Attendance and Punctuality Policy
Moorhouse aims for an environment which enables and encourages all members of the community to reach out for excellence. For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and your child should be at school and on time every day that the school is open. School will take appropriate action when necessary in order to promote the aims of this policy.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children attend regularly and on time. It is very important therefore that you make sure that your child attends regularly and on time and this Policy sets out how we will achieve this together.
- To maximise the attendance of all our children.
- To provide an environment which encourages regular attendance and makes attendance and punctuality a priority for everyone.
- To monitor and support children whose attendance is a cause for concern and work in partnership with parents and carers to resolve any difficulties.
- To analyse attendance data regularly to inform future policy and practise.
- To work closely with and make full use of the support from the wider community including the Education Welfare Service and multi-agency teams.
As a parent you can help us by:
- To keep your child’s absence to a minimum (Arranging dental and doctor’s appointments out of school hours or during school breaks)
- To offer a reason for any period of absence, by ringing before 9.15 on the first morning of all absences and saying when the child will return.
- To ensure that your child arrives on time, wearing school uniform, with the right equipment. A reason must be offered for any lateness.
- Bringing your child to school before and returning them after a hospital or other medical appointment.
- Keeping us updated by telephone or letter if your child has an extended period of absence due to illness.
- To work closely with Schools Pastoral Officer (Mrs Howard) and the Education Welfare Service to resolve any issues that may impede a child’s attendance.
- To support your child and recognise successes and achievements.
- To keep school updated should contact numbers and address details change.
- School shall take various measures in order to safeguard children by:
- Giving a high priority to punctuality and attendance
- To develop procedures that enable school to identify, follow up and record unauthorised absence and patterns of absence with phone calls, Home Visits and letters
- To encourage good communication between home and school
- Reminding parents of the importance of regular attendance and punctuality in newsletters, the school prospectus and the Home-School agreement
- Acknowledging and rewarding good attendance
- Publishing your child’s attendance rate on her/his annual school report
- Letting you know if we have concerns regarding your child’s attendance
- If we continue to have concerns make a referral to the School Educational Service, who support the school regularly to review and support attendance matters,
- Why Regular Attendance is so important:
Learning: - Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Any pupil’s absence disrupts teaching routines and this may affect the learning of others in the same class.
Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason is an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
Safeguarding:- Your child may be at risk of harm if they do not attend school regularly. Safeguarding the interests of each child is everyone’s responsibility. Within the context of this school, promoting the welfare and life opportunities for your child encompasses:
- Behaviour Management
- Health and Safety
- Access to the Curriculum
- Anti- bullying
- Digital safety
- Child Sexual Exploitation
Failing to attend this school on a regular basis will be considered as a safeguarding matter.
Good attendance is important because:
- Statistics show a direct link between under-achievement and poor attendance
- Regular attenders make better progress academically
- Regular attenders have better social skills and stronger friendships
- Regular attenders find school routines and school work easier to cope with
- Regular attenders find learning more satisfying
- Regular attenders have an easier transfer to secondary school
- Promoting Regular Attendance:
Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility - parents, pupils and all members of school staff.
To help us all to focus on this we will:
- Give you details on attendance in our regular Home – School Newsletter and Star Assembly
- Report to you on how your child is performing in school, what their attendance and punctuality rate is.
- Celebrate good attendance by displaying individual and class achievements on the website.
- Reward good or improving attendance through class competitions, certificates and outings/events.
- School Health drop ins with our school nurse (no appointment is necessary).
- Understanding types of absence:
Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents) as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required, preferably in writing.
Authorised Absences include:
5.1 Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, hospital appointments, emergency medical/dental appointments, religious holidays. Where possible, medical and dental appointments should be arranged during holidays or outside the school day. Where this is not possible it is expected that pupils only miss part of the day and that an appointment card or letter is brought into the office as evidence.
Unauthorised Absences include:
5.2 Unauthorised absences are those which the school and the LA does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to Rochdale LA sanctions and/or legal proceedings. This includes:
- Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
- Truancy before or during the school day
- Absences which have never been properly explained
- Children who arrive at school too late to get a mark after 9.20 a.m.
- Shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
- Parents are unwell (call us, we can help to get your child to school)
- Visiting relatives
- Day trips and holidays in term time.
- School has reason to believe the information given is false.
School supports the view that every day in school makes a difference and strongly discourages parents from taking holidays in term time.
- Term Time Holidays
Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence in term time now unless there are exceptional circumstances. There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to go on holiday.
Any holidays taken will be marked as unauthorised absence and may also result in a penalty notice being issued.
Taking holidays in term time will affect your child’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not taking children away in school time.
Remember that any savings you think you may make by taking a holiday in school time are offset by the cost to your child’s education.
- Response to Absence
If your child is absent due to illness you must:
- Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence either by telephone, email or in person.
If your child is absent we will:
- Telephone (home visit) you on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you
- Our Pastoral Officer will continue to check each morning with the parents on each subsequent day that the child is absent
- At the end of the week, if the absence reason has not been received, then the school will send Absence Letter 1 to the parents requesting a response (SEE APPENDIX)
- If there is still no response then school will issue with Absence Letter 2, which informs parents that the absence will be marked as unauthorised and the Education Welfare Service will be notified. Following intervention they can use sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Court. Penalty notices (fines, currently £60 per pupil per parent) are issued to each parent who fails to ensure their children’s regular school attendance.
- At each stage of this process. Parents are invited to discuss the situation with our Pastoral Attendance Officer or Headteacher.
- The Local Authority could also impose a parenting order.
- A Penalty notice (fines, currently £60 per pupil per parent) could be issued or 18 + absences in a 12 week period.
Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If your child misses the start of the day they will miss learning time. Pupils arriving late also disrupt lessons which can be confusing and embarrassing for the child.
How we manage lateness:
8.1 The school day starts at 8.50 a.m. the school doors open at 8.40 am, we expect your child to be in class on time.
8.2 Registers are marked by 8.55 a.m. and your child will receive a late mark if they are not in by that time. All children arriving after 8.55 am must report to the school office.
8.3 At 9.20 a.m. the registers will be closed. In accordance with the Regulations, if your child arrives after that time they will receive a mark that shows them to be on site, but this will not count as a present mark and it will mean they have an unauthorised absence. Persistent levels of unauthorised absence due to lateness may result in a penalty notice being issued.
8.4 Lateness is monitored weekly and letters are sent home to the parents informing them of the lost lesson time and disruption caused to the child and the class as a whole. If the lateness is persistent then further letters are sent, with persistent lateness resulting in a referral to the Education Welfare Service (see appendix).
- The Education Welfare Service
9.1 Moorhouse school works together with the Education Welfare Service to improve the attendance of all our children. Our target attendance for 2016-17 is 96% and whilst the majority of our children achieve this, there are a minority who do not. There are different strategies used by the Education Welfare Service to support families and raise awareness of the importance of school attendance. These range from Attendance assemblies, informal visits, penalty notices and ultimately court action.
9.2 The staff at Moorhouse school hope that any attendance issues or concerns can be resolved long before court proceedings are begun.
- Persistent Absenteeism (PA):
10.1 A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents’ fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.
10.2 We monitor all absence thoroughly. Any case that is seen to have reached the PA mark or is at risk of moving towards that mark is given priority and you will be informed of this immediately. PA pupils will be likely to be visited by The Education Welfare Service or invited to a meeting in school to discuss.
10.3 If absences are due to regular illness the school will invite our School Nurse to support and address any medical needs.
The school has a legal duty to publish its absence figures to parents and to promote attendance. Equally, parents have a duty to make sure that their children attend.
School staff are committed to working with parents and pupils to ensure a high level of attendance and that every child’s welfare and life opportunities are promoted.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure the regular and full time attendance at school of registered pupils. This policy is based on the law and on Best Practice guidance produced by the Department for Education and Skills and the Local Authority. The School Attendance Service aims to work with schools and families to promote good attendance and avoid legal action. However in some cases, parents are prosecuted (taken to court) or have to pay a Fixed Penalty (fine) if unauthorised absences continue.
We value your support in helping us to maintain high standards.