Our School Aims
- Successful Learners: who enjoy learning, making progress and achieve
- Responsible Citizens: who are self-assured and socially aware – who have pride in their own history and heritage and respect for that of others
- Confident Individuals: who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.
Regular and punctual school attendance is important. Pupils need to attend school regularly if they are to take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them at St. Benedict’s Infant School and have access to learning for the maximum number of days and hours. All staff are concerned for the children’s welfare and happiness and everyone plays a part in promoting regular attendance among the pupils, including the Governing Board.
Parent / carers of registered pupils have a legal duty to make sure that pupils of compulsory school age attend school on a regular and full time basis. Permitting unauthorised absence from school is an offence and parent carers may be reported to the Local Authority if problems cannot be resolved by agreement.
Our policy applies to all children registered at this school and this policy is made available to all parents/carers of pupils who are registered at our school on our school website.
Children who are persistently late or absent soon fall behind with their learning. Children who are absent from school frequently develop large gaps in their learning which will impact on their progress and their ability to meet age related learning expectations. A child whose attendance drops to 90% each year will have missed approximately 19 days of learning. Children whose attendance does fall to 90% will be identified as ‘Persistent Absentees’ and further action will be taken.
Aims and Objectives
This attendance policy ensures that all staff and governors in our school are fully aware of and clear about the actions necessary to promote good attendance.
Through this Policy we aim to:
- Improve pupils’ achievement by ensuring high levels of attendance and punctuality.
- Achieve a minimum of 95% attendance for all children.
- Create an ethos in which good attendance and punctuality are recognised as the norm and seen to be valued by the school.
- Raise awareness of parents, carers and pupils of the importance of uninterrupted attendance and punctuality at every stage of a child’s education.
- Establish a pattern of monitoring attendance
We will maintain and promote good attendance and punctuality through:
- Raising awareness of attendance and punctuality issues among all staff, Governors, parents and pupils.
- Ensuring that parents have an understanding of the responsibility placed on them for making sure their child attends regularly and punctually.
- Equipping children with the life skills needed to take responsibility for good school attendance and punctuality appropriate to the child’s age and development.
- Maintaining effective means of communication with parents, pupils, staff and governors on school attendance matters.
- Developing and implementing procedures for identifying, reporting and reviewing cases of poor attendance and persistent lateness.
- Supporting pupils who have been experiencing any difficulties at home or at school which are preventing good attendance.
- Developing and implementing procedures to follow up non-attendance at school.
Our school will undertake to follow the following procedures to support good attendance:
- To maintain appropriate registration processes.
- To maintain appropriate attendance data.
- To communicate clearly the attendance procedures and expectations to all staff, governors, parents and pupils.
- To have consistent and systematic daily records which give detail of any absence and lateness.
- To follow up absences and persistent lateness if parents/carers have not communicated with the school.
- To inform parents/carers what constitutes authorised and unauthorised absence.
- To strongly discourage unnecessary absence through holidays taken during term time. To work with parents to improve individual pupils attendance and punctuality
- To refer to the Spotlight Project any child whose attendance causes concern and where parents/carers have not responded to school initiatives to improve.
All the school doors open at 8.35 and will close 8.45 am. This time is sufficient for all pupils to come into their classroom.
Each class teacher has the responsibility for keeping an accurate record of attendance. Any pupil who is absent must be recorded at the beginning of the morning and afternoon session. The attendance register must be completed by the class teacher by 9.00 and by 1.20pm.It is a legal requirement for every class teacher to take a register at the start of every morning and afternoon session. Accurate and consistent marking of the register is vital.
Once the doors are closed at 8.45am the office will keep a record of who is late and will mark the child as late on the register. Any child who arrives for school later than 9 am will be marked as having an unauthorised absence for the morning. (Attendance code U).
Children who have attended a dentist or doctor’s appointment and subsequently come to school later than 9am will have the absence recorded as a medical absence (Attendance code M).
Where there have been persistent incidents of lateness parents/carers will receive a letter advising them of the concerns and the school will provide opportunities for parents/carers to seek support and advice to address these issues.
Parents/carers should contact the school on the first day of their child’s absence. When parents/carers notify us of their child’s absence it is important that they provide us with details of the reason for their absence.
All absences are recorded as either authorised or unauthorised absences onto the SIMS register. It is important that we receive accurate information from parents with reasons for the child’s absence. This information is used to determine whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised.
It is the duty of the school to decide whether an absence is to be authorised or unauthorised. An explanation does not authorise an absence. Only the school accepting the explanation offered authorises an absence.
The following are authorised absences:
- Unavoidable medical and dental appointments
- Religious observance
- Exceptional family circumstances such as bereavement
- Educational visits
- Transition days to alternative schools
- When permission for absence has been granted by the Head Teacher under emergency leave.
