Whole School Attendance Policy
At Sacred Heart RC Primary and Nursery School we recognise that attending school regularly has a positive impact on learning, progress and therefore the best life chances for children. We will encourage good attendance for all pupils, by offering an environment in which pupils feel valued and part of the school community.
Department for Education (DfE) guidance states that all schools should have effective systems and procedures for encouraging regular school attendance and investigating the underlying causes of poor attendance which should be set out in an attendance policy. These systems should be reviewed regularly and modified where necessary to reflect the circumstances of the school.
Ensuring your child's regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
Promote a culture across the school which identifies the importance of regular and punctual attendance.
Make attendance and punctuality a priority for all those associated with the school; including pupils, parents, teachers and governors.
Further develop positive and consistent communication between home and school.
Set targets to improve individual and whole school attendance levels.
Rights, Roles and Responsibilities
We will develop a procedural framework which defines agreed roles and responsibilities for
Parents and carers
to complement this policy, and identify how we will deliver our aims in respect of regular and punctual attendance.
This procedural framework will include guidance on
What constitutes unauthorised absence
Leave of absence
Systems for monitoring attendance and punctuality for individual pupils
Systems for dealing with absence
Criteria and systems for referral to and working with the Pupil Attendance Support Team and School Attendance Consultant
Systems for monitoring whole school attendance and action planning
Appropriate alternative curricular arrangements
Leave of Absence
Following the September 2016 amendment to The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, schools cannot authorise any leave other than in exceptional circumstances. In Sacred Heart RC Primary and Nursery School the head teacher is the person authorised by the 'proprietor' i.e. the governing body, to make this decision. If the leave is being requested for a holiday, approval should be obtained prior to making any bookings.
Leave of absence SHALL NOT be granted unless:
the head teacher considers that leave of absence should be granted due to the EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES relating to the request.
Additional information regarding leave of absence is included with the procedural framework.
The school will authorise one day of absence per religious festival, e.g. Eid, (i.e. the day set aside by the religious body of which the parent is a member) and this will be marked as 'R' in the register.
Parents must request any additional leave in advance and this can only be authorised if it is felt that EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES apply (this would be marked in the register as 'C').
Use of Penalty Notices
In accordance with the current code of conduct, Sacred Heart RC Primary and Nursery School will request that the local authority issue penalty notices in respect of unauthorised absence. This includes leave of absence which is taken without a prior request being made; and leave taken after a prior request has been made and parents have been informed that the period of absence would be classed as unauthorised but the leave is taken regardless of this advice. Sacred Heart RC Primary and Nursery School will also request that the local authority issue a penalty notice for days taken in excess of the agreed period of leave; without good reason. Parents also risk losing their child's school place if they do not return from leave, as agreed, and readmission cannot be guaranteed.
Sacred Heart RC Primary and Nursery School will work with the Pupil Attendance Support Team, the School Attendance Consultant and other support agencies as appropriate to ensure regular attendance at school. The criteria for referral and areas of responsibility for staff will be set out in the procedural framework.
Monitoring, Analysis, Action Planning
Sacred Heart RC Primary and Nursery School will use electronic systems for monitoring attendance at both individual pupil and whole school level. We will analyse patterns and trends of non-attendance to inform future action planning and target setting in respect of whole school attendance matters.
Sacred Heart RC Primary will also monitor the attendance of pupils through a reward system to encourage good attendance and punctuality.
The minimum attendance level which is expected at our school is 96%. It is when attendance falls below this level that school will consider whether it is appropriate to offer support in order to improve the situation. Both local and central government pay particular attention to reducing the number of pupils who fall into the persistent absence category (PA). A pupil is on track to becoming a persistent absentee when their attendance falls to 90% or below at any point during the school year; whether the absences are authorised or unauthorised. When attendance nears this level children miss significant amounts of schooling; meaning that their educational progress is put at risk. We need parents' full support in ensuring that attendance does not reach this level. However, if for any reason a child's attendance does fall into this category parents will be asked to do all they can improve the situation.
Families will be supported in this via school's robust systems for managing PA. This support may involve the need for parents, and children of an appropriate age, to agree to a parenting contract. Due to the seriousness of PA status it is highly likely that such cases will be referred to a local authority attendance team (Pupil Attendance Support Team). Furthermore, absence data for individual pupils who are classed as persistent absentees are reported to the Department for Education; along with whole school absence figures.
From September 2015 a pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more of their 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 parents' fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.
We monitor all absence thoroughly, therefore any pupil whose attendance indicates they are likely to reach the PA threshold will be prioritised and parents will be informed of this promptly.
PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully through our pastoral system and we also combine this with academic mentoring where absence affects attainment.
All our PA pupils and their parents are subject to an action plan and the plan may include: allocation of additional support through a mentor, use of circle time, individual incentive programmes, parenting contracts and participation in group activities around raising attendance. Due to the serious nature of persistent absence, school will always consider requesting support from the local authority attendance team in order to address the matter. School will also consider requesting that the local authority issue penalty notices, or use other sanctions, as a means of improving attendance.
Monitoring the attendance of pupils who are educated off site
The attendance of all pupils who are educated off site, or those who are dual registered, will be monitored in accordance with the procedures outlined within the procedural framework.
Links to other Policies
This links to:
Child Protection and Safeguarding policy
Medicines and First Aid policy
Home visits risk assessment
Review of Whole School Attendance Policy
Sacred Heart RC Primary and Nursery School will review this policy and the associated procedural framework annually.
Last review date: February 2019
Next review date: Annually