Attendance and absence

This policy relects the vision and aims of St. Leonards CEP Academy by:

Encouraging staff, parents and children to maximise the learning experience in order that all children reach their full potential.

Providing clear procedures for involving parents relating to Academy attendance.

Principles

Regular and punctual attendance is of paramount importance in ensuring that all children have full access to the curriculum. Valuable learning time is lost when children are absent or late.

Children should be at the Academy, on time, every day the Academy is open, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. Permitting absence from the Academy without a good reason is an offence by the parent.

Children are sometimes reluctant to attend the Academy. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the Academy, the parents and the child. If a child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and may make things worse.

Every half-day absence has to be classified by the Academy, (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of each absence is always required, preferably in writing.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from the Academy for a reason such as genuine illness or other unavoidable cause.

Unauthorised absences are those which the Academy does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This includes:

  • parents keeping children off the Academy unnecessarily
  • truancy before or during the Academy day
  • absences which have never been properly explained
  • children who arrive at the Academy too late to get a mark

Parents are expected to contact the Academy at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the Academy may refer the child to the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) from the Local Education Authority. The EWO will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed, these Officers can use court proceedings to prosecute parents or to seek an Education Supervision Order on the child. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of £2500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.

Procedures
The Academy applies the following procedures in deciding how to deal with individual absences:

If your child is unwell/absent

Contact the Academy office with name of child/class and reason for absence.
Staff may contact you to seek further information.
Academy staff will contact you if the reason is unacceptable and will be marked as unauthorised.
The Academy must be notified daily regarding ongoing illness unless a doctor’s note is provided. These notes will be recorded on the Academy attendance system.
Should a child’s attendance drop below 90%, medical evidence will be sought for future illness.

Failing to communicate why a child is not in the Academy or to communicate the location of a child may result in the Senior Leadership Team contacting the Local Authority safeguarding team to ensure a child is well supported and having all their needs met.

If your child is late:

If a child is not in the Academy after the register closes (9.30am) with no suitable explanation, the child will be marked as unauthorised for the morning session. This will be recorded on the Academy attendence system.

Authorised Absence requests

Please collect a request form from the office and return to the Academy for review at least 4 weeks before date of absence requested. These will only be authorised for exceptional circumstances.(Holidays/weddings etc will not be authorised).
These requests will be reviewed by a member of the Senior Leadership Team and a response will be sent. All requests and responses will be kept on the pupil file.

Unauthorised Absence:

Should a child accumulate 10 unauthorised absence marks in the Academy year, a request will be made to the Local Authority to fine the parents/carers. 1 Academy day is the equivalent to 2 unauthorised sessions. When a child is marked late(after the register is closed) and unauthorised it counts as one unauthorised session.

Persistent Absence:

Should a child’s attendance fall below 90%, parents/carers will receive an initial letter to highlight Academy concerns. This will detail clear expectations on future attendance targets increasing and the offer of a meeting should the parent/carer feel the need for additional support.

Should a child’s attendance fail to rise above 90%, an Attendance Panel review will be organised between parent/carers and the Academy Leadership Team to address concerns,needs and next steps (including the possibility of a referral to the Local Authority to penalty fine.) The Academy will keep the meeting notes and agreed actions on the Academy file.

Information about individual Academy targets, projects and special initiatives.

The Academy has adopted the following attendance targets and special projects:

St. Leonard’s CEP Academy seek to deliver consistently high attendance across the Academy and would like to ensure that the children reach a minimum attendance of 97%

The Academy celebrate weekly class attendance through celebration assembly on Friday.

Attendance is communicated through the Academy newsletter.

We are able to provide Breakfast Club and After School Club to support all children. This provision can help if a parent is working or struggling to get children to a number of different settings.

We have a Parent Support Key worker who is available every day to support parents and children if there are issues that may be affecting a child’s attendance.

Academy Staff roles and responsibilities:

Mandy Ward/Michelle Edwards – Attendance Officers

Manage day to day attendance registers, update attendance registration system. Contact parents on Absence/Late reason and record.

Mandy Thomas – Office Manager

Oversee and monitor attendance data. Meet with Senior Leadership team. Liase with parents regarding future support/actions. Attend Attendance Panel Meetings.

Sarah Corrigan – Assistant Headteacher

Review attendance and ensure Academy policy and procedure is adhered to. Review with Office Manager.
Communicate concerns with parents regarding persistent absence and unauthorised absences. To attend Attendance Panel Meetings.
To make final decision on referral to penalize.
To action any potential referral regarding any children missing in education concerns.

Marie Burgess – Head of the Academy

To oversee and monitor the adherence of the Academy Attendance Policy.

Summary

The Academy has a legal duty to publish its absence figures to parents and promote attendance. Equally, parents have a duty to make sure that their children attend. Academy staff are committed to working with parents as the best way to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible.

Policy adopted 23/09/2016
(review Sep 2017)