The governors and staff of St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School believe that every day and every lesson counts; good attendance at school is fundamental a to a child achieving their potential academically, socially, and in instilling appropriate attitudes and habits in preparation for later life and the working world. Parents have a legal duty to ensure the regular, full time attendance at school of registered pupils.
• To maintain an attendance rate of a minimum of 95%
• To ensure that parents and children are aware of the importance of regular attendance and punctuality
• To ensure that parents are aware of the possible consequences of poor attendance or punctuality
• To ensure that parents know how the ‘attendance process’ works.
• Parents will be provided with an information leaflet on the importance of attendance
• Parents will be asked to:
– ring school on the first morning of absence giving a reason for non-attendance
– send in a note explaining the reason for absence on return to school
– keep the school updated if their child has an extended period of absence
• The school will:
- follow up an unexplained absence by letter as soon as possible
- Phone on the first day of absence, the parents of a child whose attendance is low and is being tracked
- Let the parents know if it has concerns regarding their child’s attendance or punctuality
- make a referral to the Attendance Legal Team(ALP) if concerns regarding a child's attendance or punctuality continue.
Some absences are allowed by law and are known as “authorised absences”. For example: if a child is ill, has a family bereavement, or making a religious observance. The governors realise that there are rare occasions when there might be a particular problem that causes a child to be absent. Parents are asked to contact the school in these circumstances and the school shall try to deal with the situation sympathetically.
When a child is absent for reasons, which are not permitted by law, these will be marked as “unauthorised absences”. Examples of unauthorised absence are:
• Treating a child for headlice
• Going for a family day out
• Going shopping
• Because it is the child’s birthday
• Sleeping in after a late night
• Unapproved Holidays
• Where there is no explanation for the absence or where the explanation or reason for the absence is considered unsatisfactory.
It is important to be on time as the first few minutes of the school day are often
used to give out instructions or organise schoolwork for the rest of the day.
Lessons begin very quickly, usually by about 8:55 at the latest. Late arrivals are
disruptive to the whole class and often embarrassing for the child.
• Morning bell is at 8.45am. Children should be in the playground ready to line up at 8:45
• Registers close at 8:55 and a child arriving after this time will be marked as ‘late’
• Arrival after 9:15 may be marked as an unauthorised (morning) absence in line with DfE guidance.
Term Time Leave of Absence
There is no entitlement to time off in term time. Each application for leave of absence will be considered individually. The head teacher will take into account circumstances such as: the nature of the event for which leave is sought; the frequency of the request; whether or not the request could be taken during the normal school holidays; the pupils attainment, attendance and ability to catch up on missed schooling. The decision to approve / not approve will be made in accordance with LA Policy and DfE guidance:
• Leave of absence may not be granted during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
• The nature of the words ‘exceptional circumstance’ are such that they indicate unusual events or an abnormal occurrence.
• It will be extremely rare for leave of absence for a holiday in term time to be authorised.
• Cost, experiences for the child, weather or overlapping with school holidays are not factors on which a leave of absence can be approved.
• The decision to approve the leave should be made without consideration for leave taken for employment.
• Parents wishing to apply for leave of absence during term-time need to fill in an application form (available from the school office) well in advance and before booking. The head teacher will consider the request and advise of her decision.
• If a leave of absence is not approved, and the child is still taken out of school, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.
Statement from Hampshire County Council
In response to the changes in school attendance law, Hampshire County Council has reviewed its ‘Code of Conduct’. This code sets out for all schools what actions must be taken for any child with 10 or more sessions (5 days) of unauthorised absence from September 2015. We are clear in our code of conduct that where a child or family requires support to achieve attendance rates above 90%, that this is the first priority for schools. We are also clear that where parent/carers choose to ignore the law and are complicit in their child’s absence, then all schools with the Local Authority must take legal action through a penalty notice fine or prosecution in court.
From September 2015 all schools will be required to work with Hampshire
County Council to take legal action if:
• A child has unauthorised absence for 10 or more sessions.
• A child is continually late to school and this lateness is unauthorised for 10 or more sessions.
• A child has any unauthorised absence during any formal examinations, assessment or testing.
Please note each parent/carer can be issued a separate penalty notice for each child.
Further advice and guidance for parent/carers with respect to this will be available from September via the county website:
ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL
Last Review 9.3.18
Term of Review 3 Years
Next Review Spring 2021