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 by law.  Carleton Endowed CE Primary School fully recognises its responsibilities to ensure pupils are  in school and on time, therefore having access to learning for the maximum number of days  and hours. 

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.  

This policy has been written to adhere to the relevant Children Acts, Education Acts,  Regulations and Guidance from the Department for Education in addition to guidance from  the Local Authority.  

Although parents/carers have the legal responsibility for ensuring their child’s good  attendance, the Headteacher and Governors at our school work together with other  professionals and agencies to ensure that all pupils are encouraged and supported to develop  good attendance habits. Procedures in this policy are followed to ensure this happens.  

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, over their time at primary school, have missed two  whole terms of learning.  

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 98% attendance for all children, apart from those with chronic  health issues.  
  • 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.  
  • Ensure that our policy applies to Nursery and Reception aged children in order to  promote good habits at an early age.  
  • Work in partnership with pupils, parents, staff and the Education Welfare Service so  that all pupils realise their potential, unhindered by unnecessary absence. 
  • Promote a positive and welcoming atmosphere in which pupils feel safe, secure, and  valued, and encourage in pupils a sense of their own responsibility.  
  • Establish a pattern of monitoring attendance and ensure consistency in recognising  achievement and dealing with difficulties.  
  • Recognise the key role of all staff, but especially class teachers, in promoting good  attendance.  

We maintain and promote good attendance and punctuality through:  

  • Raising awareness of attendance and punctuality issues among all staff, 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.  

Definitions  

Authorised Absence 

  • An absence is classified as authorised when a child has been away from school for a  legitimate reason and the school has received notification from a parent or carer. For  example, if a child has been unwell and the parent telephones the school to explain  the absence.  
  • Only the school can make an absence authorised. Parents do not have this authority.  Consequently, not all absences supported by parents will be classified as authorised.  

Unauthorised Absence 

  • An absence is classified as unauthorised when a child is away from school without  the permission of the school.  
  • Therefore, the absence is unauthorised if a child is away from school without good  reason, even with the support of a parent.  

Procedures  

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 pupil’s attendance and punctuality 
  • To refer to the Educational Welfare Service any child whose attendance causes  concern and where parents/carers have not responded to school initiatives  to improve.  
  • To report attendance statistics to NYCC LA and the DfE where requested. 
  • All staff should be aware that they must raise any attendance or punctuality concerns  to the Headteacher who has the responsibility for monitoring attendance.  

Responsibilities  

All members of school staff have a responsibility for identifying trends in attendance and  punctuality. The following includes a more specific list of the kinds of responsibilities which  individuals might have.  

Class teacher 

Class teachers are responsible for:  

  • Keeping an overview of class and individual attendance looking particularly for either  poor overall attendance, anomalies in patterns of attendance and/ or unusual  explanations for attendance offered by children and their parents/ carers  
  • Informing the Headship Team where there are concerns and acting upon them 
  • Providing background information to support referrals  
  • Monitoring follow-up once actions have been taken to correct attendance concerns 
  • Emphasising with their class the importance of good attendance and promptness 
  • Following up absences with immediate requests for explanation which should be  noted inside the register  
  • Discussing attendance issues at consultation evenings where necessary  Headteacher 

The Headteacher is responsible for:  

  • Overall monitoring of school attendance  
  • Trends in authorised and unauthorised absence 
  • Contacting families where concerns are raised about absence including arranging  meetings to discuss attendance issues  
  • Monitoring individual attendance where concerns have been raised 
  • Making referrals to the EWO service  
  • Providing reports and background information to inform discussion with the school’s  EWO  
  • Liaising with other professionals to determine potential sources of difficulties and  reasons for absence.  

Administration Staff 

Staff in the school office are responsible for:  

  • Collating and recording registration and attendance information.  
  • Taking and recording messages from parents regarding absence  
  • Ensuring the Absence/Late Book is completed  
  • Contacting parents of absent children where no contact has been made. 
  • Recording details of children who arrive late or go home  
  • Keeping an overview of class and individual attendance looking particularly for either  poor overall attendance, anomalies in patterns of attendance and/ or unusual  explanations for attendance offered by children and their parents/ carers and  reporting concerns to the Headteacher  
  • Sending out standard letters regarding attendance  

Parents 

Parents/Carers are responsible for:  

  • Ensuring that their child attends school regularly and punctually unless  prevented from doing so by illness or attendance at a medical appointment. 
  • Contacting the school office on the first morning of absence. 
  • Informing the school in advance of any medical appointments in school time. For the  absence to be recorded as a medical absence we do require evidence from the  doctor or dentist. (Appointment card/letter)  
  • Making requests for authorised absence in term time, only if absolutely necessary as  these are not automatically authorised.  
  • Talking to the school as soon as possible about any child’s reluctance to come to  school so that problems can be quickly identified and dealt with.  

