Attendance and Punctuality Policy

Revision/Review History

Version Date Comments Review Date
10 Summer 2016 Amended, approved an issued Summer 2018
9 Autumn 2014 Amended, approved and issued Summer 2016
8 Summer 2014 Approved and issued (no amendments) Summer 2016
7 Summer 2012 Amended, approved and issued Summer 2014
6 April 2011 Amended, approved and issued Spring 2012
5 May 2010 Amended, approved and issued May 2011
4 March 2009 Reviewed June 2010
3 April 2008 Amended, approved and issued July 2009
2 February 2006 Approved and issued February 2007
1 September 2005 First draft

1. Rationale
At St John’s C of E Primary School one of our key priorities is to have a safe, welcoming inclusive learning environment conducive to raising the attainment of all of our pupils. Our teachers aim to stimulate, challenge and to promote a positive learning attitude in all of our pupils. We have high standards with high expectations of all of our children as we prepare them for secondary education and eventually the world of work. The partnership between parent/carers and the school is essential in promoting a caring, respectful school community and an enjoyment of learning.

For pupils to achieve their full potential they must be in a regular pattern of school attendance. This is vital if children are to benefit from the excellent teaching and learning opportunities which are offered at our school.  Comprehensive academic research shows that there is a direct link between a child’s level of school attendance and their level of school attainment.

2. Aims

  • For the school to work in partnership with parent/carers to develop and promote excellent levels of attendance and punctuality for all children.
  • For a children to have an attendance rate of 95% or above.
  • To improve the whole school attendance rate and punctuality rate.
  • To reduce the unauthorised absence rate of the whole school and of individual children.
  • To ensure that all parent/carers, staff and governors are aware of expectations and procedures regarding school attendance and punctuality.

3. Principles

It is the legal duty of parent/carers to ensure that their child attends school regularly. Section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996 states that:

If a child of compulsory school age, who is a registered pupil at a school, fails to attend regularly at the school, his (her) parent is guilty of an offence.”

4. Expectations of the Headteacher and staff

We expect all staff to promote excellent attendance and punctuality. This can be accomplished by:

  • Providing a safe, inclusive, stimulating, learning environment for all children.
  • Promoting and encouraging high levels of school attendance for all pupils and for all staff.
  • Providing rewards and incentives for excellent attendance.
  • Providing encouragement, support and praise for those children that are striving to improve their attendance and punctuality.
  • Liaising with parent/carers if a child’s level of attendance causes concern and identifying support which can be put into place to improve attendance and punctuality.
  • Ensuring that systems and procedures are in place to monitor the attendance and punctuality of all children.
  • Being sympathetic towards genuine reasons for absence and by welcoming the child back into the school community after a period of genuine absence.
  • Not authorising absences unless a satisfactory explanation is provided for any absence.
  • Regularly liaising with the Local Authority’s Education Welfare Service and if necessary referring parent/carers to the school’s designated Education Welfare Officer for investigation.

5. Expectations of Parent and Carers

We expect our parents and carers to support the school in our efforts to encourage excellent punctuality and attendance. This can be accomplished by:

  • Ensuring that their child arrives to school every day, on time, wearing their school uniform.
  • Providing a healthy, nutritious breakfast for their child.
  • Having routines and habits in place at home to ensure that on arrival at school their child is ready to learn.
  • Taking an interest in their child’s school work.
  • Contacting the school on the morning of any absence as early as possible, preferably before 9am. The school office is staffed from 8.30 am but can take messages earlier. This is an additional safeguard for children who make their own way to school, so if a child does not arrive and no telephone call is received, the family can be contacted immediately.  The telephone number of the school is 238889.
  • Liaising with staff if their child shows signs of not wanting to attend school with no valid reason.
  • Providing medical evidence if their child is absent for any length of time i.e. more than 3 consecutive school days.
  • Arranging medical appointments outside of school hours.

6. Expectations of our Pupils

We expect all of our pupils to:

  • Arrive at school every day on time.
  • Arrive at school ready to learn and to value their education.
  • Enjoy and achieve whilst at school.
  • Take pride in their work and the school community.
  • Adhere to routines at home which complement excellent school attendance and punctuality i.e. completing homework tasks before bed time, going to bed at a reasonable time, preparing school bag before bed time.

