendance and reducing absence, including persistent absence
  • Ensuring every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled
  • Acting early to address patterns of absence

We will also support parents to perform their legal duty to ensure their children of compulsory school age attend regularly, and will promote and support punctuality in attending lessons.

At Holy Trinity CE Primary School our ethos is Living, Loving and Learning with God.

Living - That all pupils attend above 96% of sessions this academic year

Loving – That all children are nurtured through the school’s Christian ethos and values.

Learning - Through good attendance we raise our overall school attainment, and that children will have access to a personalised Holy Trinity Curriculum

Legislation and guidance

This policy meets the requirements of the school attendance guidance from the Department for Education (DfE), and refers to the DfE’s statutory guidance on school attendance parental responsibility measures. These documents are drawn from the following legislation setting out the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance:

This policy also refers to the DfE’s guidance on the school census, which explains the persistent absence threshold.

This policy complies with our funding agreement and articles of association.

 

School procedures

 

Attendance register

By law, all schools (except those where all pupils are boarders) are required to keep an attendance register, and all pupils must be placed on this register.

The attendance register will be taken at the start of the first session of each school day and once during the second session. It will mark whether every pupil is:

  • Present
  • Attending an approved off-site educational activity
  • Absent
  • Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

Any amendment to the attendance register will include:

  • The original entry
  • The amended entry
  • The reason for the amendment
  • The date on which the amendment was made
  • The name and position of the person who made the amendment

See appendix 1 for the DfE attendance codes.

Every entry in the attendance register will be preserved for 3 years after the date on which the entry was made.

Pupils must arrive in school by 8:50a.m. on each school day.

The register for the first session will be taken at 8:50a.m. and will be kept open by the class teacher until 9:00a.m. Following this this until 9:25 any late arrivals will be recorded by staff in the office who will record and update any changes on arrival.  In EYS and within the Lower School the register for the second session will be taken at 1:05p.m and will be kept open until 1:15pm.  In Upper School the register for the second session will be taken at 1:20p.m and will be kept open until 1:25pm An Evacuation report is run following the closure of the Registers in both the morning and afternoon.

 

Unplanned absence

Parents must notify the school on the first day of an unplanned absence – for example, if their child is unable to attend due to ill health, by 8:50a.m. or as soon as practically possible (see also section 6).

When phoning to school to inform of your child’s absence please press 1 on the menu unless you need to speak to the office staff.

 

Absence due to illness will be authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness.

If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school may ask parents to provide medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note, prescription, appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. We will not ask for medical evidence unnecessarily.

If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents will be notified of this in advance.

 

Medical or dental appointments

Missing registration for a medical or dental appointment is counted as an authorised absence; advance notice is required for authorising these absences.

However, we encourage parents to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary.

We request that an appointment card is shown at the office in advance of the appointment so the class teacher can be informed.

Applications for other types of absence in term time must also be made in advance. Information relating to whether the school can authorise such absences can be found in section 4.

 

Lateness and punctuality

A pupil who arrives late but before the register has closed will be marked as late, using the appropriate code.

A pupil who arrives after the register has closed will be marked as absent, using the appropriate code.

If your child is late a text message will be sent through Teachers2Parents Monday. If your child is late on three occasions you will receive a letter from Mr Elder (Headteacher) requesting a completed form with the reasons for the lates.

If there are further incidents of receiving a late mark you will be invited to a pre referral meeting with Mrs Adams the school Attendance Officer and Mr Elder (Headteacher) to discuss any support which can be offered.  

 

Following up absence

The school will follow up any absences to ascertain the reason, ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary, identify whether the absence is approved or not and identify the correct attendance code to use.

 

Reporting to parents

You will receive information regarding your child’s attendance and punctuality each half term in a colour coded letter. You will also receive information regarding your child’s attendance annually, in the end of year report. This will only differ if your child’s attendance falls below 93% and is cause for concern.

 

Authorised and unauthorised absence

Granting approval for term-time absence

Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence to pupils during term time unless they consider there to be 'exceptional circumstances'.

We define ‘exceptional circumstances’ as Holidays in Term Time:

 

Taking holidays in term time will affect a child’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not taking children away in school time.

There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to go on holiday.

Amendments to the 2006 regulations make clear that the Headteacher may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Headteacher should also determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.

 

Leave of absence in exceptional circumstance:

 

The Headteacher may only grant leave of absence for exceptional circumstances.

Examples of any exceptional circumstances where leave may be granted during term time are as follows:

 

  • If a parent is service personnel and is returning from a tour of duty abroad where it is evidenced the individual will not be in receipt of any leave in the near future that coincides with school holidays.
  • Where an absence from school is recommended by a health professional as part of a parent or child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue.
  • The death or terminal illness of a close relative, only if the Headteacher is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional;
  • Out of school programmes such as music, arts or sport operating at a high standard of achievement. Documentary evidence of this event will be required.
  • Religious observance – The Education Act 1996 S444(3) (c), states ‘’on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his/her parent belongs’’;
  • To attend a wedding or funeral of a close relative if the Headteacher is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional; Leave should only be authorised for this purpose when a Headteacher is satisfied that there is a persuasive reason for holding the wedding during term time and there WILL be an onus on parents to show clear evidence that this absence is absolutely an exceptional circumstance. In difficult family situations the Headteacher may use his/her discretion in granting leave and each case should be addressed on its individual merits, taking into account the overall welfare of the child.

 

Where there are exceptional and unforeseen circumstances that fall outside of the above, the Headteacher agrees to consult with the governing body prior to any authorisation being given to the parent.

Evidence would be required in each case.