The following are unauthorised absences:
- Absences which have not been properly explained
- Parent carers keeping pupils away from school unnecessarily
- Shopping, haircuts, baby sitting
- Uniform in the wash, birthdays
- Not attending due to sick relatives
- Pupils who arrive at school too late to receive a mark after registers have closed, unless there has been a suitable telephone or written explanation from parent carer.
- We monitor the amount of lessons missed due to medical appointments carefully.
- We acknowledge that hospital and specialist clinic appointments, including orthodontic and on-going dental treatment may require a student having time out of school. Our expectation is that the minimum amount of learning is lost. We will seek an explanation from students and parents where a whole day is missed for this reason. Proof of unavoidable medical appointments in school time must be provided for the school.
- Routine, non-urgent appointments must be made after 15.15hrs and during the 12 week school holiday.
- Students are likely to experience bouts of illness from time to time. Some students will be managing chronic or more serious medical conditions that impact on their attendance. We will support students in these circumstances to ensure they do not miss out on their education.
- When a student is identified as having frequent absence for reasons of minor illness, a meeting will be arranged to discuss this with the school Nurse and the Attendance Manager.
Holiday absence in term time
- If a parent feels there are exceptional circumstances that support a request for leave of absence in term time; they must put the request in writing to the Headteacher
- Each case will be considered individually and the decision communicated to the parents. Governors have adopted a zero tolerance to absence in term time for holidays and agreed that where parents ignore the policy, cases will be referred to the Local Authority for the issuing of a Penalty Notice (fine.)
Children missing education
- We have a duty to inform the Local Authority of any student who is on the school roll, not in attendance and whose whereabouts we have not been able to establish. We do this through completing a Pupil Tracking Form. This particularly applies to students who move to another authority or country but are not yet in education.
- Parents have a right to educate their children other than at school. If a parent wishes to withdraw their child from school to pursue this option, this decision must be put in writing to the Headteacher. The school will then complete a form with the students’ details and send to the Local Authority.
Roles and Responsibilities
The 1944 Education Act placed a duty of care on those with parental responsibility to ensure that their child attends school every day that it is open and that they arrive in school on time.
The Attendance Team
The team will monitor patterns of attendance, invite parents to attendance meetings and make the necessary referrals to outside agencies as the need arises.
The school has a Pastoral Assistant who is also the attendance officer and is the first point of contact for all attendance matters; the Pastoral Assistant provides the following:
First Day Contact
Where a child is absent from school we expect a parent to contact the school by phone call or in person by 9.15am. When we have not received any verbal or written communication from the parent, then we initiate a first day contact process. The attendance officer will check all of the registers on a daily basis, to identify those pupils who are absent.
Parents are required to provide proof for their child’s absence in the form of a doctor’s appointment card, prescription or prescribed medication.
Parents of children exhibiting patterns of absence or those that drop below 90% for a term will automatically be called to attend an attendance meeting and to draw up an action plan for improvement.
Children whose attendance continues to be at or below 90% despite attending an attendance meeting will be referred to our outside support agency, Reach Support. They will draw up attendance improvement plans and will work alongside families to help support them in improving their child’s attendance.
If attendance continues to fall below required levels, parents may be referred to the LA Spotlight Attendance Project.
The Headteacher has overall responsibility for attendance and monitors attendance across the school on a regular basis. Parents of children causing concern may be referred to the Headteacher for a meeting to discuss what support can be offered to raise the child’s attendance.
If necessary, families may be referred to our Assistant Headteacher who has responsibility for Pastoral Support, including Safeguarding.
The Governing Board has a named Governor who will assist the school in promoting good attendance to maximise learning for all of our children.
Collection of children at the end of the school day
Due to the age of the pupils whom attend St Benedict’s Infant School, all children must be collected by a responsible adult over the age of 16. Any arrangements for infant children to be collected by anyone under the age of 16 must be made prior in writing to the Head Teacher. Class teachers will only hand children over to an adult who is known to them. If arrangements for a child’s collection from school change, parents must inform school by telephone of these alternative plans so that the Class Teacher and child can be informed. If a child is to be collected by someone other than those named on the contact forms then they will need to know the child’s date of birth.
If child is still awaiting collection at 2.40pm then the Class Teacher or Teaching Assistant will take them to the school office. If a child still has not been collected by 3.00pm then the school office will attempt to contact parents to arrange for their child’s collection. Parents of children who are regularly collected late will be contacted by the Head Teacher to discuss this situation. Referral may also be made to Children’s Services as appropriate.
For children whose parents cannot be contacted, or who refuse to come immediately, St Benedict’s Infant School will follow the Local Authority guidance in these matters. These are as follows.
- The school will continue to attempt to contact parents/carers until 15.30. If contact cannot be made or Parents /carers refuse to collect their child by this time Children’s Services will be contacted.
- If the child has still not been collected by 16.30 then arrangements will be made for Children’s Services to take the child to a “Place of Safety”.