St Peter’s C.E. Primary School
All children of compulsory school age should receive suitable education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. If a child is registered at school, parents [including those with parental responsibilities] have a duty under the Education act 2005 to ensure that their child attends regularly and punctually. The LA has a duty to provide education and to inspect school registers. The LA also has a duty to enforce the requirement that parents register their child on a school roll or provide suitable education otherwise than at school.
Aims and Targets
St Peter’s C. E. School aims to promote regular, punctual attendance at school for all pupils. We do this through:
- The implementation of a Whole School Attendance Policy
- A Whole School Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy which is reviewed regularly and involves input from staff, children, parents and governors
- Making contact with parents on the first day of a child’s absence
- Reminding parents of attendance and non-attendance procedures on a regular basis in newsletters and parents evenings,
- Informing parents of attendance initiatives [as above]
- Conducting regular attendance reviews with the school secretary and monitoring children with less than 90% attendance
- Introducing reward and incentive initiatives [certificates for 100% attendance]
- By ensuring that school governors are aware of all attendance matters.
Rights and Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of everyone in the school community to improve attendance [see first paragraph, Legal Framework.] The school must keep an admissions register and an attendance register. The attendance register must be taken twice a day, once at the start of the morning session and once at the start of the afternoon session. Every child should receive a mark in the register which indicates either they are present or absent. No blanks should be left. A list of symbols which indicate various causes for absence are found in the front of each class register. Only the school can authorise absence.
- Unavoidable medical or dental appointments. If these are excessive then proof of a doctor’s certificate may be required.
- Days of religious observance
- Exceptional family circumstances
- Approved sporting activity
- Exclusion [fixed period]
- Frequent absences attributed to minor ailments but not supported by medical evidence
- Shopping during school hours
- Day trips Holidays not agreed by the school.
The parent or carer is not able to authorise absence and the school can refuse to accept their reasons for absence. If parents or carers fail to provide a reason for absence within two weeks then the absence will be coded as unauthorised.
The admissions register is kept both electronically and in paper form in the office. Parents inform school of any changes in address, telephone number, childcare etc on a regular basis so that records are kept up to date. Reminders to do this are sent out and every year a new data collection sheet is sent out to all parents to update information.
- The school is open for children to come into the building at 8.50am. If children come into the playground before this time a parent or carer should accompany them until the doors are opened.
- School begins at 9.00. The register is taken by the class teacher. If a child is absent the appropriate symbol, which teachers can find in the front of the register, should be marked beside the child’s name.
- The class register should also be taken in the same way when afternoon school begins at 1.00pm.
- Registers will be kept open for no longer than 30 minutes. If a child is 30 minutes late and no phone call or message has been received to explain why, the teacher must tell the Secretary who will ring the parents/carers.
- If a parent rings in to say that a child will be absent, it is recorded electronically and the class teacher is immediately informed.
- Should a teacher have concerns about a child in their class the head teacher should be informed and he/she will ring the child’s parents/carers or whichever agency is appropriate.
- Where lateness is identified as a problem the Head teacher will see parents to discuss ways of ensuring punctuality. If a meeting is not possible a letter will be sent to parents/carers
- If the above procedures have produced no improvement the school will contact the Attendance Improvement Officer.
School’s Response to Absence
The school will always investigate absence. If absence persists the Headteacher will arrange a meeting with parents/carers to try to solve the problem. Every case is different. The headteacher will take account of family circumstances and the pattern of absence and may suggest monitoring progress for 2 to 4 weeks. If this is not successful an action plan may be drawn up. If this does not succeed either, the school will contact the Attendance Improvement Officer.
Holiday in Term Time
In line with Government guidelines, Headteachers are not able to grant any leave of absence during term time, unless there are exceptional circumstances. A family holiday during term time does not fall under the category of ‘exceptional circumstances’. In the event of parents ignoring this, a formal warning letter will be issued stating that Leicestershire County Council will be advised of the matter and will be requested to issue Penalty Notices in line with their policy. The parent(s) of any child who has absences recorded as a result of an unauthorised family holiday will each be fined £60 which must be paid within a 21 day period. Failure to pay the fine(s) within this timescale, will result in the fines being doubled to £120 which will need to be paid within 28 days of the original fine being issued. If the fine(s) remain unpaid after the full period of 28 days has expired, parents may face legal action under section 444 of the Education Act 1996. If found guilty of an offence under this Act, parents will receive a criminal record and could be fined up to £1000. All monies received from Penalty fines are received by Leicestershire County Council and do not benefit the school.
Reminders are sent regularly asking parents not to take children out of school in term time and stating that it is not the school’s policy for teachers to give work for children to do while they are on holiday.
If a child seems to have disappeared from the area without explanation these children must not be removed from the register without referral to the Attendance Improvement Officer. The school will also place the child’s name on the National Lost Pupils’ Database which is a repository for the Common Transfer File.
If the school has concerns regarding the pupil then the Headteacher, who is the designated Child Protection Officer, will alert Social Services if appropriate. If the school believes a crime may have been committed the Headteacher will contact the police directly.
Strategies for Promoting Good Attendance and Punctuality
St Peter’s C.E. Primary School adopts a positive and proactive role towards good attendance and punctuality in line with the Behaviour Policy, Anti Bullying Policy and Special Needs Policy.
- All school staff set a good example by always being punctual. Children who have had 100% over a term are rewarded with a certificate in Friday’s Assembly.
- Parents are always contacted on the first day of pupil absence if they have not already contacted the school
- If appropriate individual targets for attendance are set with pupils and their parents/carers.
Monitor Review and Feedback
The effectiveness of the school’s strategies is monitored every term. The Headteacher and secretary look at printouts from the attendance records to see if any child has less than 90% attendance. These children are then monitored closely and parents are contacted if there are concerns.
If a child is absent and no reason has been given by 9.30 am the Secretary is informed by the class teacher and the parents are contacted.
An attendance target is set in the autumn term and governors are informed of this target in the Headteacher’s Report at the Governors Meeting. If the Headteacher and governors feel that this target is not going to be met, more strategies will be put in place to promote better attendance.