 

If a request meets the above exceptional circumstances but falls within the following times, the Headteacher must be convinced that absence from school is the only option:

1) The first half term of any academic year (applies to all pupils).

2) Year six transition day (for pupils in year six).

3) Year six SATs week (for pupils in year six).

 

When considering exceptional term time leave requests, the following factors may help to reach a decision:

 

  • Time of the academic year when the leave has been requested
  • Duration of the absence – number of school days being missed
  • The child’s current attendance and punctuality rate
  • Exceptional Term time leave requested/taken in previous academic years for a similar purpose
  • Whether parent/carers have considered limiting the amount of time the child would be absent from school e.g. wrapping around school holiday
  • Have alternative care arrangements been considered by the parent/carer to limit the time away from school
  • Impact on any interventions, assessments or referrals being undertaken with the child or family e.g. family support, social care assessments, CAMHS, SEN
  • The impact that the absence will have on the child.
  • Whether it falls within any key stage national tests or exams;

 

Examples of circumstances NOT considered as exceptional

  • Holidays abroad for the purpose of visiting a sick relative, excepting where that person is seriously ill. Medical evidence may be requested.
  • Holidays taken in term time due to lower cost/parental work commitments.

 

 

The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the headteacher’s discretion.

Valid reasons for authorised absence include:

  • Illness and medical/dental appointments – as explained in sections 3.2 and 3.3
  • Religious observance – where the day is exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents belong.  If necessary, the school will seek advice from the parents’ religious body to confirm whether the day is set apart
  • Traveller pupils travelling for occupational purposes – this covers Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish Travellers, Showmen (fairground people) and Circus people, Bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and New Travellers. Absence may be authorised only when a Traveller family is known to be travelling for occupational purposes and has agreed this with the school but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision

 

At Holy Trinity Primary School we target unauthorised attendance. Letters for unauthorised sessions are sent out weekly by school with a form to complete and return.  Any child who falls below 93% is closely monitored and the parents are invited in for a meeting with the School Attendance Officer and a member of the pastoral team. After this meeting the child’s absences will have to be verified by medical evidence. If attendance continues to deteriorate a parenting contract will be drawn in which the parents have a four week period in which a target attendance is set, which they must reach. If this contract fails the parents will have legal action taken against them.

 

Legal sanctions

Schools can fine parents for the unauthorised absence of their child from school, where the child is of compulsory school age.

If issued with a penalty notice, parents must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. The payment must be made directly to the local authority.

The decision on whether or not to issue a penalty notice ultimately rests with the headteacher, following the local authority’s code of conduct for issuing penalty notices. This may take into account:

  • A number of unauthorised absences occurring within a rolling academic year
  • One-off instances of irregular attendance, such as holidays taken in term time without permission
  • Where an excluded pupil is found in a public place during school hours without a justifiable reason

If the payment has not been made after 28 days, the local authority can decide whether to prosecute the parent or withdraw the notice.

 

Strategies for promoting attendance

At Holy Trinity CE Primary School we celebrate in the weekly assembly. Rewards are given weekly and termly.

Mrs Adams is the named contact in school for supporting parents with any issues regarding attendance.

At Holy Trinity CE Primary School we promote the communication between parents and school and the effectiveness of letting us know early on about issues.

Any improvement with families we work with are acknowledged and celebrated. The children are also involved in meetings so they can express their points of view and witness the support around the family.

 

Attendance monitoring

Mr Elder and the Attendance Officer monitor pupil absence on a weekly basis.

Parents are expected to call the school in the morning if their child is going to be absent due to ill health (see section 3.2).

Parents are expected to call the school each day a child is ill.

If a pupil’s absence goes above 5 days we will contact the parents to discuss the reasons for this.

If after contacting parents a pupil’s absence continue to rise, we will consider involving an education welfare officer.

The persistent absence threshold is 10%. If a pupil's individual overall absence rate is greater than or equal to 10%, the pupil will be classified as a persistent absentee.

Pupil-level absence data is collected each term and published at national and local authority level through the DfE's school absence national statistics releases. The underlying school-level absence data is published alongside the national statistics. We compare our attendance data to the national average, and share this with governors.

Through the daily register each child’s attendance is recorded and logged on Integris.  We use this system to track the attendance of individual pupils, identify whether or not there are particular groups of children whose absences may be a cause for concern, and monitor and evaluate those children identified as being in need of intervention and support.

 

Roles and responsibilities

 

The governing board

The governing board is responsible for monitoring attendance figures for the whole school on at least a termly basis. It also holds the headteacher to account for the implementation of this policy.

The governor in charge of attendance is Mr Alan Thew.

 

The Head teacher

The headteacher is responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented consistently across the school, and for monitoring school-level absence data and reporting it to governors.

The headteacher also supports other staff in monitoring the attendance of individual pupils and issues fixed-penalty notices, where necessary.

 

The Attendance Officer

The Attendance Officer:

  • Monitors attendance data at the school and individual pupil level
  • Works closely with the pastoral team to review and discuss concerns about attendance and to tackle persistent absence including weekly meetings
  • Arranges calls and meetings with parents to discuss attendance issues
  • Advises the headteacher when to issue fixed-penalty notices

 

Class teachers

Class teachers are responsible for recording attendance on a daily basis, using the correct codes, and submitting this information to the school office.

 

Office staff

Office staff are expected to take calls from parents about absence and record it on the school system. If a child is absent and no alert has been sent to school a text will be sent home asking parent/carer to contact school as a matter of urgency.  This will be followed by contacting the other two numbers on record. The office staff will also send out letters regarding punctuality and attendance.

 

Monitoring arrangements

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Mr Elder and Mrs Adams. At every review, the policy will be shared with the governing board.

 

Links with other policies

This policy is linked to our Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.

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