Gloucester Road Primary School

Gloucester Road
Nursery & Primary School

 

Attendance

 

 

At Gloucester Road Primary School we expect pupils to attend every day school is open unless a reason acceptable to the school is given and we are able to authorise the absence.

The school aims to do this by:

  • Registering pupils accurately and efficiently
  • Setting attendance targets for individual pupils and year groups
  • Contacting parents, the same day when reasons for absence are unknown or unauthorised
  • Regularly monitoring pupil attendance and punctuality
  • Reporting school attendance statistics to parents, the Local Authority and the Department for Education as appropriate.

 

What does the law say and what do I have to do?

 

This guidance summarises the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance and explains how they apply to local authorities, head teachers, school staff, governing bodies, pupils and parents.

 

These requirements are contained in:

 

  • The Education Act 1996 - sections 434(1)(3)(4) & (6) and 458(4) & (5)
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2010
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016

 

Initiatives to improve attendance rates

At Gloucester Road Primary School, we want all pupils to attend regularly and will use the following initiatives to encourage all pupils to attend 100% of the time:

  • Informal comments from staff such as: praise for good attendance; challenge to parents when attendance or lateness occurs; enquiring with the child/family to explore reasons for absence and if support can be provided
  • By the more formal issue of attendance certificates
  • Weekly attendance and punctuality celebrated in the celebration assembly and the school newsletter, with a reward given to the class with the highest attendance rate each half term.
  • Work with other schools and external agencies
  • To monitor and evaluate this policy and its implementation by, amongst other means, rigorously collecting and analysing data about attendance to check our progress against measurable outcomes.

 

The School has independently introduced a large variety of initiatives to address the issue of non-attendance. We will continue to work alongside the Local Authority and in supporting and implementing new attendance initiatives. The school currently uses the following initiatives to improve attendance:

 

  • Clear Attendance Procedures in the first instance of absence (appendix A)
  • A clear Attendance Acton plan (appendix B) to address persistent or regular absence
  • The Attendance Action Plan will be activated if:
  • Ø A pattern of irregular attendance or lateness is either continuing or worsening
  • Ø Parents/carers do not accept their responsibilities for ensuring the child attends school, and are refusing to discuss ways of improving attendance with the School
  • Ø Condoned, unjustified absence is increasingly a problem
  • Ø Parents ask for excessive authorised absence.
  • Ø A request for support from the GCC Inclusion team has been made

 

  • The School has a designated attendance officer responsible for most aspects of attendance with an Attendance Team to support pupils and parents.
  • Pupil Attendance Ambassadors who will encourage and support their peers.
  • We have an extended schools programme which offers, breakfast club, after school clubs, trips and sports coaching.
  • Class teachers will report on attendance at parents evening and liaise with attendance ambassadors to support the attendance policy, pupils and parents.
  • If, following support and intervention, there continues to be an unreasonable number of unauthorised sessions of absence, the school will seek support and advice from the LA which may result in the initiation of legal proceedings.

 

Parents & Carers:

Definition of a parent/carer

 The legal guardian of any child of compulsory school age has a legal duty to secure the regular attendance of that child at the school where he or she is registered. Failure to secure the regular attendance at school of a registered pupil is a criminal offence which can lead to prosecution of the parent(s) in a magistrates’ court.

 In Education Law, (Section 576 of Education Act 1996), ‘parent’ means:

  • Ø All natural parents, whether they are married or not.
  • Ø Any person who has parental responsibility for a child or young person.
  • Ø Any person who has care of a child or young person i.e. lives with and looks after the child.

The local authority and school will need to decide who comes within the definition of Parent/Carer in respect of a particular pupil when using the legal measures, but generally. Parents/Carers include all those with day-to-day responsibility for a child.

Parents/Carers should always:

 

  • Ensure their child arrives on time ready for the register opening at 8:45am. Gates will be open from 8:35am.
  • To notify the school before 8.55am if their child cannot attend for any reason – this is for the child's security as well as administrative reasons.
  • To provide a medical appointment card or letter as supporting evidence for nonattendance due to medical appointments.
  • To work with the School and LA to resolve/alleviate any attendance challenges.
  • To support the school’s endeavours to improve attendance by engaging with the attendance policy, procedures, and action plan.
  • Take an interest in their child's school work.
  • Make sure their child understands that the parents do not approve of absence from school.
  • Support the school in its efforts to adhere to the attendance policy. Should you feel you are struggling with attendance and need support, please speak to our Attendance Officer or your class teacher to encourage open and honest dialogue so problems can be sorted at the earliest opportunity.
  • Sign and adhere to the parent copy of the Attendance Improvement Agreement.
  • Discuss planned authorised absences with the school and inform the school well in advance, at least 2 weeks. 
  • Parents should not normally expect the school to agree to any absence during school hours.
  • Parents must not take their own family holidays outside of the school holidays.

Requesting Holidays in Term Time

Parents should be aware that the law does not grant parents an automatic right to take their child out of school during term time. The Department for Education allows a Headteacher the discretion to consider authorising a leave of absence in term time only in “exceptional circumstances”. 

You may consider that a holiday will be educational, but your child will still miss out on the teaching and learning that their peers will receive whilst your child is away.  Children returning from a leave of absence during term time are also unprepared for the lessons which build on the teaching they have missed, and arrangements need to be made for individual children to catch up on missed work.  Disruption to the continuity of teaching and learning is something we all have a responsibility to avoid.

If requesting a leave of absence, you will need to request to meet with the Headteacher using the form in Appendix C of the attendance policy setting out the reasons. If the holiday is not considered to be an exceptional circumstance it will not be agreed. If you nevertheless take your child out of school for the leave of absence this will be recorded as unauthorised leave and a penalty notice may need to be issued.

In the case of an unauthorised leave of absence, the headteacher may request that the Local Authority issue a Fixed Penalty Notice without further warning to the parent.  Please note that such a penalty is issued to each parent for each child taken out of school.  A Penalty Notice is a fine of £60 if paid within the first 21 days which increases to £120 if paid between 21 and 28 days.  Thereafter, if the penalty remains unpaid this may lead to prosecution through the Magistrates’ Court.

All leave of absence requests should be completed on the form attached in Appendix C by the parent with whom the child ordinarily resides.  This should be returned to the school at least fourteen days before the start of the holiday. A meeting will then be arranged with the Headteacher to discuss. All requests must be made prior to the leave being taken. Leave will rarely be authorised retrospectively.

 

Is My Child Too Ill For School? NHS Advice

 

Statutory Guidance on Attendance and Absence 

 

Gloucestershire County Council 'Guide For Parents on School Attendance'