Willow Primary School ATTENDANCE Guidelines for Parents
Which of us, as parents, wouldn’t do anything to improve our child’s life chances? Please take a few moments to read this- it could make a real difference to your child. At Willow Primary School we aim to:
- Maintain an attendance rate of a minimum of 95%
- Raise parents’ and pupils’ awareness of the importance of regular attendance.
- Work in partnership with families to support high attendance for every child
Good attendance is important because:
- Research shows a direct link between high achievement and high attendance
- Research shows a direct link between positive long term outcomes for individuals (regardless of background or ability), and regular attendance at primary school
- Regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically
- Regular attenders find school routines and school work easier to cope with and get into good habits for life
- Regular attenders find learning more satisfying and continue learning outside school
- Regular attenders have an easier transfer to secondary school and into further education and the workplace.
As a parent you can help improve and sustain your child’s attendance by:
- Ringing on the first morning of all absences with the reason and saying when you think your child is likely to return
- Discussing with staff whether a minor illness really requires a whole day of absence
- Being honest with staff if you think your child is reluctant to attend to school for any reason, so we can help resolve this
- Arranging dental and doctor’s appointments out of school hours or during school holidays
- Sending in a note or an email explaining the reason for absence on your child’s return to school after an illness
- Keeping us updated by telephone or letter if your child has an extended period of absence due to illness
We will help you by:
- Following up unexplained absences by phone calls and letters as soon as possible
- Reminding parents of the importance of regular attendance and punctuality in newsletters, on the website and in the Home-School agreement
- Publishing our attendance rates regularly and inform you of your own child’s attendance percentage each term.
- Providing you with more regular updates if your child’s attendance falls below 95%
- Celebrating and rewarding good attendance
- Publishing your child’s annual attendance rate on her/his annual school report
- Letting you know immediately if we have concerns regarding your child’s attendance
Authorised Absence: Some absences are allowed by law and are known as “authorised absences”. For example: if a child is ill, family bereavement, religious observance. We realise that there are rare occasions when there might be a particular problem that causes your child to be absent for a different reason. If you let us know, we will always respond sympathetically. Unauthorised Absence There are times when children are absent for reasons, which are not permitted by law. These are known as “unauthorised absences”. Examples of unauthorised absence are:
- Waiting on a delivery
- Going shopping or for a hair cut
- Going for a family day out
- Because it is your child’s birthday
- Sleeping in after a late night
- Unapproved Holidays
Where there is no explanation for the absence or where the explanation or reason for the absence is considered unsatisfactory.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure the regular and full time attendance at school of registered pupils (Education Act 1996). This policy is based on the law and on Best Practice guidance produced by the DFE. Please be aware that as a maintained school or an academy, we are obliged to return attendance details on all children to the LA and the DFE. If your child’s attendance is below 90%, you will be contacted by the Education Welfare Officer, at the Local Authority who will review and support improving your child’s attendance at school. However, if unauthorised absences continue, despite this intervention, the LA has the right to prosecute (take to court) parents or issue a Fixed Penalty (fine). By working in a positive partnership with you and promoting good attendance, the leadership at Willow aims to render such legal action unnecessary. Punctuality Remember what it feels like to miss the start of something, because you are late? It can disrupt the whole of your day. Children who arrive late to school, often miss out on learning because they have not heard an explanation or introduction. Please try to spare your child the discomfort of everyone else in class turning to look at you and feeling unsure to where to sit or what to do.
- Morning registration is at 8.45am for KS2 and 8.55am for KS1. Your child must be in the line in the playground by the time the whistle blows at 8.40(KS2) or 8.50am (KS1), so you need to ensure your child is coming through the school gate by 8.39am (KS2) or 8.49am (KS1) at the latest.
- It is important to be on time as the first few minutes of the school day are often used to give out instructions or organise schoolwork for the rest of the day.
- If your child misses this short but vital session, their work for the whole day may be affected. Late arrivals are disruptive to the whole class and often embarrassing for your child. At Willow, we take the view there are no late children, only late parents.
- Arrival after the close of registration may be marked as unauthorised absence in line with the DCSF guidance.
- We will let you know if we have concerns about your child’s punctuality and try to work in partnership with you to resolve the problem.
- Please be aware that parental punctuality extends to the collection of children as well as ensuring they arrive at school promptly. It can be extremely distressing for children, if a parent or carer does not arrive when everyone else’s does.
- Obviously, we realise that accidents happen and sometimes a parent will be unavoidably detained. In these circumstances, please telephone and we will care for your child until they are collected, free of charge.
- Children who remain uncollected 15mins after the end of school time will be cared for by a member of staff, whom we pay to stay late. If this happens regularly or a reasonable explanation is not provided for your lateness, you will be charged £5.00 for each 15 minutes, your child needs to remain our charge.
Term Time Leave of Absence We are always concerned about the amount of school time pupils’ miss as a result of family holidays. DFE guidelines which came into effect in September 2008 state that there is no entitlement to time off for holidays in term time.
- Parents wishing to apply for leave of absence for term-time holidays need to write to the head teacher well in advance and before booking. Under current guidelines, holiday absence is almost invariably classed as an unauthorised absence and you may risk your child being taken off the school roll.
- If the head teacher does not authorise the absence and you take your child on holiday, the absence will be unauthorised.
- No applications for leave of absence will be authorized in years 2 and 6 and for the start of any academic year.
- Parents should avoid taking a holiday in September, as it is very unsettling for a child to miss the start of the school year.
- Please remember that the more time your child misses from school, the more difficult it is for them to catch up with their work. Valuable learning time is lost. A good understanding of the work can only take place when the pupil is in the classroom
Leavers If your child is leaving other than at the end of Year 6 to go to High School, parents are asked to:
- Give the school full information about their plans including date of move, new address or at least the town you will be moving to, new school and start date when known, and reasons for moving.
- Take Willow School’s address, so the new school can easily contact us and records be transferred.
- Let us know when you actually move.
Children Missing Education If you leave Willow without giving us notification and the information requested above, the Department for Education will consider your child to be a Child Missing Education. This means that the Local Authority has a legal duty to carry out investigations, which will include liaising with Children’s Services, (formerly Social Services) the Police and other agencies, to try to track and locate your child. By giving us the above information, unnecessary investigations can be avoided. In conclusion, please support your child to attend school as regularly as possible for the best reason there is: it will help them make the most of their opportunities and improve their life chances. Remember – “Attendance matters… Every Day Counts!”