Our Attendance Policy
Heron Park Primary Academy
Over recent years, schools have (in line with other institutions and public bodies) been working towards an improved understanding of the diverse nature of their communities. Much of the work is in response to new legislation that places and increased duty on schools and other settings. Legislation requires schools both to eliminate direct or indirect discrimination, victimisation or harassment and to promote equalities for students, staff and others who use school facilities. These developments reflect the growing awareness of the need to view different strands beneath one umbrella, rather than seeing them as separate factions competing with each other for time and resources.
In our school we work to ensure that there is equality of opportunity for all members of our community across a range of strands, which include: Race, Disability, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Religion and Age as well as any other factors which have the potential to cause discrimination, eg socio-economic factors
For specific reference to these strands please refer to the Equalities Policy.
Approved by: Behaviour & Safety Committee
Date Approved: Spring 2012
Date for Review: Spring 2015
This policy reflects the vision and aims of HeronPark Primary Academy by
- Encouraging staff, parents and children to maximise the learning experience in order that all children reach their full potential.
- Providing clear procedures for involving parents relating to school attendance.
- The Governing Body are committed to raising the expectations and aspirations for every member of the school community, ensuring a culture and ethos of challenge and support where all children can achieve their full potential and become engaged in their own learning
Regular and punctual attendance is of paramount importance in ensuring that all children have full access to the curriculum. Valuable learning time is lost when children are absent or late.
Children should be at school, on time, every day the school is open, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. Permitting absence from school without a good reason is an offence by the parent.
Children are sometimes reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child. If a child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and may make things worse.
Every half-day absence has to be classified by the school, (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of each absence is always required, preferably in writing.
Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a reason such as genuine illness or other unavoidable cause.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This includes:
- parents keeping children off school unnecessarily
- truancy before or during the school day
- absences which have never been properly explained
- children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) from the Local Education Authority. The EWO will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed, these Officers can use court proceedings to prosecute parents or to seek an Education Supervision Order on the child. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of £2500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.
The school applies the following procedures in deciding how to deal with individual absences:
- Parents should ring in daily before 9 am to report if their child is absent. All absences and reasons given are recorded daily in an Absence Book.
- The School Secretary contacts parents daily before 10 am to query unexplained absences
- If a child arrives late they are signed in a late book. Between 8.50 and 9.10 they are given a red late mark. After 9.10 am the child will be marked as an unauthorised absence which may result in a referral to the EWO.
HOLIDAY/ABSENCE IN TERM TIME STATEMENT
Heron Park Primary Academy is committed to helping every child achieve their full potential and if they are to do this it is important that they are in school as much as possible. There is, therefore, no entitlement for parents to remove their child from school for the purposes of a holiday in term time and all holiday requests are ‘unauthorised’ unless the circumstances are considered exceptional.
- Whilst parents are strongly encouraged not to request leave for holidays in term time, if they still wish to do so, careful consideration will be given to exceptional circumstances only. Please ask for a form from the school office which must be completed and returned at least ten days before the start date of the holiday.
- If a child is removed for a family holiday without approval, the absence will be marked as unauthorised in the class register. In addition, the absence will be reported to the Education Welfare Service who have the authority to issue a Warning notice and, in repeated instances, Fixed Penalty Notice.
- A child who is removed for a prolonged period in term time (that is longer than a normal absence for sickness) will miss a large amount of school work while he or she is away and will be unprepared for the work on returning to school.
- The school cannot guarantee that the teacher will be able to spend time helping a child to catch up with the work missed during the absence/holiday
- Asking for extra work to do at home may not be appropriate as the child may have missed the initial teaching.
Information about individual school targets, projects and special initiatives
The school has adopted the following attendance targets and special projects:
- Target unauthorised absences and lateness on a rolling programme liaising with the EWO on a regular basis
- Track attendance and punctuality effectively in order to trigger appropriate Attendance Panel referrals
- Celebrate good attendance with letters and termly certificates for gold 100% attendance, silver, 95% attendance and bronze 90% attendance.
- Weekly attendance prizes for the class with the best attendance.
- Termly attendance prize for the class with the best attendance.
- Celebrating individual cases of improved attendance.
Those people responsible for attendance matters in this school are:
Karen Bye, Senior Advisory Headteacher
Elaine Sirah, School Secretary
The school has a legal duty to publish its absence figures to parents and to promote attendance. Equally, parents have a duty to make sure that their children attend. School staff are committed to working with parents as the best way to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible.