Attendance Policy 2021 - 2024
“One day in your Temple is better than a thousand anywhere else.”
This Attendance Policy has been approved and adopted by the Governing Body in November 2021 and will be reviewed in November 2024
School attendance is subject to education laws and this school Attendance Policy is written to reflect these laws and the guidance produced by the Department for Education and Hampshire County Council, a list of which is found in the appendix section.
This Attendance policy is also consistent with the following school policies:
For a child to reach their full educational achievement a high level of school attendance is essential. We are committed to providing an education of the highest quality for all our pupils and endeavour to provide an environment where all pupils feel valued and welcome.
Parents and pupils play a part in making our school so successful. Every child has a right to access the education to which they are entitled. Parents and teachers share the responsibility for supporting and promoting excellent school attendance and punctuality for all. It is our duty to consistently strive to achieve a goal of 100% attendance for all children. Every opportunity will be used to convey to pupils and their parents or carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance.
For our children to take full advantage of the educational opportunities offered it is vital your child is at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. The routines children develop around attendance and punctuality at school are the same as the expectations of any future employer in the world of work. High attainment, confidence with peers and staff and future aspirations depend on good attendance.
Good attendance is important because:
The foundation for good attendance is a strong partnership between the school, parents and the child.
To help us all to focus on this we will:
The headteacher will oversee, direct and co-ordinate the school’s work in promoting regular and improved attendance and will ensure the Attendance Policy is consistently applied throughout the school.
They will ensure that:
If absence is frequent or continuous, except where a child is clearly unwell, staff will discuss with parent/carers the need and reasons for their child’s absence and will encourage them to keep absences to a minimum.
A note or explanation from a pupil’s home does not mean an absence becomes authorised. The decision whether or not to authorise an absence will always rest with the headteacher.
Parents and Carers
Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is a parent/carers legal responsibility (section of the 1996 Education Act) and permitting absence from school that is not authorised by the school creates an offence in law.
Legally the register must be marked twice daily.
This is once at the start of the school day (9:15am) and again for the afternoon session at 1.00pm.
Registration closes, and must be complete, by 9.30am and 1.15pm every day.
It is important to be on time at the start of the morning and afternoon school sessions. The start of lessons are used to give out instructions or organise work. If your child is late they can miss work, time with their class teacher getting vital information, cause disruption to the lesson for others and can find being late embarrassing, leading to possible further absence.
The school day begins at 9:15am and all pupils are expected to be in school at the time. Morning registration closes at 9.30am.
Pupils who are consistently late are disrupting not only their own education but also that of the other pupils. On-going and repeated lateness is considered as unauthorised absence and will be subject to legal action.
Please collect your child promptly at the end of the school day:
A child not attending school is considered a safeguarding matter. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required.
On the first day of absence you must:
If your child is absent and we have not been informed by 9.30am, an Admin Assistant will:
On the third day of unexplained absence:
On the tenth day of unexplained absence:
We have a legal duty to report the absence of any pupil who is absent without an explanation for 10 consecutive days.
Where a pupil has not returned to school for ten days after an authorised absence, or is absent from school without authorisation for twenty consecutive school days, the pupil can be removed from the admission register when the school and the local authority have failed, after jointly making reasonable enquiries, to establish the whereabouts of the child. This only applies if the school does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend because of sickness or unavoidable cause. (Children Missing Education, DFE, 2016)
Continued or Ongoing Absence
All absences disadvantage a child by creating gaps in their learning. Research shows these gaps affect attainment when attendance falls below 95%. As such, we monitor all absence thoroughly and all attendance data is shared with the Local Authority and the Department for Education.
The headteacher analyses attendance patterns every 6 weeks (or each half term).
Level of Absence
4% - 5%
6% - 9%
Improvement in absence rate
Level of concern reduced
Absence level continues to rise
Where school staff have concerns about a child, they should use their professional judgement and knowledge of the individual pupil to inform their decision as to whether welfare concerns should be escalated.
All schools (including academies) must agree with the relevant local authority, the regular interval that the school will inform the local authority of any pupil who fails to attend school regularly, or has been absent without the school’s permission for a continuous period of 10 days or more.
School Attendance (DFE, 2020)
Regulations state that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
It is important to note that Headteachers can determine the length of the authorised absence as well as whether absence is authorised at all.
The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ are rare, significant, or unavoidable which means the event could not reasonably be scheduled at another time. There are no rules on this as circumstances vary from school to school and family to family.
