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Attendance Policy

May 2021

Mission Statement

Park High School strives to ensure that all its students receive a full-time education which maximises opportunities for each student to realise their true potential both in school and the wider community.

Employers want to recruit people who are reliable and by setting good attendance and punctuality patterns from an early age, students can demonstrate this.

Park High School has a system of incentives and rewards which not only acknowledge the efforts of students who have improved their attendance and punctuality, but also celebrates exemplary attendance at individual, form and year group level.

All staff will work together to provide a caring and welcoming environment where students will feel valued and secure. Staff will work with all students and their families to emphasise the importance of good attendance and punctuality.

1. Aims

We are committed to meeting our obligations with regards to school attendance by:

Promoting good attendance and reducing absence, including persistent absence

Ensuring every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled

Acting early to address patterns of absence

We will also support parents to perform their legal duty to ensure their children of compulsory school age attend regularly, and will promote and support punctuality in attending lessons.

2. Legislation and guidance

This policy meets the requirements of the school attendance guidance from the Department for Education (DfE), and refers to the DfE’s statutory guidance on school attendance parental responsibility measures. These documents are drawn from the following legislation setting out the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance:

Part 6 of The Education Act 1996

Part 3 of The Education Act 2002

Part 7 of The Education and Inspections Act 2006

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 (and 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 amendments)

The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013

This policy also refers to the DfE’s guidance on the school census, which explains the persistent absence threshold.

3. Roles and responsibilities

3.1 The governing board

The governing board is responsible for monitoring attendance figures for the whole school on at least a termly basis. It also holds the headteacher to account for the implementation of this policy.

The Link Governor is Mr I Walker

3.2 The headteacher

The headteacher is responsible for:

  • Implementation of this policy at the school
  • Monitoring school-level absence data and reporting it to governors
  • Supporting staff with monitoring the attendance of individual pupils
  • Issuing fixed-penalty notices, where necessary

3.3 The attendance officer

The school attendance officer:

  • Monitors attendance data across the school and at an individual pupil level
  • Reports concerns about attendance to the headteacher
  • Works with education welfare officers to tackle persistent absence
  • Arranges calls and meetings with parents to discuss attendance issues
  • Advises the headteacher when to issue fixed-penalty notices

3.4 Class teachers

  • Class teachers are responsible for recording attendance on a daily basis, using the correct codes, and submitting this information to the school office.
  • The recording of attendance is a statutory, legal responsibility. All staff are required to register accurately, conscientiously and punctually. Such an approach is a prerequisite for the effective management of attendance.
  • Disciplinary procedures will be followed for staff who regularly fail to fulfil their duty to complete registers.

3.5 School staff: Wellbeing Team and the Attendance Team

School wellbeing staff and attendance team are expected to take calls from parents about absence and record it on the school system.

4. Recording attendance

4.1 Attendance register

We will keep an attendance register, and place all pupils onto this register.

We will take our attendance register at the start of the first session of each school day and once during the second session. It will mark whether every pupil is:

  • Present
  • Attending an approved off-site educational activity
  • Absent
  • Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances
  • Any amendment to the attendance register will include:
  • The original entry
  • The amended entry
  • The reason for the amendment
  • The date on which the amendment was made
  • The name and position of the person who made the amendment See appendix 1 for the DfE attendance codes.

We will keep every entry on the attendance register for 3 years after the date on which the entry was made.

Pupils must arrive in school by 8.40 on each school day.

The register for the first session will be taken at 8.40 and will be kept open until 10.00. The register for the second session will be taken at 12.20 and will be kept open until 2.00.

4.2 Unplanned absence

The pupil’s parent/carer must notify the school on the first day of an unplanned absence by 8.30 a.m. on the school absence number.

We will mark absence due to illness as authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness.

If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school may ask the pupil’s parent/carer to provide medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note, prescription, appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. We will not ask for medical evidence unnecessarily.

If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents/carers will be notified of this in advance.

