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St Francis Braintree

Attendance

For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and children should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.

It is very important therefore that parents make sure that children attend regularly and this sets out how together we will achieve this.

Why regular attendance is so important

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 so may affect the learning of others in the same class.

Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is parents legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.

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 and proof of any appointment is shown in writing.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause.

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and from which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. This includes:

  • Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • Absences which have never been properly explained
  • Children who arrive at school too late repeatedly
  • Day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed.

Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and child. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give into pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse.

Persistent Absenteeism

A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 20% 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 parent’s fullest support and co-operation to tackle this. 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 in writing immediately.

Absence Procedures

If your child is absent you must, as a parent:

  • Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence
  • Send a note in on the first day they return with an explanation of the absence: you must do this even if you have already telephoned

Telephone numbers:

There are times when we need to contact parents about lots of things, including absence, so we need to have your contact numbers at all times.

Attendance Advisory Officer

Parents are expected to contact school and to work with the staff in resolving any attendance problems. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the Pupil Attendance Advisory Service from the Local Authority. They will try to resolve the situation by trying to improve the child’s attendance. If this fails and unauthorised absence continues the Advisors can issue Penalty notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court.

Lateness

School starts at 8:55. Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If your child misses the start of the day they can miss work and do not spend time with their class teacher getting vital information and news for the day. Late arriving pupils also disrupt lessons, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence.

All parents should also be aware that any child arriving late MUST register at the office for purposes of fire regulations.

Holidays in term time:

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 of your child’s education.

There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to go on holiday.

All applications for leave must be made in advance and are at the discretion of the school. In making a decision the school will consider the circumstances of each application individually. Where pupil’s attendance rate is already below 90% or as a result of taking holiday leave a request will not be authorised.

Any period of leave taken without the agreement of the school, or in excess of that agreed, will be classed as unauthorised.

Those people responsible for attendance matters in this school are:

  • Mrs V Jackson, Headteacher
  • Mr D Fannon, Deputy Headteacher

Summary:

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. All school staff are committed to working with parents and pupils as the best way to ensure a high level of attendance as possible.

 For further information please see our Attendance Policy.