Registration  

All the school doors open at 8.35 am until 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 on SIMS and paper copy for school lunches must be completed by the class teacher after collective worship and straight after lunch. (Attendance code / and \\  for pupils who are present) These registers are then returned to the school office.  

All attendance records are documented using SIMs software, which is supported by the Local  Authority. Attendance registers are legal documents and these must be kept secure and  preserved for a period of three years after the date they were last used.  

Lateness  

Once the doors are closed at 8.50 am the only way to get into school is via the school office.  Any pupil who comes into school this way from 8.50am will be marked as late in the  attendance record. Records are kept of those pupils who are late; this is documented on the  electronic register for each pupil (Attendance code L).  

Children who have attended a dentist or doctor’s appointment and subsequently come to  school later than 9.15am will have the absence recorded as a medical absence (Attendance  code M).  

Children who are persistently late miss a significant amount of learning, often the most  important aspect, as the beginning of the day is where the teacher explains the learning and  what each child is expected to achieve.  

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.  

ABSENCES  

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 on the computer. 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. The Headteacher has the responsibility to determine whether absences are  authorised or unauthorised.  

Where we have not received reasons for a child’s absence then we send a letter requesting  these details to parents/carers to complete. If this letter is not completed and returned by the  specified date, then the absence will be recorded as an unauthorised absence (Attendance  Code O)  

First Day Contact  

Where a child is absent from school and we have not received any verbal or written  communication from the parent, then we initiate a first day contact process. Office staff check  all of the registers from 9.15am to 9.30am on a daily basis, to identify those pupils who are  absent. There are occasions when we are unaware why the child is absent and we will  contact the parent to check the reasons for the child’s absence.  

Illness  

When children have an illness that means they will be away from school long term, the school  will do all it can to send material home, so that they can keep up with their school work.  

If the absence is likely to continue for an extended period, or be a repetitive absence, the  school will contact the support services to see if arrangements can be made for the child to be  given some home tuition outside school. 

Where over the course of an academic year, a child has repeated periods of illness, the  school will write to parents to ask them to provide medical evidence for each future period of  illness related absence. This evidence could be a Doctor’s note, appointment card or copy of  a prescription. We may seek written permission from you for the school to make their own  enquiries.  

Wherever possible and unavoidable, please make medical appointments and routine checks  outside of school hours.  

Parental Request for Absence from School for Holiday  

As of September 2015, there is no facility to authorise holidays other than in the most  exceptional circumstances.  

Addressing Attendance Concerns  

The school expects attendance of at least 98%.  

It is important for children to establish good attendance habits early on in their primary school  career. It is the responsibility of the Headteacher and the governors to support good  attendance and to identify and address attendance concerns promptly. In primary school we  rely upon parents to ensure their child attends school regularly and punctually and therefore  where there are concerns regarding attendance parents are always informed of our concerns.  Initially concerns about attendance are raised with parents via letters which are sent home.  There will be opportunities for the parent/carer to discuss reasons for absence and support to  be given by the school with the aim to improve attendance. Where a child’s attendance record  does not improve over a period of time then the school has a responsibility to make a referral  to the Educational Welfare Officer.  

The Education Welfare Officers (EWO’s) will issue penalty notices to parents where there has  been a referral from the school as part of the school’s processes to address poor attendance  patterns.  

In addition, education-related parenting orders are available by direct application by a school  or LA to the Magistrates’ Court as an ancillary order following a successful prosecution by the  LA for irregular attendance or breach of a school attendance order.  

The Education Welfare Officer visits to check and monitor attendance. They carry out regular  register checks to identify children with low attendance (usually below 90%). They work with  the school to improve attendance and may issue fixed penalty fines if attendance support  meetings held by the school do not improve attendance.  

Monitoring Attendance  

Our office staff have the responsibility for ensuring that all of the attendance data is  accurately recorded on the SIMs attendance software. Regular meetings are held with the  Headteacher to discuss all attendance concerns and appropriate actions are taken following  these meetings such as letters sent to parents or meetings arranged to discuss attendance  concerns with parents. 

Written autumn 2019  

To be reviewed autumn 2021