7. Expectations of Governors

We expect our Governing Board to:

  • Discuss the whole school attendance and absence rates of the school at termly Governor Meetings and to compare the performance of the school with local and national attendance rates and trends.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient staff in place to implement the Attendance and Punctuality Policy.
  • Ensure that there is a Link Governor for attendance and punctuality and that this Governor is proactive in promoting excellent attendance and punctuality.

8. The Education Welfare Service

The Education Welfare Officer (EWO) attached to the school will offer advice and support on matters relating to attendance and punctuality.  This involves regular meetings and liaison between the EWO, designated staff and where appropriate the Link Governor.  The school and the EWO will maintain a list of pupils ‘causing concern’. If attempts by the school to improve a pupil’s attendance rate have not been successful, then a formal referral will be made to the EWO. The EWO will make contact with the family and where appropriate will issue Warning Letters. If attendance fails to improve and no valid reason or medical evidence has been provided, then parent/carers may be issued with a Penalty Notice. Non-payment of a Penalty Notice will result in prosecution and may incur a fine of up to £1,000.

9. Registration Procedures

St John’s C of E Primary uses the SIMS system of registration and acknowledges that the law is very specific regarding the storage of Official Registers for future reference.

  1. Paper registers will be taken from 8:50 am to 9:00am. At 9am the registers will be promptly returned to the school office. The marks from the paper registers will then be entered manually on to SIMS.
  2. When a child arrives after the doors have closed they should then report to the school office, where they are signed in and marked as being late.
  3. The office will mark the registers as per EWO/LA guidance for all late pupils.
  4. In cases of persistent lateness the school will work with the family to improve the situation. If efforts to improve the punctuality of the child/ren do not improve then a formal referral to the Education Welfare Officer will be made.
  5. All absence notes, records or telephone messages will be retained in the child’s confidential school file in the office.

10. Absences

Every half day absence from school has to be recorded by the school as either authorised or unauthorised.  If the reason for absence is not known at the time of marking the register then the absence is recorded as unauthorised. This will be amended to an authorised absence if the school receives a valid reason for the absence.

Reasons for authorised absences are:

  • Genuine illness – this does not include headaches, sore throats, aching limbs or other minor ailments.
  • Religious observance
  • Exclusions
  • School visits
  • Supervised sporting activities
  • Medical appointments – with proof of the appointment given to the school

Parent/carers should note that unless medical evidence is provided the school will not authorise any absences after a child’s attendance has fallen to 90% or below.

It is the Headteacher or the designated staff that decide if any absence is authorised, not parent/carers.

11. Requests for Leave for Exceptional Circumstances

The school operates in accordance to advice from their Education Welfare Officer, the Local Authority and Central Government. Under the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006, the Headteacher is able to grant authorised absence during term time for exceptional circumstances. It is for the Headteacher to determine whether or not such a request is reasonable. Each request can only be judged on a case-by-case basis but the Headteacher will be sparing in their use of this discretion.

Parents/Carers are strongly discouraged from requesting leave of absence during the term time. Any time absent from lessons is detrimental to the child’s learning, progress and attainment. Unless there is strong unequivocal evidence that the reason is exceptional then leave will not be authorised. Parents/Carers do not have an automatic right to withdraw their child/ren from school for a holiday for any length of time.

12. Monitoring and Evaluation

The designated member of staff will look at the registers daily and look for patterns of absence.  The Home School Link Worker (HSLW) conducts texts/first day calls for absences.  Class Teachers may direct any concerns which they have which may impact on attendance or punctuality to the HSLW or if appropriate, to the Head teacher.  The Education Welfare Officer will visit the school regularly to monitor the attendance and punctuality of all the children and to discuss concerns.  Formal referrals will be made to the Officer for investigation and if necessary, statutory action.  The Head teacher and Senior Leadership Team will monitor attendance and measure this against individual pupil progress. The Head teacher will ensure that the Attendance and Punctuality Policy is being implemented through robust school procedures. The Head teacher will also provide the Governors with termly attendance data which compares the performance of St John’s with local and national trends. The Governors will ensure that the Head teacher has adequate resources to implement the policy.

13. The Policy

Parents/Carers will be informed of this Attendance and Punctuality Policy when their child starts at St John’s CE(A) Primary. A copy of this Policy is available to parent/carers upon request and it can also be found on the website. This policy will only be effective with the co-operation and support of all stakeholders.

Attendance and Punctuality Policy – Version 10 – Summer 2016