Attendance Policy

Introduction:

Crickhowell High School is a very successful school and your child plays their part in making it so. We aim for an environment which enables and encourages all members of the community to reach out for excellence. For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and your child 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 you make sure that your child attends regularly and this Policy sets out how together we will achieve this.

Why Regular Attendance is so important:

Learning:- Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Any student’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 your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.

Safeguarding:- Your child may be at risk of harm if they do not attend school regularly. Safeguarding the interests of each child is everyone’s responsibility and within the context of this school, promoting the welfare and life opportunities for your child encompasses:-

  • Attendance
  • Behaviour Management
  • Health and Safety
  • Access to the Curriculum
  • Anti- Bullying

Failing to attend this school on a regular basis will be considered as a safeguarding matter.

Promoting Regular Attendance:

Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility – parents, students and all members of school staff.

To help us all to focus on this we will:

  • Give you details on attendance via Go4Schools reporting;
  • Report to you regularly on how your child is performing in school, what their attendance and punctuality rate is and how this relates to their attainments;
  • Celebrate good attendance by displaying individual and class achievements;
  • Reward good or improving attendance through class competitions, certificates and outings/events.

The Law relating to Attendance

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that ‘the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him / her to receive efficient full time education suitable:-

(a) to age, ability and aptitude and
(b) to any special educational needs he/ she may have Either by regular attendance at school or otherwise’

The Law relating to Safeguarding

Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities and governing bodies to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State with regard to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and students under the age of 18.

Since March 2001 there has been an aggravated offence, where a parent of a child of compulsory school age who, knowing that their child is failing to attend regularly at school, fails without reasonable justification to cause their child to attend.

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, preferably 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 for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to sanctions and/or legal proceedings.   This includes:

  • Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • truancy before or during the school day
  • absences which have never been properly explained
  • children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
  • shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
  • 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 the child.  If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending.  This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse.

Attendance & Punctuality in a nutshell

If attendance is 80%, this means your child will have missed:

  • 1 day EVERY week
  • 6 days EVERY half term
  • 12 days EVERY term
  • 36 days EVERY year
  • 180 days in five years…
    …that’s nearly ONE WHOLE SCHOOL YEAR!

1

Persistent Absenteeism (PA):

A student becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 15% 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 of this immediately.

PA students are tracked and monitored carefully through our pastoral system and we also combine this with academic mentoring where absence affects attainment.

Absence Procedures:

If your child is absent you must:

  • Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence. If you need to report your child as absent, then please let us know by 8:40 each morning by ringing 01873 813500 and following the instructions to ensure that your message reaches the appropriate destination. Please indicate clearly your child’s name, year group, form and the reason for absence. The absence line will close at 8:40 and will then reopen at 4pm. This allows us to properly record all absences and notify parents of any students who are not in school and for whom we have not received an absence notification from parents. The use of a specific attendance message line frees our office team to deal with the urgent business of the day.
  • 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 us;
  • Or, you can call into school and report to reception, who will arrange for a member of staff to speak with you.

If your child is absent we will:

  • Telephone or text you on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you;
  • Invite you in to discuss the situation with our Attendance Officer and/or Pastoral Leaders, Assistant Headteacher if absences persist;
  • Refer the matter to the Powys County Council Attendance Officer if attendance moves below 85%.

Attendance/Signing Out:

  • All students MUST stay in school at Breaktimes
  • If your child needs to leave school to attend a medical appointment please write a note in their planner and they must sign out at the General Office (and ‘sign in’ on return)
  • Wherever possible routine appointments like a dental check-up should not be scheduled for school time.
  • To ensure safety, it is expected that a responsible adult will collect your child from the General Office before they depart for their appointment. If this is not you as the parent, please let the school know who you have given permission to collect your child.

Years 7 – 10

  • Your child cannot go offsite at lunchtime – unless you have arranged with the school for them to go home for lunch on a regular basis.

Years 11 – 13

  • Students in Years 11, 12 & 13 may go off site for lunch but must remember that this privilege is conditional upon continued good behaviour.

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. So help us to help you and your child by making sure we always have an up to date number – if we don’t then something important may be missed. There will be regular checks on telephone numbers throughout the year.

The School Attendance Officer:

Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together.  This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the School Attendance Officer from Powys County Council.  He/she will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed and unauthorized absences persist, these Officers can use sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court. Full details of the options open to enforce attendance at school are available from http://wales.gov.uk/docs

Lateness:

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 students also disrupt lessons, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence. LATENESS ADDS UP!

Being 15 minutes late every day will add up to TWO WEEKS of school missed every year

How we manage Lateness:

The school day starts at 8:40 am and we expect your child to be in class at that time.

Registers are marked by 8:55 am and your child will receive a late mark if they are not in by that time.

At 9.30am the registers will be closed.  In accordance with the Regulations, if your child arrives after that time 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. This may mean that you could face the possibility of a Penalty Notice if the problem persists.

If your child has a persistent late record you will be asked to meet with the Assistant Headteacher and/or Attendance Officer to resolve the problem, but you can approach us at any time if you are having problems getting your child to school on time.

Holidays in Term Time:

We are not authorised to support any application to take time off in school time to go on holiday.

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 to take 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 to your child’s education.
We will not agree to any period of leave taken in school term time and all absence of this type will be classed as unauthorised and may attract sanctions such as a detailed in the Welsh Government All Wales Attendance Framework http://wales.gov.uk/docs.

The school has targets to improve attendance and your child has an important part to play in meeting these targets.

The preferred level of attendance for this school is 95 % + attendance and we will keep you updated regularly about progress to this level and how your child’s attendance compares.

Our target is to achieve better than this however because we know that good attendance is the key to successful schooling and we believe our students are amongst the best in the Principality.

Through the school year we monitor absences and punctuality to show us where improvements need to be made.

  • Mrs Carole Phillips – Attendance Officer/ School Support Officer
  • Mr Nick Brown – Systems Manager
  • Miss Claire Jones – Progress Manager Year 7
  • Miss Georgia Sparrow – Progress Manager Year 8
  • Mrs Claire Harris – Progress Manager Year 9
  • Mr Rhys Jeremiah – Progress Manager Year 10
  • Mrs Katie Jones – Progress Manager Year 11
  • Mrs K Thomas – Director of Sixth Form
  • Mrs Nicola Thomas – Assistant Headteacher (Wellbeing and ALN)
  • Mrs Jackie Parker – 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 students as the best way to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible and that every child’s welfare and life opportunities are promoted.

Date of Policy/Review:   20th July 2014

I have read and understood the terms and conditions of the attendance policy at Crickhowell High School.