Monitoring, Analysis, Action Planning
Worsthorne Primary School will use electronic systems for monitoring attendance at both individual pupil and whole school level. We will analyse patterns and trends of non-attendance to inform future action planning and target setting in respect of whole school attendance matters.
The minimum attendance level which is expected at our school is 96%. It is when attendance falls below this level that school will consider whether it is appropriate to offer support in order to improve the situation. Both local and central government pay particular attention to reducing the number of pupils who fall into the persistent absence category (PA).
Parents and Carers
• Ensure the child(ren) in their care attend school regularly and punctually;
• If the child(ren) is/are absent to inform the school office on the first day of absence and provide a reason for the absence;
• If the child(ren) is/are absent for more than 1 day, to inform the school office of the continued absence and update as to the reason for the absence regularly;
• To avoid leave in term time wherever possible. Where this is not thought possible, contact the school as soon as possible prior to the first proposed day of absence to request authorisation;
• To advise the school, by contacting the school office, immediately if they become aware of problems with attendance;
• To co-operate with the school in promoting and improving attendance e.g. attending meetings, participation in parenting contracts and supporting the school in agreed intervention/action plans;
• Adhere to systems for late registration.
• Attend school regularly and punctually
• Adhere to systems for late registration
• Acknowledge behaviour needed out of school to ensure good attendance e.g. early bedtimes
The Headteacher has overall responsibility for ensuring that there are appropriate and efficient systems in place to promote and support the school attendance policy, that these are adhered to and training is given where appropriate. The Headteacher is also responsible for liaison with individual families, the School Attendance Consultant and the Pupil Attendance Support Team (PAST) to ensure appropriate support is given where attendance concerns are identified and for liaison with the local authority and DfE to ensure that the school conforms to all statutory requirements in respect of attendance.
However, Worsthorne Primary School believes that all staff have responsibilities and a role to play in promoting good attendance by:
• providing a welcoming atmosphere for children;
• providing a safe learning environment;
• ensuring an appropriate and responsive curriculum;
• providing a sympathetic response to any pupil’s concerns;
• being aware of factors that can contribute to non-attendance;
• being aware of the role all staff can play in ensuring attendance is seen as important for all pupils and parents;
• adherence to the systems and procedures in place within school to promote good attendance and highlighting any concerns to the head teacher;
• participation in training regarding school systems and procedures;
• willingness to communicate with children and parents about attendance; and
• completion of the attendance registers in accordance with the legislation and under the direction of the head teacher.
Morning Registration is between 08.55am and 9.00am
Afternoon Registration is between 1.00pm and 1.05pm
Each class teacher or their nominated representative is responsible for marking children present or absent in the register at morning and afternoon registration. The registers must be completed promptly to avoid discrepancies between classes. The class teacher must ensure that the marked register, plus any notes received regarding absence, is returned to the school office by 9.05am/ 1.10pm.
The school office is responsible for entering attendance on the electronic register and for inputting absence codes on a daily basis.
Pupils requiring admittance to school following registration periods must go to the main entrance and request entry via the school office. For health and safety reasons parents MUST accompany late arriving pupils into the building through the front door, in order to sign their children into school.
In accordance with current guidance, the attendance registers are closed at 9.30am/1.15pm. This means that any pupil who arrives after the registration period (8.55 to 9.00am/1.00 to 1.05pm) but before the registers are closed (9.30am/1.15pm) will be given a late mark (L) in the register. This code is classed as a present mark, but displays that the pupil arrived late for school. Any pupil who arrives after the registers have closed (9.30am/1.15pm) but before the end of the session, will be given a “late after registers closed” mark (U) in the register. This code is classed as an unauthorised absence but displays that the pupil was physically present in school for part of the session.
The fact that the U code is classed as an unauthorised absence means that when it is used pupils are likely to be missing significant amounts of schooling; putting their educational progress at risk. For this reason the use of this code will be considered as serious as any other unauthorised absence and will attract the interest of external agencies, including referral to the local authority attendance team and consideration of the use of legal measures, in just the same way.
Authorised and Unauthorised Absence
In every instance it is the Headteacher who determines whether an absence is recorded as authorised or unauthorised. This decision is made based on information provided by parents/carers. However, because the register is a legal document, the Headteacher has responsibility to ensure that it is completed accurately and in accordance with the legislation. For this reason it is not sufficient for an absence to be recorded as authorised based entirely on information provided by parents/carers. Therefore, there may be occasions when it will be necessary for parents to provide evidence of reasons for absence before authorisation is granted. For example, in the case of absence due to illness or medical appointment, evidence may be requested in the form of: sight of a prescription, prescribed medication, a medical appointment card or similar.
