We need every child to be an Attendance Hero because ATTENDANCE MATTERS!

If a child is not in school then a child is not learning and in order for children to achieve their full potential then learning is what they need to be doing. 

We understand that children can't help being poorly and sometimes they will have an illness that will mean that they need to take time off school and perhaps even visit the doctor but as parents, we are asking you to stop and think before allowing your child to stay off school. 

Sometimes, our children have colds or other mild illnesses, they may not feel like their normal self but they are probably well enough to come to school. Children have to learn that for adult life, they need resilience in order to cope. If, as adults, we regularly took time off for a cold, we wouldn't have a job!

Before letting your child stay at home, ask:

  • Are they well enough to come to school?
  • Is your child's attendance already cause for concern?
  • Would they feel better if they had some paracetamol? If so, they if you are unable to come to school to administer an additional dose during the school day, please ask the office for the appropriate forms.
  • Are they not wanting to come to school because they are worried about something, either at home or at school?

The minimum satisfactory attendance as set by the Government is 96%.

Absences soon add up, 80% attendance is the same as having 1 day off a week.

Any child with below 90% attendance, regardless of the reason for the absence is considered to be a persistent absentee. Persistent absentees are less likely to achieve their full potential and may be referred to the Education Welfare Officer.

Be on time!

When your child is late it is not only impacting on their attendance but it is also disruptive to the rest of the class when they are settled and starting their lessons. 

School drop-off starts from 8:40am and children will need to be in school by 8:50am to start their lessons. Parents must drop off their child at the gates where a member of staff will be present. Any child arriving between 8.50 and 9.00 will be marked as late and any child arriving after 9.00 will be marked down as an unauthorised absence. 

If mornings are a struggle, why not give Breakfast Club a try, open from 7:30am, breakfast and activities are included. 

If your child is not going to be in school you must let the office know by 9.00am please. If your child has a school dinner booked then this cannot be cancelled after 9.10 so if you have not let us know then you will still be charged.

Authorised and Unauthorised Absences

Every school, legally, has to register its pupils twice a day; in the morning at the start of the school day and again after lunch for the afternoon session. 

If a child is of compulsory school age and is absent from school, the register must show whether the absence was authorised or unauthorised. 

Authorised absences.

When a pupil is absent from school for a genuine reason such as illness or a family bereavement, then the school after being advised of the reason may authorise their absence. This authorisation is at the discretion of the headteacher and needs to be carefully considered. 

By law, only the Headteacher can authorise a child's absence from school and in some cases additional evidence, such a letter from your GP, may be requested, especially if their attendance is already cause for concern. 

In order for your child's absence to be authorised, you MUST inform us of their absence and the reason for it. If you do not inform us then the school will try to contact you as it is our duty to ensure that the children in our care are safe. If we are unable to contact you by telephone then you may get a home visit from a member of staff.

If we have not established the reason for your child's absence by 9.30am then the absence will be marked as Unauthorised

Unauthorised absences.

An unauthorised absence is when the Academy has not received a reason for absence or is unsatisfied with the reason given.

The law states that parents or carers must ensure that their child regularly attends school. Should you fail to ensure this then legal action may be taken against you.

It is your legal responsibility as the parent or carer to ensure that your child, when of statutory school age, accesses education appropriate to their age, needs and ability. 

Under the terms of the education related provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, each parent or carer may be issued with a penalty notice of £60 if:

  • You fail to ensure that your child attends school regularly
  • You allow your child to take leave of absence in term time without a school’s authorisation
  • You fail to return your child to school on an agreed date after a leave of absence
  • Your child persistently arrives late for school after the register is closed

Our school will only authorise a leave of absence for exceptional circumstances.

Our attendance response

In order to be consistent with our attendance response we have a set procedure to deal with absences. This includes a number of trigger points as outlined below:

 8 sessions - phone call from school to make you aware of the number of sessions your child has missed

10 sessions - email from school to highlight that your child has missed 10 sessions and another 2 will result in the first of our formal trigger points being hit

12 sessions - this is the first formal trigger point, at which you will receive a letter expressing concern about your child's attendance

14 sessions - email from school

18 sessions - phone call from school to make you aware that your child has had 18 sessions of absence and that another two will hit the second formal trigger point

20 sessions - this is the second formal trigger point, at this point you will receive a letter inviting you to provide evidence for all further absences, if this is not provided or the school doesn't believe the information to be adequate then the absences will be recorded as unauthorised

Further sessions - further absences will result in you being invited to a meeting with the Academy Head and a possible referral could be made to the EWO

 6 sessions UNAUTHORISED – letter from school to inform you that your child has 6 sessions of unauthorised absence which is something that we are concerned about

Further sessions UNAUTHORISED – further letter to invite you to a meeting about your child’s attendance

10 sessions UNAUTHORISED - referral to the EWO, possible penalty notice issued by Devon County Council - these absences DO NOT have to be holiday, they can be absences where no evidence has been submitted despite it having been requested, an absence where we are not satisfied that the reason is genuine or that the reason warranted a child not being in school or due to receiving a U mark for being late. 

Term time absence requests

Every minute of every school day is vital and pupils will only be granted authorised absence by the school in exceptional circumstances. A family holiday is not normally considered by the Government to be exceptional and therefore, no term time holidays will be authorised by the school.

Our school will only grant term time holidays or leave of absences in EXCEPTIONAL circumstances, we do not consider a family holiday exceptional. 

If a parent or carer wishes to request a period of leave of absence for their child, they are required to write to the Headteacher by completing the appropriate leave of absence form, which can be downloaded below or a copy can be obtained from the school office.

This should be done before any flights, holiday bookings or other arrangements are made.

 There is no entitlement to time off in term time. 

 A school can only grant Leave of Absence if

  • A request for leave of absence is submitted before leave is taken
  • And the Headteacher believes the reason is exceptional

If the request is denied, the school will inform the parent of the reason and the request will be noted.

Absence which is taken and not authorised could be liable for a Fixed Penalty fine. If you receive a school absence penalty notice, you have 3 options

  • Option 1: Within 21 calendar days of receipt of the penalty notice, pay £60.
  • Option 2: Between 22 and 28 calendar days after receipt of the penalty notice, pay £120.
  • Option 3: Do not pay the penalty notice. In such cases, you will be automatically summoned to appear in court for an offence under Section 444(1) Education Act 1996.

If unauthorised leave is taken on a second occasion, fixed penalty notices will be issued again at £60 per parent, per child. Again the fine will double to £120 if not paid within 21 days. 

If unauthorised leave is taken on a third occasion, no Penalty Notice will be issued and that parent will be taken straight to Court under the higher-level aggravated offence.

This means that the parent may be subject to a much more severe penalty i.e. a maximum fine of up to £2,500 or 3 months in custody or, a community order which may involve them doing a number of hours of unpaid work. 

Further information regarding School Absence Penalty Notices can be found here on the Devon County Council website.