Our attendance policy was most recently updated in Autumn 2016 and can be viewed here.
At Riverside Community Primary School we expect all children on roll to attend every day, when the school is in session, as long as they are fit and healthy enough to do so.
We do all we can to encourage the children to attend, and to put in place appropriate procedures. We believe that the most important factor in promoting good attendance is development of positive attitudes towards school.
To this end we strive to make our school a happy, secure and caring environment for all children in our care. We will also make the best provision we can for those children who, for whatever reason, are prevented from coming to school.
Under the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations l995 the governing body are responsible for making sure the school keeps an attendance register that records which pupils are present at the start of both the morning and the afternoon sessions of the school day. This register will also indicate whether an absence was authorised or unauthorised.
The aim of this policy is to minimise the amount of time lost to education including through leave taken in term-time.
- 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 guardian. For example, if a child has been unwell and the parent writes a note or 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. For example, if a parent takes a child out of school to go shopping during school hours, this will not mean it is an authorised absence.
- An absence is classified as unauthorised when a child is away from school without the permission of both the school and a parent.
- Therefore the absence is unauthorised if a child is away from school without good reason, even with the support of a parent.
The government currently classify persistent absence as below 90% attendance. Pupils whose attendance falls below this rate should be considered for referral to the Prevention Service who might either allocate a worker to help improve attendance, or in some circumstances issue a warning notice or instigate ‘fast-track’ prosecution. As we strive for all pupils to have attendance above 97%, we view all attendance certificates below 97% attendance and risk assess accordingly i.e. families may receive formal communication trying to resolve attendance difficulties in the 90-97% bracket on a case by case basis.
Riverside School marks pupils late who are not present at 9am or 1.15pm when registers are taken. Lateness is coded as such on annual print-outs.
If a child is absent
When a child is absent unexpectedly, the class teacher will record the absence in the register, and will inform the school administrator, who will endeavour to contact a parent or guardian. We would, however, encourage all families to contact school on the first day of any absence. When the child returns to school, a note should be brought from a parent or guardian to explain the absence, unless the school has already been informed. A note may be sent to the school prior to the day of absence. For example, if a child has a medical appointment.
If there is any doubt about the whereabouts of a child, the class teacher should take immediate action by notifying the school office. The school will then be in contact straight away with the parent or guardian, in order to check on the safety of the child.
Whilst we quite clearly would not want children in school we are really unwell, we all frequently work through minor sniffles and ailments and we would encourage our pupils to do so also.
Requests for leave of absence in term-time
At Riverside Community Primary School we believe that children need to be in school for all sessions, so that they can make the most progress possible. However, we do understand that there are circumstances where a parent may legitimately request leave of absence.
If a parent/guardian wishes to withdraw their child from school then a leave request form needs to be completed by the parent/guardian. The request for withdrawal has then to be authorised by the Headteacher and a signed letter will be returned to the parent/guardian. Forms are available from the school foyer or the school website.
The law says that parents do not have the right to take their child out of school for leave during term-time and that this leave can only be taken for exceptional circumstances. Leave can NEVER be granted for the reason of taking a holiday.
Parents are urged to discuss leave requests well in advance of making any arrangements. Ordinarily, parents will be invited to a 1:1 interview to discuss their application. Leave requests need to be exceptional. Where leave is not authorised and is then taken, a Penalty Notice may be issued by the Local Authority. Non-payment of this fine may result in an increased fine and ultimately a Magistrate’s Court appearance.
When children have an illness that means they will be away from school for over five days, the school, where appropriate, will do all it can to send learning materials 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, so that arrangements can be made for the child to be given some tuition outside school.
Repeated unauthorised absences
The school will contact the parent or guardian of any child who has an unauthorised absence. If a child has a repeated number of unauthorised absences, the parents or guardians will be asked to visit the school and discuss the problem. If the situation does not improve, the school will then contact the Prevention Service, who will visit the home and seek to ensure that the parents or guardians understand the seriousness of the situation and put in place measures to make improvements in attendance.
The governors, supported by the local authority, reserve the right to consider taking legal action against any parents or guardians who repeatedly fail to accept their responsibility for sending their children to school on a regular basis.
Repeated medical absences
If a child has repeated medical absences, the school may require evidence that this is being dealt with appropriately – doctor’s notes, appointment cards, prescription slips can all be acceptable proof.
Riverside School is proud of being in the top 10% of all schools nationally for attendance. The school sets attendance targets each year. These are agreed by the Headteacher and governors as part of the annual target-setting process. The targets are challenging yet realistic, and based on attendance figures achieved in previous years.
Monitoring and review
It is the responsibility of the governors to monitor overall attendance. This is done through termly reports which contain comparative statistics against previous terms. The governing body also has the responsibility for this policy, and for seeing that it is carried out. The governors will therefore examine closely the information provided to them, and seek to ensure that our attendance figures are as high as they should be.
The school will keep accurate attendance records on file for a minimum period of three years.
This policy will be reviewed by the governing body every three years, or earlier if considered necessary.
Targets as of October 2016
- To continue to ensure overall attendance is maximised and in top 10% of schools
- To ensure all groups of children track with high attendance against all children
- Target ‘persistent absentees’ from annual statistics – communicate that child is now in attendance review; produce statistical updates for these children and write to parents termly; involve Prevention Service where appropriate
- Continue to minimise leave requests despite lack of clarity with regard holidays in termtime due to recent legal cases
- Link other key staff into attendance issues – learning mentor, classroom TAs, EYFS Key Workers, etc
- Target Pupil Premium and SEND pupil groups to improve against the disproportionate impact of a very small minority of pupils across school impacting on these groups due to cohort size
Passed by Governing Body October 2013
Reviewed Autumn 2016
Due for update Autumn 2018