The school office is responsible for maintaining records of reason and length of absence.
• Parents/Carers are required to contact the school office or class teacher on the first day of absence, advising of the reason for the absence and expected return date; if known
• Where a verbal message is taken by school office staff this should be noted in the register and the class teacher informed
• Where a written note is received by the class teacher this should be returned to the school office with the register
• Where the absence is for several days, the parent/carer is responsible for informing the school of the continued absence and updating them as to the reason for the absence on a regular basis
• Where no explanation for absence is provided, or the reason provided is unsatisfactory, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and will be addressed with parents promptly
• Schools have a responsibility to report such absence to the local authority after a period of 10 school days, or sooner if appropriate
• The reason for absence should be linked directly to the pupil (e.g. illness or medical appointment of/for the child). Reasons for absence relating to parents or siblings may not be authorised
If a child is absent and no contact has been made by the family, the school office will contact the family on the first day of absence, as the registers close at 9.30am. If contact cannot be made the Headteacher should be informed and, in the case of prolonged or repeated absence without justification being given, the Headteacher will determine whether a referral to the Pupil Attendance Support Team should be made.
The Headteacher is responsible for determining what is classed as authorised and what is classed as unauthorised absence.
Examples of authorised absence:
• Medical or dental appointments, which relate directly to the pupil and unavoidably fall during the school day (evidence may be required prior to authorisation)
• Illness of the pupil (evidence may be required prior to authorisation)
• Leave which has been authorised by the Headteacher due to exceptional circumstances
Examples of unauthorised absence:
• Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
• truancy before or during the school day
• absences which have never been properly explained
• children who arrive at school after the register has closed
• shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
• day trips and leave in term time which have not been agreed
• days that exceed the amount of leave agreed by the Headteacher
The school office is responsible for inputting the appropriate absence code on the electronic register. Where they are not certain whether an absence is authorised or not they should seek advice from the Headteacher.
Office staff may also use the comments facility within SIMS in order to log specific reasons for absence. This facility will allow school staff to monitor and manage developing patterns of absence more effectively and share such information with parents.
The school office is responsible for overseeing the procedure for releasing children where parents/carers have requested and been granted leave during the school day.
The child(ren) can only be released to a parent or authorised carer/family member. When an authorised adult is picking up a child within school time the school office is responsible for ensuring that they (the authorised adult) complete and sign out the child. The school office is responsible for inputting the appropriate absence code on the electronic register.
When a child leaves the school site after the morning or afternoon register has been taken, the original mark must remain in the register and the signing in/out book should be referred to during an evacuation situation to ensure all pupils can be accounted for.
Additional Factors for Consideration
Pupils attend school for a maximum of 190 days each academic year. Regular attendance is vital for your child’s educational progress. The local authority expects that all parents/carers ensure their children attend school whenever possible. Absence during school time is largely prohibited by regulation and hinders academic progress. Even in exceptional circumstances, the following factors may be taken into account when considering an application for leave:
• Will leave at this point in time be detrimental to the pupil’s education?
• Will he/she miss any national tests or examinations?
• Is his/her attendance a cause for concern?
• Is the proposed absence during the month of September or any other transition period?
• Has he/she already had leave during term time this year?
• Did he/she have leave of absence during term time in the previous school year(s)?
• Does he/she have any absences which have been recorded as unauthorised this year?
If work commitments are stated as supporting evidence towards an exceptional reason for requesting leave, parents will be asked to provide employer details and any additional evidence which shows why leave cannot be taken during the school holidays.
Parents/Carers who need to request leave during term time should complete an application form, available from the school office as soon as possible prior to the first proposed date of absence. The Headteacher will consider the request and advise in writing within 5 days whether the absence will be authorised or not. The Headteacher may request a meeting with parents before any period of leave is authorised.
Use of Penalty Notices
The school takes unauthorised absence seriously and, particularly in the case of repeated unauthorised absences, will undertake further liaison with the family, pupil, the School Attendance Consultant and the Pupil Attendance Support Team as appropriate. Furthermore, Worsthorne Primary School may request that the local authority issue penalty notices in respect of unauthorised absence. This includes leave which is taken without a prior request being made; and leave taken after a prior request has been made and parents have been informed that the period of absence would be classed as unauthorised but the leave is taken regardless of this advice.
Worsthorne Primary School may also request that the local authority issue a penalty notice for days taken in excess of the agreed period of leave; without good reason. Parents also risk losing their child’s school place if they do not return from leave, as agreed, and readmission cannot be guaranteed.
