Introduction and Background
St George’s School recognises that good attendance is key to raising standards and pupil attainment and to help equip them with the necessary skills for life.
It is also important that we:
Promote children’s welfare and safeguarding;
Ensure every pupil has access to the full time education to which they are entitled;
Ensure that pupils succeed whilst at school.
For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.
Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Any pupil’s absence or late arrival disrupts teaching routines and so may affect the learning of others in the same class.
Ensuring a child’s regular attendance at school is a parental responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
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 parents details on their child’s attendance on the end of year school report
Contact parents termly via a letter should their child’s attendance fall below the school’s target for attendance (95%)
Request a meeting should a child’s attendance figures fail to improve with no explanation
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.
Authorised absences are morning or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable causes.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to sanctions and/or legal proceedings. This includes:
- Parents keeping children off school unnecessarily
- Absences which have never been properly explained
- Children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
- Holidays in term time which have not been agreed
- Shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
- Truancy before or during the school day
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 the child. If a parent thinks their child is reluctant to attend school then we will work with that family to understand the root problem.
10 days absence = 95% attendance
19 days absence = 90% attendance
29 days absence = 85% attendance
38 days absence = 80% attendance
47 days absence = 75% attendance
Attendance is expected to be 95% or above
A Persistent Absentee is one with an attendance of 90% or below – for any reason
Persistent Absenteeism (PA):
A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss a significant amount of schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level causes considerable damage to a child’s education and we need parent’s fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.
We monitor all absence and the reasons given thoroughly. Any pupil who is seen as a Persistent Absentee or is at risk of becoming so, parents will be informed immediately.
PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully. We also combine this with academic tracking where absence affects attainment.
If a child is absent the parent must contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence.
If not, we will:
- Telephone or text parents on the first day of absence if we have not heard from them by 9am;
- Invite parents to discuss the situation with the Head if absences persist;
Parents are expected to contact school at any early stage and to work with staff in resolving any problems together. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be resolved in this way, the school may refer the child to the Local Authority Early Intervention team.
Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If a 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.
Being frequently late for school also adds up to lost learning:
Arriving 5 minutes late every day adds up to over 3 days lost each year
Arriving 15 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 2 weeks a year
Arriving 30 minutes late is the same as being absent for 19 days a year
19 days lost a year through being late = 90% attendance.
Late arriving pupils disrupt lessons, can be embarrassed or anxious and this can also encourage absenteeism.
Good time keeping is a vital life skill which will help our children as they progress through their school life and out into the wider world.
How we manage lateness:
The school day starts at 8.50am.
Registers are marked and closed by 9am and children will receive a late mark if they are not in by that time.
In accordance with the Regulations, if a child arrives after that 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.
If a child has a persistent late record, parents will be asked to meet with the Head to resolve the problem, but we would encourage parents to approach us at any time if they are having problems getting their children to school on time.
It is a legal requirement to ensure a child attends school and this means to arrive on time.
Holidays or time off for events in Term Time
Please be aware that in line with the latest Government guidance, holidays and time off during term time will not normally be authorised, unless the Head teacher feels that there are exceptional and mitigating circumstances. Requests for time off need to be written.
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 as high a level of attendance as possible.