Attendance Policy

Table of Contents

Introduction

Regular and punctual school attendance is important. Pupils need to attend school regularly if they are to take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them by law. Montpelier Primary School fully recognises its responsibilities to ensure pupils are in school and on time, enabling them to have access to learning for the maximum number of days and hours.

This policy applies to all children registered at Montpelier. It is available to all parents/carers on our school website and by hard copy on request.

This policy has been written to adhere to the relevant Children Acts, Education Acts, Regulations and Guidance from the Department for Education in addition to guidance from the Local Authority.

The school works together with other professionals and agencies e.g. the School Attendance Officer to support and develop good habits.

Children who are absent from school, frequently fall behind and develop large gaps in their learning which impacts on their progress and their ability to meet age-related learning expectations. A child whose attendance drops to 90% each year will, over their time at primary school, have missed two whole terms of learning.

Aims

  • To maintain an attendance rate of a minimum of 96%
  • To maintain parents’ and pupils’ awareness of the importance of regular attendance
  • To maintain good timekeeping

Good attendance is important because:

  • Statistics show a direct link between underachievement and poor attendance
  • Regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically
  • Regular attenders find school routines, school work and friendships easier to cope with
  • Regular attenders find learning more satisfying
  • Regular attenders settle into High school more easily

Please note there is a direct link between good attendance and achievement at school:

% Attendance during a school year
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
Equivalent number of days absent
  • 19 days
  • 38 days
  • 57 days
Equivalent number of weeks absent
  • 4 weeks
  • 8 weeks
  • 11.5 weeks
Number of lessons missed
  • 100 lessons
  • 200 lessons
  • 290 lessons

Parents/Carers should:

  • Ensure your child attends school regularly. Absence should only happen when your child is significantly ill, there should be a symptom, feeling unwell is not enough.
  • Telephone on the first morning of any absence on the absence line by 8.30 am informing us of the reason and tell us when the child is likely to return to school.
  • Make all non-emergency medical appointments out of school hours or during school holidays.
  • An email confirming the reason for your child’s absence when s/he returns to school.
  • Provide medical verification where illness-absence is frequent or prolonged.
  • Keep us updated by telephone or email daily if your child has an extended period of absence.
  • Ensure we have your current contact numbers; this includes all telephone numbers, childminders and emergency contact details.
  • Tell us if there is a change in your circumstances if you are leaving the area or changing schools. Making sure we always have your current contact numbers; this includes all telephone numbers and emergency or other contact details.

The school will:

  • Follow up the unexplained absence by phone calls and letters as necessary.
  • Remind parents/carers of the importance of regular attendance and punctuality via newsletters and parent handbooks.
  • Inform parents/carers of any concerns regarding attendance and punctuality by individual emails and one to one meetings with a member of senior staff.
  • Publish your child’s attendance rate on her/his annual school report.
  • Let you know if we have concerns regarding your child’s attendance and punctuality.
  • Children with 90% attendance or less, whatever the reason for the absence are classified at persistent absentees. If we have concerns we will discuss these with you and may also make a referral to the Local Authority School Attendance Officer, who visits the school regularly to review and support attendance and punctuality issues.


Please remember that absence for whatever reason disadvantages a child by creating gaps in his/her learning. A good understanding of learning and good progress can only take place when the child is in the classroom regularly and on time. We realise that there are rare, unavoidable occasions when there might be a particular problem that causes your child to be absent. Please let us know and we shall try to deal with it sympathetically.

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.

Unauthorised absence

Where there is no explanation for absence or where the explanation or reason for the absence is considered unsatisfactory the school will not be able to authorise the absences. These are known as “unauthorised absences”.

A child’s unauthorised absences are an offence for the parent. Examples of unauthorised absence are:

  • Waiting for a delivery
  • Going shopping or for a haircut
  • Going for a family day out
  • Because it is your child’s birthday
  • Sleeping in after a late night
  • Unapproved holidays in term time
  • Where frequent absence claimed as illness and is unsupported by medical evidence, where there is no explanation for the absence or where the explanation or reason for the absence is considered unsatisfactory


If a child’s absence is reported as an illness in the week prior to the end of term and/ or at the start of term the school may require medical evidence in order to authorise the absence.