There is, however, no legal entitlement for time off in school time to go on holiday and in the majority of cases holiday will not be authorised.
Parents/Carers wishing to apply for leave of absence need to fill in an application form available from the school office in advance and before making any travel arrangements. Any supporting evidence for the request must be attached to the application.
If term time leave is taken without prior permission from the school, the absence will be unauthorised and if the number of sessions absent hits the thresholds set down in Hampshire’s Code of Conduct parent/carers will be issued with a fixed-penalty fine or other legal action in accordance with the code.
In Education law, parents/carers are committing an offence if they fail to ensure the regular attendance of their child of compulsory school age at the school at which the child is registered, unless the absence has been authorised by the school.
Hampshire County Council will use the full range of legal measures to secure good attendance.
Legal measures will only be considered through a referral to Hampshire’s Attendance Legal Panels where:
The following legal measures are for pupils of compulsory school age who are registered at a school:
· Parenting contracts set at Education Planning Meetings
· Parenting orders
· Penalty notices
· Education Supervision Orders
Where a child has unauthorised absence the school must enforce Hampshire’s Code of Conduct for issuing Penalty Notices or follow its guidance on other Legal Measures for Non-Attendance.
The Code of Conduct is a statutory document that ensures that powers for legal sanctions are applied consistently and fairly across all schools and their families within the authority. A copy is available from http://www3.hants.gov.uk/education/hias/learning-behaviour-attendance/attendanceguidance-for-parents/possible-penalties.htm
The code of conduct states that:
Schools or Hampshire Local Authority will issue a Penalty Notice for any unauthorised absence where the pupil has been:
Where a pupil has unauthorised absence due to either the non approval of a parent/carer’s request for leave of absence or a holiday that has been taken without permission and the unauthorised absence (coded G) is for 10 or more sessions (5 days) in any 100 possible school sessions then a penalty notice for non-attendance will be issued.
If a child has other types of unauthorised absence (coded O and U) and the family or child do not require any agency support to improve the attendance then a single Penalty Notice is issued for either 10 sessions (5 days) of unauthorised absence or lateness in any 100 possible school sessions/10 week school period, or have 1 or more sessions of unauthorised absence during a public exam, formal school assessment of testing where dates are published in advance.
Parents and Carers will be warned of the likelihood of a penalty notice being issued for unauthorised absence through the leave of absence request form.
The penalty notice is a fine that is issued to each parent/carer who condoned (or was responsible for the child) during the period of unauthorised absence for which the fine has been issued. For each case of unauthorised absence the school or Hampshire County Council will decide whether a Penalty Notice is issued to one or more parent/carers for each child.
For example: x4penalty notices for a family with two children, both with unauthorised absence for holiday (i.e. one Penalty Notice for each child to each parent).
Payment methods are detailed on the Penalty Notices themselves. Penalties are to be paid to Hampshire County Council and revenue resulting from payment of Penalties is used by the County Council to help cover the costs of issuing Penalty Notices and/or the cost of prosecuting recipients who do not pay. For further information parents/carers can request a leaflet from school and should visit Hampshire County Councils website at: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/education/hias/learning-behaviour-attendance/attendanceguidance-for-parents/possible-penalties.htm
School registers are legal documents. We will ensure compliance with attendance regulations by keeping attendance records for at least 3 years.
If your child is leaving our school (other than when transferring to secondary school) parents are asked to give the school comprehensive information about their plans including:
This information must be submitted to our school in writing.
If pupils leave and we do not have the above information, then your child is considered to be a ‘Child Missing in Education’. This requires schools and Local Authorities to then carry out investigations to try and locate your child, which includes liaising with Children’s Services, the Police and other agencies. By giving us the above information, these investigations can be avoided.
Absence through child participation in Public Performances, including theatre, film or TV work & Modelling
Parents of a child performer can seek leave of absence from school for their child to take part in a performance. They must contact the Headteacher to discuss the nature and frequency of the work, whether the child has a valid performance licence and whether education will be provided by the employer during any future leave of absence. Any absence recorded as part of a child’s participation in a public performance is recorded as C (an authorised absence).
Absence through competing at regional, county or national level for Sport
Parents of able children can seek leave of absence from school for their child to take part in a regional, county, national or international event or competition. It is, however, down to the Headteacher’s discretion whether to authorise this and they will wish to discuss with you the nature and frequency of the absence and how learning will continue if absence occurs.
