Why regular attendance is so important
Students can only learn and be successful if they are in school, and we place great importance on students' regular attendance and punctuality. Your child’s attendance target for the year is 96%. Some absence and, occasionally, lateness may be unavoidable. We expect our students to arrive in good time, refreshed after a night's sleep, and ready to learn and take an active part in our school community.
Absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Ensuring a child’s regular attendance at school is the parent/carer’s legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason is an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
A child may be at risk of harm if they do not attend school regularly this will be considered a safeguarding matter.
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 to age, ability and aptitude and any special educational needs he/she may have."
Understanding types of absence
Absence is when a student misses morning or afternoon registration even when they have attended lessons during the day. Absence is classified by the school as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED, depending upon the reason, evidence is always required, preferably in writing.
The following examples would normally be authorised as long as the student’s attendance is good:
- medical or dental appointments, wherever possible these should be arranged outside of school hours
- days of religious observance
- exceptional family circumstances e.g. bereavement
The following are examples of absences which will not normally be authorised by school:
- truancy before or during the school day
- absences which have never been properly explained
- children who arrive at school after registration has closed
- shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
- day trips or holidays in term time
- continued absence after a student has been classified as a persistent absentee
- regular or repeating patterns of absence
- where there is an unusual number of broken weeks
Authorisation of absence in term time is only agreed due to exceptional circumstances.
Persistent absenteeism (PA)
Persistent absence is when the total absence, authorised and/or unauthorised, is 15% or more across the school year. All PA cases, regardless of the circumstances, are automatically made known to the Educational Welfare Officer and some result in legal action such as a penalty notice or prosecution.
If a child is absent parents/carers must:
- telephone the school as soon as possible, preferably before 09.00am, on each day of absence
- record the reason for absence by sending a note in on the first day they return with an explanation of the absence, even if parents/carers have already telephoned
- save evidence in the form of appointment cards, prescriptions or referral letters should they be required at a later date
- If a child is absent, we will:
- telephone or text parents/carers on the first day of absence if we have not heard from them. This is part of a system known as ‘Truancy Call’
- discuss strategies for improvement, with parent/carers, if the attendance figure falls below 96%
- refer the matter to the Educational Welfare Officer if attendance falls below 90%
The School’s Attendance Team
- The attendance team includes:
- The Attendance Officer, Mrs S McClarance (McClarance@blenheim.surrey.sch.uk)
- Form Tutor, the first point of contact for parents
The attendance team, including the EWO, is responsible for monitoring levels of attendance, celebrating success and acting to bring about improvement. Where improvement is not evident, parents/carers risk criminal prosecution which may result in fines of up to £2,500 and/or the possibility of a three months imprisonment. Courts may, at their discretion, impose other sanctions.
To inform us of your child’s unexpected absence on the day please telephone the school on 01372 745333, option 4, by 9.00am at the latest, to avoid inclusion on the truancy call system.
For emergency morning medical appointments, please advise Mrs S McClarance, as above, as soon as possible.