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Attendance Policy

ATTENDANCE Policy

January 2021-22

 

Policy last reviewed: September 2020

Reviewed by: Matthew Ascroft

Agreed by governors:

Shared with staff: January 2021

Frequency of review: Annually

Date of next review:

Head Teacher: Matthew Ascroft

Staff with responsibility for Attendance

The Family Team - Rebecca Fenlon, Michele Rowland

The Safeguarding Team

Matthew Ascroft

Victoria Noone (AHT)

Anke Brooker (AHT, SENDCo)

Rebecca Fenlon

Michele Rowland

 

Chair of Governors: Mr Bill Gallagher

 

INTRODUCTION

At Stoke Primary we recognise that regular attendance by pupils is one of the key factors in raising achievement.  We also consider that the prevention of unauthorised absence forms an integral part of our attendance policy to promote good behaviour and discipline. 

Stoke Primary School recognises the make up of the school community and the high level of mobility within it.  These factors have an impact on Attendance and the practise within this policy seek to support this.

 

AIMS

  • To encourage and secure good attendance in line with government targets.
  • To reduce the percentage of unauthorised absence
  • To reward good attendance.
  • To improve the monitoring of attendance at both a school and individual pupil level.
  • To ensure that attendance and absence is part of a n open dialogue with families and that absence is not a retrospective discussion

 

RATIONALE

In the school’s endeavours to improve attendance we consider that there are several important elements:

  • The effective analysis of attendance to ensure strategies and systems seeking improvement are targeted
  • Raising the profile of attendance across the whole school
  • Encouragement of parental involvement with open and honest dialogue
  • Close working relationships both internally with the Family Team and the Local Authority Attendance Officer (LAAO).

 

REGISTERS

The registers are taken electronically (SIMS) and show whether the pupil absence is authorised or unauthorised. Authorised absence is where the school has given approval for the pupil to be absent or has accepted the explanation offered as a satisfactory justification for absence. The SIMS system will show any messages that have been received which relates to an absence.

Examples of absences that may be treated as authorised

  • Illness, medical and dental appointments
  • Days of religious observance
  • Interviews for school places
  • Dual registration
  • Exclusion – a pupil with a fixed term exclusion will remain on roll as will a permanently excluded pupil until the exclusion is confirmed
  • Traveller children when travelling if a child has dual registration
  • Family bereavement

 

Lateness & late collection

The registers will remain open until 9.10am, 15 minutes after the start of the session.  Where patterns of lateness begin to emerge the school will seek to involve the Family Team at an early stage.  All children are marked as ‘L’ if they arrive after 9.10am.

Parents are reminded that lateness after the register has closed will incur an unauthorised absence mark for the whole morning or afternoon session and therefore persistent lateness could result in their being issued with a fixed penalty notice.

 

CLOSE WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH LAAO (Local Authority Attendance Officer)

Stoke Primary School values the support and challenge provided by the Local Authority Attendance team and has an SLA with the service.

The LAAO meets the Family Team weekly to discuss children whose attendance is causing concern and/or their attendance has fallen below 90%.

The LAAO will usually support Stoke by carrying out a home visit and send any reports/actions to the school. The school will undertake regular checks of the attendance records and follow up any pupils whose attendance falls below 90% and will arrange meetings with parents and produce parent contracts.

 

The LAAO may also provide the following support:

  • Intensive support for identified pupils
  • Work with parents, supporting those in difficulties over their child’s non- attendance or over a broader range of problems 
  • Support with strategies for improving attendance and punctuality e.g. Early Bird Week initiatives
  • In-service training for staff

 

INVOLVEMENT OF PARENTS:

We believe that the involvement of parents is vital in addressing issues surrounding improving attendance.  Of paramount importance is to ensure dialogue with families.  The Family Team always seek to build relationships with the families so that there can be honest and open discussion regarding attendance.

We will ensure that parents are made aware of their responsibilities with regard to attendance as per the Government guidelines – ‘that in addition to securing regular attendance they also have a responsibility to ensure that the children arrive on time, properly attired and in a condition to learn’. The school’s Home School Agreement, which parents sign, confirms this.

We will also regularly remind parents of the need to inform the school of the reason for the child’s absence as soon as possible.

We consider that in the case of absence it is a reasonable expectation that parents or carers communicate the reasons for absence, preferably on the first day, by either:

  • Telephoning the school/text message
  • Verbal message from parent or adult
  • Sending a written message with a sibling/friend
  • Contacting the school via an interpreter

 

If we have not had contact from a family on the day of absence a text message is sent seeking clarity on why a child is not at school.

If the child is likely to be absent for longer than a day, they are they are required to contact the school again on every day of absence.

If none of the above methods were possible we would require a note or verbal message stating reason for absence when the child returns to school.

Absence will be carefully monitored by the Family Team and any unexplained absence will be followed up initially with a phone call from the Family Team.  Strategies will be discussed with families to establish ways forwards.  If attendance does not improve further challenge is provided through face to face meetings with the family team, progressing to Senior leaders where required. Records are kept of all dialogue with families to ensure that actions are evaluated and discussion can be used to challenge decisions.

If families are working closely with school to secure improved absence we manage absence through authorised recording.  If a family is not engaging and seeking the necessary improvements,  the absence will be unauthorised.  Where there are particular difficulties the help of the LAAO will be sought. Additionally, medical evidence may be requested.

In cases where unacceptable reasons are given i.e. parents have condoned the absence for example to take a child shopping, we will seek to discuss these matters with the parents and if serious concerns do arrive we will enlist the support of the LAAO. The absence will be unauthorised.

 

Leave of Absence

The Stoke Primary School Governing Body follows Government guidelines on making decisions regarding absence and will not authorise an extended Leave of Absence.

All parents must complete and submit a Leave of Absence request if they are considering taking their child out of school.

Parents do not have the right to withdraw their child from school for an extended leave of absence, including holidays, during term time and if the school does not grant leave of absence and the child still does not attend then not only will the absence be recorded as unauthorised but they also may be liable to prosecution and a fixed penalty notice may be issued.

When a request is received the Family Team will contact the family to discuss the absence request.  Once further information is collated a decision can be made to confirm whether a fixed penalty notice is to be applied.

Term-time admissions

All newly admitted children in term-time will attend an admission meeting.  The importance of attendance and punctuality will be an integral discussion within this meeting.

 

RAISING THE PROFILE OF SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

The Governors believe that good attendance should be rewarded.  The school has a number of initiatives to support this   They include:

  • Weekly House Team Attendance trophy
  • Punctuality focus weeks
  • Individual termly certificates for 100%
  • Special recognition for 100% school year attendance

Targets will be set for individual pupils with poor attendance patterns or poor punctuality at the appropriate Parent’s meetings. Certificates will be awarded for improved attendance, allowing acknowledgement of their efforts and encouraging their development.

 

REMOVAL OF PUPIL’S NAMES FROM THE REGISTER

The circumstances under which registered pupils can be deleted from the admission register are set out in Regulation 9 of the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 1995.

The school will adopt the guidance and procedures in the LA “missing person” policy. This includes:

  • Complete a Children Missing from Education (CME) form under the following criteria
    • A child has missed 10 sessions (5 days) of absence where the school does not know the child’s whereabouts
    • To take the child off roll after 20 days (4 weeks) of absence

 


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