At Dove Bank Primary School we seek to ensure that all our pupils receive a full-time education which enables and encourages them to reach out for excellence and gives the best possible opportunities for children to realise their true potential. In order that our children gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that pupils attend school regularly.
Our aims for promoting good attendance are:
- To improve the overall percentage attendance of pupils at school
- To reduce the number of term-time holiday requests
- To make attendance and punctuality a priority for all those associated with the school including pupils, parents, teachers and governors
- To develop a framework which defines agreed roles and responsibilities and promotes consistency in carrying out designated tasks
- To provide support, advice and guidance to parents and pupils
- To develop a systematic approach to gathering and analysing attendance-related data
- To further develop positive and consistent communication between home and school
- To implement a system of rewards and sanctions
- To promote effective partnerships with other services and agencies e.g. MATU
- To recognise the needs of the individual pupil when planning reintegration following significant periods of absence e.g. within the Traveller community
Promoting Regular Attendance
The Department for Education expects schools and local authorities to promote good attendance, reduce absences, including persistent absence. This is because we know that missing out on lessons leaves pupils vulnerable to falling behind.
As a school we work incredibly hard to support all pupils and their families so as to ensure that all children have good attendance.
Changes to ‘Persistent Absence’ Thresholds
The DfE has laid out the new challenge for school attendance by further lowering the level at which a child is deemed persistently absent. From September 2015 persistent absence (PA) data will include all pupils whose attendance is 90% or less.
Persistent Absence will be assessed on a cumulative basis so a pupil can come in and out of the category but in real terms pupils taking any time off from school at any point during the academic year could be categorised as persistently absent if their absence falls below 90%
Please be mindful therefore that occasional days off school due to minor illnesses, such as a cough or sort throat, soon accumulate.
Reminders about ‘Leave of Absence’
From September 2013, the Government made changes to the law relating to school attendance, which, states:
“Head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances”.
As such, parents have been advised that there would no longer be entitlement to any leave of absence for a holiday during term time, for reasons that are not considered to be special or exceptional.
Parents/carers needing leave of absence for exceptional circumstances should complete a form (where applicable) at least two weeks before the anticipated start date as absences will not be granted retrospectively. A full explanation must be given for the request and the school will write back to you with a decision.
Where a parent takes the holiday and it has not been authorised parents may be liable to a fixed penalty Notice. If a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued the penalty is £60 when the payment is made within 21 days and £120 when the payment is made after 21 days but prior to 28 days. Failure to pay within 28 days will result in a summons to appear before the Magistrates Court for non-payment of the fine.
Parents are notified of term dates and Inset days well in advance of the start of each academic year to ensure that holidays are booked outside of school term time (dates available on the schools’ websites). The Schools are in session for 38 weeks per year, leaving opportunities to take pupils on holiday during the remaining 14 weeks.
Attendance is one of the areas a school is judged on and as a good school we are expected to have good attendance rates.
Parents are asked to support the school in helping their child to establish a good attendance record by:
- Making sure their child understands the importance of good attendance and punctuality
- Taking an interest in their child’s education, through asking them about their school work and encouraging then to get involved in school activities
- Discussing any worries that their child might have about coming to school and informing their class teacher about anything serious
- Not letting their child take time off school for very minor ailments
- Arranging appointments and outings after school hours or at weekends or school holidays
- Ensuring that family holidays are booked during school holiday time and not during term time (there are 13 weeks of the year during which the school is closed)
- Being very clear with their child regarding the school’s expectation that they arrive at school every day by 8.55am (bus children excepted), appropriately equipped and wearing full school uniform