Permission for your child to leave early or arrive late to attend coaching and training sessions are also at the discretion of the Headteacher and are not likely to be approved if it is a regular event, unless the sports club or association are providing an education tutor as part of their coaching.
Gypsy Roma Traveller Showman and Showman families
To help ensure continuity of education for Traveller children it is expected that the child should attend school elsewhere when their family is travelling and be dual registered at that school and the main school.
Children from these groups whose families do not travel are expected to register at a school and attend as normal. They are subject to the same rules as other children in terms of the requirement to attend school regularly once registered at a school.
The Education Act 1996 Part 1, Section 7 states: The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient fulltime education suitable- [a] To his age, ability and aptitude and [b] To any special needs he may have. either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
For educational purposes the term parent is used to include those that have parental responsibility and/or those that have the day to day care of the child. The legislation that appertains to children who are of compulsory school age and are registered at school is contained within this Act. Part V1 Section 444 contains the details of when an offence is committed if a child fails to attend school. Register and Admission Roll keeping: The legal requirements are found in: The Education [Pupil Registration] (England) Regulations 2006 http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/http://www.education.gov.uk/pu blications/eOrderingDownload/UKSI-20061751.pdf
Guidance documents on attendance:
The following DfE documents are used to guide attendance recording: Absence and Attendance codes (Guidance for Schools and Local Authorities) www3.hants.gov.uk/absence-and-attendance-codes.pdf
Keeping Pupil Registers (Guidance on applying the Education Pupil Registration Regulations) http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/https:/www.education.gov.uk/pu blications/standard/Governancemanagementandfinance/Page4/DCSF-01488-2008
These and other guidance documents are available on the DfE website Hampshire County Council Guidance is available on Hantsweb at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/education/hias/learning-behaviour-attendance/lba-resources-forschools/atten-guidance/attendance-guidance-for-schools.htm
For national guidance refer to:
1. ‘School attendance’ 2015 located at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schoolattendance
2. National Association of Headteachers guidance document on ‘Authorised Absence’ 2014 http://www.naht.org.uk/welcome/news-and-media/key-topics/parents-and-pupils/naht-issuesnew-guidance-on-authorised-absence/
For county advice and guidance refer to:
1. Guidance on recording absence http://documents.hants.gov.uk/childrensservices/HIAS/Promotingpupilattendanceandrecordingabsence-maindocument.pdf
3. Guidance on approval of ‘Extended leave of absence’ see county guidance http://www3.hants.gov.uk/education/hias/learning-behaviour-attendance/lba-resourcesfor-schools/atten-guidance/attendance-guidance-for-schools.htm ‘https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/parental-responsibility-measures-forbehaviour-and-attendance
School Attendance (DFE, 2020) 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:
Promoting Pupil Attendance and Recording Absence – 2014
The Department for Education is clear that there is no parental/carer right for a family holiday: cost, experiences for the child, weather and overlapping with school holidays are not factors on which the decision should be made – pg 9
Good practice guidance
Section 1: good practice: recording and monitoring attendance and setting targets to reduce absence
If a school records information about attendance accurately, efficiently and effectively, it can use this to:
identify possible gaps in learning, progress and attainment
identify pupils/families who require support and intervention
provide detailed information to individual pupils
provide detailed information to parents/carers
provide regular reports to the governing body
support effective school self-evaluation
provide the LA with any information and data it requires
provide the information and data required by the Department for Education
identify ways in which levels of attendance and pupil progress can be improved
set targets for individual pupils, teaching groups, year groups and/or the school as a whole to improve attendance
recognise the positive attendance rates overall and reward individual pupils for continued or improved good attendance rates.
To help monitor attendance and absence levels, schools should:
ensure that registration procedures are used consistently throughout the school
ensure that appropriate codes are used to record pupil attendance and absence
have a system in place to keep track of pupils during the day and help reduce/prevent post-registration truancy, eg by having spot checks or using a lesson monitoring system; this should include pupils on roll but attending other educational provision or on temporary part-time provision
provide support and guidance to staff on what their roles and responsibilities are in respect of attendance and safeguarding; how to analyse attendance data and understand its impact on attainment and progress; and how to complete registers and follow up absences
provide clear information and accurate data to support services, so that they can intervene more quickly and effectively when concerns about poor attendance/punctuality arise
report the school’s attendance percentage for overall and persistent absence via the school’s prospectus and website
report annually to parents/carers their children’s individual attendance rates.