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Attendance and punctuality

Attendance

We expect all of our children to attend school regularly – every day if possible.  As a parent or carer, you have a legal requirement to ensure your child attends school on a regular basis. Therefore, you hold the responsibility to promote good attendance and punctuality.   You can demonstrate your commitment to your child’s education by not allowing your child to miss school for anything other than an exceptional and unavoidable reason.

We do understand there are times when children will need to be absent from school for a number of reasons. As a result, we will only consider authorising absences in the following instances:

  • For sickness or ill health
  • For medical or dental appointments which fall during school hours (we would however encourage you to make appointments outside of school hours)
  • For religious or cultural observances
  • For a family emergency

We ask all parents and carers to follow our leave of absence procedure in order to grant authorised absence in the above cases.

You are required to contact the school as soon as possible on the first day of absence.  Any parent or carer who has not reported their child as absent will be contacted by the school by phone call, text message or email.  Failure to follow this procedure may result in the child receiving an unauthorised absence.

Research suggests that children who are absent from school may never catch up on the learning they have missed, which may ultimately affect exam and test results. When children are absent from school, they miss not only the teaching provided on the days when they are away, but are also less prepared for the lessons that follow which build on prior knowledge and teaching. As a parent/carer, you can demonstrate your commitment to your child’s education by not allowing your child to miss school for anything other than an exceptional and unavoidable reason.

Our target attendance is 96%+

Punctuality

Our school opens to pupils from 8:45am.  Doors do close promptly at 8:55am so lessons can begin.  The school day ends at 3.15pm.

PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR CHILD BY BEING ON TIME AT THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF THE SCHOOL DAY

Being on time for school promotes:

  • A settled start to the day, pupils are calm and ready to learn
  • Improved life chances
  • Building lasting relationships
  • Reaching their fullest potential
  • Instilling great life skills
Children who arrive late can also disrupt the learning of their peers.

Leave of absence during term time

What does the law say?
Regulations state that a headteacher ‘may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances’. These regulations make it clear that parents/carers do not have any right or entitlement to take a child out of school for family holidays.

How will schools deal with requests for leave of absence?
At Stannington First School we discourage parents/carers from arranging any events during term time and will as a rule, state that leave of absence will not be granted unless there are exceptional circumstances which might justify it.

In exceptional circumstances where leave of absence is granted, the pupil/student’s attainment and ability to catch up on missed schooling will be the primary consideration.

The secondary consideration will be the pupil/student’s current attendance. The headteacher will examine the child’s attendance record and should he or she have any concerns, for example should the child’s average attendance be below 96%, it is highly unlikely that any authorised absence will be given. We would remind parents/carers that in all cases where pupils/students cannot attend school it remains the responsibility of the school to authorise absence, not parents/carers.

What are “Exceptional Circumstances”?
It is the decision of the headteacher as to what might constitute exceptional circumstances. Each request for any term-time leave will be considered on an individual basis. Examples of exceptional circumstance would be:

  • Forces personnel on leave from a foreign posting
  • Evidence provided by an employer that states leave cannot be accommodated during school holidays without significant consequence

Issues parents/carers need to be aware of:
Should a school not agree to grant leave and the parents/carers take their child out of school regardless, then this will be counted as unauthorised absence. Schools are legally required to record absences that accrue as a consequence of leave of absence that has been taken without authorisation. Failure to ensure a child’s attendance at school is an offence under Section 444 of The Education Act 1996.

If the headteacher authorises the leave of absence, it is expected that the child’s attendance will be of a satisfactory level both prior to and after the date covered by the request.

If the headteacher refuses the leave of absence, and the absence is recorded as unauthorised, the headteacher may refer the matter to the local authority requesting that a penalty notice be issued. A Penalty Notice is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 28 day period the local authority may prosecute for the offence to which the notice applies. Where there is more than one child, each parent/carer may be issued with a Penalty Notice in respect of each child.

Application Process
A parent/carer requesting leave of absence during term time should make the application in writing at least two weeks in advance. A leave of absence request form is available from the school office or can be downloaded from this page on our website. The school may invite the parent/carer into school to discuss the reasons for the application and the impact the absence may have on the child’s education. The school will reply to all applications in writing stating the Headteacher’s decision.

Consequences of Poor Attendance
Good attendance at school is linked to achievement, progress and attainment academically. If your son/daughter’s attendance falls below 90% it is of great concern to us and we have to discuss the issue with our Educational Welfare Officer. We will not be able to authorise absence under this level. If the absence is due to an illness/medical issue then we will request you obtain a medical note from a GP/hospital.