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Attendance Policy

 

 Statement of Intent

 Lincewood Primary School recognises that punctual and regular attendance is an essential precondition of social inclusion and effective learning. It notes that for a small but significant number of children poor attendance is a direct cause of their social exclusion and underachievement. It is also concerned that children who fail to attend regularly are placing themselves at greater risk of falling behind their peers and not reaching their potential. At Lincewood we believe that children should attend regularly and punctually because school is where they learn and where they are safe. 

 Types of Absence

 The parent/carer of a child of compulsory school age is required by law to ensure that the child attends the school at which he/she is registered.  Should a parent fail to ensure that his/her child attends that school then the parent is guilty of an offence.  When a child of compulsory school age is absent from school, the attendance register must indicate whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised and the appropriate register code will be used.

 Authorised Absence

Authorised absence is where the school has either given approval in advance for the child to be absent or where an explanation offered afterwards has been accepted as satisfactory justification for absence.

 Absence may generally be authorised for the following reasons:

  • illness, medical or dental appointments;
  • days of religious observance;
  • exclusion;
  • family bereavement;
  • involvement in a public performance;
  • 'exceptional' occasions (the nature of such occasions will be determined by school on an individual basis);

Unauthorised Absence

Unauthorised absence is where no explanation has been given for the child’s absence or where the explanation offered is considered by the school to be unacceptable.

Absence should not be authorised in the following circumstances:

  • no explanation is offered by the parent/carer;
  • the explanation offered is unsatisfactory (e.g. shopping, minding the house, birthday, etc);
  • family holidays (unless granted under ‘exceptional’ circumstances).

Persistent Absence

Persistent absence (or PA) is absence of 10% or more. An individual child is deemed to be a persistent absentee, therefore, if his/her attendance is less than 90% (regardless of whether or not the absences have been authorised).

 Approved Educational Activity

Children who are educated off site, dual registered, or who are engaged in supervised educational activities away from school premises, need not be marked as authorised absent, and will be recorded as on an approved educational activity. This means that for statistical purposes such as educational visits, or approved sporting activities can be counted as statistically ‘present’. The nature of the activity must, however, be recorded by use of appropriate code. This is important in order to ensure that an accurate record of those children physically present on site at any given time is instantly available. 

 Registers

 We are required by law to call attendance registers twice daily - once at the start of the morning session and again during the afternoon session. Lincewood Primary expects parents/carers to ensure that children are on the school premises by 8.55 am and at 1.45 pm if they are returning for the afternoon session. The morning register closes at 9.00am so pupils arriving after this time will be marked as late. The children are permitted to come in to school from 8.40am.

 In considering attendance levels, the register is of paramount importance. Registers are legal documents. Should the parents/carers of a persistent non-attender be prosecuted by the Local Authority under Section 444 of the 1996 Education Act, then the information which the register contains will be the main source of evidence presented to the court. The regulatory requirements placed on schools with regard to the keeping of registers are to be found in the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006.

 Regular register reviews are carried out by the Administrative Assistant and the Headteacher and where a child’s attendance has been identified as below 90% without substantive medical evidence a letter is sent to the parents and if the attendance does not improve then the parents will be asked to attend a meeting with the Headteacher. If there is still no improvement then the Headteacher will refer the case to the Education Welfare Service. The EWS will work with the school and families to address attendance issues but if attendance fails to improve, legal action may be taken against parent/carers.

 The data which is extracted from accurate and up-to-date attendance registers will be used to support the more effective management of whole-school attendance matters. Such data can be used to:

  • support and underpin the target-setting process (for individual pupils, year groups, identified cohorts, the whole school) in relation to overall attendance and unauthorised absence on a half-termly, termly and yearly basis;
  • identify individual children and particular groups of children who are or may be at risk of becoming persistent absentees;
  • facilitate and encourage early intervention;
  • identify particular types or patterns of absenteeism
  • identify possible inconsistencies in the implementation of school policy;
  • report attendance matters to parents/carers.

 First Day Response

 We apply first-day response to pupil absence. This means making a determined and sustained effort to respond to unexplained absence on the first morning of absence, usually through a telephone call. If there is no contact or no previous explanation for absence then the office staff will telephone the parents.

 Punctuality

 In addressing punctuality at  Lincewood Primary we:

  •  have clear procedures - registers close at 9.00 am and 1.50 pm;
  • publicise this policy in School and communicate it to parents/carers;
  • balance any sanctions with positive encouragement;
  • praise and acknowledge punctuality and improvements in punctuality;
  • ensure that teachers set a good example by arriving punctually for registration and for lessons;
  • follow up the reasons for lateness and be alert to any emerging patterns or problems.

 It is the responsibility of the Headteacher to monitor attendance and punctuality. The Governing Body  are kept informed on attendance figures at termly meetings in the Headteacher’s report.

 Leave of Absence

 There is no entitlement in law for any leave of absence from school in term time.

 Any applications for leave of absence must be made in advance using the ‘Leave of Absence’ form and any request can only be authorised where School accepts there are ‘exceptional circumstances’.

 Leave of absence in term-time will never be authorised if:

  • There have been 10 sessions (5 consecutive days) or more of unauthorised absence already taken in the academic year.
  • The leave was taken during an assessment/test period .
  • Attendance is below 90% at the time of the absence.
  • The leave is taken in September.
  • It is the second leave of absence taken in one academic year.

 Penalty Notices

 The law gives powers to the Local Authority and other designated bodies to issue Penalty Notices where a parent/ carer is considered able but unwilling to ensure their child’s school attendance. Reducing absences from school is a key priority nationally and locally because missing school damages a pupil’s attainment levels, disrupts school routines and the learning of others.

 Parents/carers commit an offence if a child fails to attend school and those absences are classed as unauthorised. The current law does not give any entitlement to parents to take their child out of school during term time. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment)Regulations 2013 prohibits Headteachers granting leave of absence to a pupil except where an application has been made in advance and the Headteacher considers that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application. If a parent takes a child out of school for this time the absences will not be unauthorised and the Education Welfare Service may issue a penalty notice to each parent of £60 for each child to be paid in 21 days. If the penalty is not paid within the time scale the penalty will increase to £120.If the higher penalty is not paid within 28 days, the Education Welfare Service will then institute legal proceedings against the parent(s)in the magistrate’s court under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 for failing to ensure a child attends school regularly.

Lincewood Primary School
Berry Lane, Langdon Hills,
Essex. SS16 6AZ

 

T: 01268 412888 - Jane Dyer or Adrienne Lewis

office@lincewood.essex.sch.uk

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