ST STEPHEN’S C.E PRIMARY SCHOOL
WHOLE SCHOOL ATTENDANCE POLICY
At St. Stephen’s CE Primary 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, vulnerable group 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
- School staff
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 2013 amendment to The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, schools cannot authorise any leave other than in exceptional circumstances. In St. Stephen’s 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:
- a request for leave has been made in advance, by a parent with whom the pupil normally resides, and
- 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 Lancashire code of conduct, St. Stephen’s CE Primary School may request that the local authority issue penalty notices in respect of persistent absence.
Parents of a registered pupil whose child fails to attend school regularly are committing an offence under section 444(1) Education Act 1996. A pupil must have had a minimum of 5 school days (10 sessions) lost to unauthorised absence during the current term or 7 school days (14 sessions) in 2 consecutive terms before a Penalty Notice is considered.
St. Stephen’s CE Primary 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
St. Stephen’s CE Primary School will use electronic systems for monitoring attendance at both individual pupil, groups of pupils 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.
The minimum attendance level which is expected at our school is 95%. 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.
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.
Review of Whole School Attendance Policy
St. Stephen’s CE Primary School will review this policy and the associated procedural framework annually.
Last review date: July 2018
Next review date: July 2019 (or sooner if required)