Unauthorised Absences have to be reported to the Local Authority. The School Attendance Service inspects our registers and may contact you where unauthorised absence continues to be a problem. They will consider taking legal action against you if your child has unauthorised absences.

Unauthorised absence could result in a Fixed Penalty Fine or other legal action.

Leave of absence in term time

Amendments to the 2006 attendance regulations make it clear that Headteacher may not grant any leave of absence during term time for Holidays. An application can be made if there are exceptional (and documented) circumstances. Parents sometimes confuse telling the school as being good enough, this is not so, you will need explicit permission from the school for any leave.

  • Please ask the school office for a form; the headteacher will consider your request and advise you of his/her decision, (possibly asking to meet with you to discuss) taking further time than allowed will be unauthorised and you risk your child being taken off the school roll. Approval cannot be given without application or retrospectively.
  • If a child is not present at the beginning of a school term, we cannot guarantee that a place will remain available on their return to school. You should make definite arrangements so that you return in good time. If you experience delays in returning from a trip within the UK or abroad for whatever reason, (although parent usually claims illness) the school will require documentary evidence in English or translated) accompanied with proof of original return dates, i.e. tickets or travel documentation.
  • If term time leave is taken without prior permission from the school, the absence will be unauthorised and you may be liable for a fixed-penalty fine or other legal action and in certain instances the child may also lose their school place.
  • Even in exceptional circumstances parents of pupils in year 2 and year 6 should consider alternative arrangements to avoid disruption during these statutory test years.
  • The school will take into account the government’s PREVENT strategy when considering requests for leave and it may be necessary to seek advice in this regard.

Punctuality

  • It is important to be on time as the first part of the school day is used to give out instructions, set or group children or organise school work for the rest of that day. It is also a time for children to settle down by reading or another quiet activity so they are ready for lessons immediately after registration.
  • Morning registration is at 8.55 am. This is the time the children must be in the line in the playground. You need to ensure your child is coming through the school gate by latest 8.45 am. The pre-school session from 8.40-8.50am gives children and parents an opportunity to socialise and for the children to gain a deeper sense of community and belonging.
  • Late arrivals are disruptive to the whole class and often embarrassing for your child. We take the view there are no late children, only late parents.
  • Arrival (particularly if the lateness is frequent/persistent) after the close of registration will be marked as unauthorised absence code ‘U’ in line with the DfE guidance; this is effectively an absence.
  • All lateness is recorded daily. The number of minutes late and the reason for the lateness if known will also be recorded. This information may be referred to the school’s local authority attendance officer and can be made available to the courts in the form of a report should a prosecution be the outcome of repeated lateness.


Some children/classes will be re-grouped for targeted learning/catch up. The curriculum is designed to be progressive, new topics are often introduced at the start of the week and the majority of teaching takes place during the morning. (Each day’s learning builds on the day before.)

Collection from school

Please collect your child promptly at the end of the school day or from any after school activity. Where the late collection is persistent and/or significantly late, the school is obliged to take any uncollected pupil to a place of safety and to share concerns with other agencies including the Ealing Children’s Integrated Response Service (formally Social Services).

The school will place a child into the after school club and the parent/carer will be charged the full amount for the first hour. Beyond this, children may be referred to Ealing Police Station or Ealing Children’s Integrated Response Service in the event that a suitable arrangement cannot be made with the parent/carer.

Leavers

If your child is leaving our school (other than to go to High School) parents are asked to give the school comprehensive information; about their new address, plans, including any date of a move, telephone numbers, the child’s new school and the start date when known. This should be submitted to our school in writing. If you are not sure of the details of your move, please let us know as soon as possible, but please fill in the leaving school form as fully as you can before you leave.

When pupils leave and we do not have information, about where they have gone, then your child is considered 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 Ealing Children’s Integrated Response Service the Police and other agencies, to try and locate your child. By giving us the above information, these investigations can be avoided.

Legal note

Parents have a legal duty to ensure 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 and the Local Authority. The School Attendance Service aims to work with schools and families to promote good attendance and avoid legal action. However, in some cases, parents are prosecuted (taken to court) or have to pay a Fixed Penalty (fine) if these absences continue. We value your support in helping us to maintain the high standards to which we always aspire.

“Every day counts and Every Child Matters!”

For the full Attendance Policy including Appendices – click here.