The school office is responsible for recording leave requests in the electronic register and will retain copies of correspondence regarding requested leave of absence for 3 years. They will also be responsible for highlighting to the Headteacher if absence continues after the notified period. In this instance the Headteacher will undertake further liaison with the family, pupil, the School Attendance Consultant and the Pupil Attendance Support Team as appropriate and a Penalty Notice may be considered.
Monitoring, Analysis and Action Planning
The governors have determined that the Headteacher has overall responsibility for the monitoring, analysis and action planning of school attendance. The Headteacher is also responsible for ensuring that data is returned promptly to the local authority and DfE within deadlines. However, it is expected that the day to day implementation of this will largely rest with the class teachers who take the register and highlight causes of concern and the school office who are responsible for maintaining the school records on attendance and for highlighting causes for concern.
The Headteacher will review the attendance records at least once every half term to check that there are no outstanding causes for concern and that codes are being used consistently. In addition, the Headteacher will address specific concerns as they arise.
The Headteacher is required to review this whole school attendance policy and procedural framework annually and to report on attendance matters to the governors termly. The governors will also review the attendance policy at least annually to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the school.
If there is a trend of worsening attendance in a particular group of pupils, including pupils who belong to any vulnerable group, discussions should be held between the Headteacher and appropriate staff to agree action plans to reverse the trend. It should also be reported to the governors at the next full governor’s meeting.
Criteria and Systems for referral to and working with the School Attendance Consultant and the Pupil Attendance Support Team
The Headteacher is responsible for ensuring consistent referral of regular or unjustified absence. The criteria for referral are outlined in the systems below:
A request for support will be made to the local authority attendance team (Pupil Attendance Support Team) when:
• School have informed parents of their concerns regarding attendance
• School have attempted to employ appropriate strategies in order to improve attendance
• School strategies have failed to prompt the required amount of improvement in attendance OR parents refuse to engage with school support
In addition to the above, the Headteacher can discuss general attendance matters with the School Attendance Consultant. The purpose of such discussions would be to:
• Monitor progress towards targets, highlighting any concerns and identifying any action required
• To receive guidance on latest best practice
• To receive information about local and national trends and benchmarking
• To discuss whether current attendance policy and procedures are effective
School System for dealing with concerns about Lateness and Absence
The school office is responsible for advising the Headteacher of pupils who are persistently late or absent as issues arise.
The class teacher is also responsible for raising concerns about lateness or absence of class members to the Headteacher as issues arise.
In addition, the Headteacher will use electronic systems to monitor the attendance of individual pupils at least once per half term.
Once concerns have been raised:
• The Headteacher will discuss the matter informally with the family (including the pupil)
• Parents and children, if appropriate, will be asked to agree to a parenting contract, or take part in attendance panels, which will include the setting of targets and will be reviewed regularly
• When persistent lateness is an issue and/or parents fail to follow procedures by not accompanying late arriving pupils into school to sign them in, this will be communicated to parents via letter or a meeting in school as appropriate
• If lateness/absence persists, and school procedures fail to promote the required level of improvement, the Headteacher will contact the Pupil Attendance Support Team who will attend meetings with the family and Headteacher as appropriate and help school determine whether any further interventions are required. These interventions will include consideration of the use of legal measures (penalty notices and prosecution)
• Incentive and reward schemes will be used for individual pupils, as appropriate.
Alternative provision and use of directions
There are a range of reasons why pupils might be required to access educational provision at a venue other than their main school. The main reasons are listed below:
•Pupils who have been excluded, either for a fixed period (for more than 5 days) or permanently,
• When a pupil is unable to access provision at their main school for medical reasons
• When a pupil is required to attend another venue for the purpose of improving behaviour; either on a temporary basis or with a view to making a permanent move to the alternative provision (managed move)
When a pupil is required to attend alternative provision, the governors of the main school must issue a written ‘direction’ informing all parents of the alternative provision which their child is required to attend.
Pupils who are unable to attend school for medical reasons
The introduction of new statutory guidance on 1st September 2014 places much more emphasis on the role of governing bodies in ensuring that pupils with medical conditions are able to fully access education in the same way as other pupils. A key element of this responsibility is reducing the amount of time missed by these pupils; whether their condition is short or long term. The school will work with parents and other relevant professionals to minimise absence for reasons of ill health. This may be as a result of specific practices or resources used within school or by sourcing more appropriate provision at another establishment. When education is to be provided at an alternative location, this will always be done via the use of a direction (please see the relevant section of this policy).
School System for reintegrating pupils who have had long term absence
When a pupil has been absent from school for an extended period, the Headteacher, the class teacher and other support services will liaise with the family to ensure that a smooth reintegration is achieved.