4.3 Planned absence

Attending a medical or dental appointment will be counted as authorised as long as the pupil’s parent/carer notifies the school in advance of the appointment. This must be done on the school absence number.

However, we encourage parents/carers to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary.

The pupil’s parent/carer must also apply for other types of term-time absence as far in advance as possible of the requested absence. Go to section 5 to find out which term-time absences the school can authorise.

4.4 Lateness and punctuality

A pupil who arrives late:

Before the register has closed will be marked as late, using the appropriate code After the register has closed will be marked as absent, using the appropriate code

Pupils will be sanctioned for lateness with a break detention. On going issues would lead to meetings With the Director of House. If there are persistent problems with punctuality then a referral would be made to the governor attendance panel. Any student who persistently arrives after the register is closed, will receive an unauthorized absence. 10 unauthorized absences may lead toa fixed penalty notice (10 half day unauthorized absences).

4.5 Following up absence

Where any child we expect to attend school does not attend, or stops attending, the school will: Follow up on their absence with their parent/carer to ascertain the reason, by contacting the school on the absence number or a note to reception.

Ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary

Identify whether the absence is approved or not

Identify the correct attendance code to use

To safeguard our pupils, parents/carers of students should contact school on the first day of absence giving a reason for the absence by 8.30 a.m. If school does not receive a call then a phone call will be made by the school or a text message sent. In some cases a member of the attendance staff will visit home.

4.6 Reporting to parents

Attendance will be regularly reported to parents through termly trackers and is live on MCAS.

If attendance is a concern parent will be contacted more frequently to improve attendance.

5. Authorised and unauthorised absence

5.1 Approval for term-time absence

The headteacher will only grant a leave of absence to pupils during term time if they consider there to be 'exceptional circumstances'. A leave of absence is granted at the headteacher’s discretion.

The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request.

Valid reasons for authorised absence include:

  • Illness and medical/dental appointments (see sections 4.2 and 4.3 for more detail)
  • Religious observance – where the day is exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the pupil’s parents belong. If necessary, the school will seek advice from the parents’ religious body to confirm whether the day is set apart
  • Traveller pupils travelling for occupational purposes – this covers Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish Travellers, Showmen (fairground people) and Circus people, Bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and New Travellers. Absence may be authorised only when a Traveller family is known to be travelling for occupational purposes and has agreed this with the school but it is not known whether the pupil is attending educational provision
  • Holidays in term time will not be authorized and fixed penalty notices will be issued.

5.2 Reducing persistent absence

  • All students falling below a 90% attendance level will be interviewed. Parents/carers will be contacted with our concerns raised and support offered where necessary. This will be done each half term, in conjunction with LA officers. Parents and students will need to sign a contract to improve attendance to school.
  • Failure to improve attendance will lead to a fixed penalty notice. Parents will be informed of these measures through letters sent from school. Parents must act on the information in the letters to ensure they are not subjected to fixed penalty notices or prosecution. 10 unauthorised absences (10 half days) can lead to a fixed penalty notice. This can include being late to school after the register closes.

5.3 Legal sanctions

The school or local authority can fine parents for the unauthorised absence of their child from school, where the child is of compulsory school age.

If issued with a fine, or penalty notice, each parent must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. The payment must be made directly to the local authority.

Penalty notices can be issued by a headteacher, local authority officer or the police.

The decision on whether or not to issue a penalty notice may take into account:

  • The number of unauthorised absences occurring within a rolling academic year
  • One-off instances of irregular attendance, such as holidays taken in term time without permission
  • Where an excluded pupil is found in a public place during school hours without a justifiable reason

If the payment has not been made after 28 days, the local authority can decide whether to prosecute or withdraw the notice.

  1. Strategies for promoting attendance
    • Students maintaining a 100% level of attendance will enter a draw for a voucher at the end of each term and gain a Gold Certificate at the end of each year.
    • Students maintaining a 97% or above level of attendance will gain a Silver Certificate at the end of each year.
    • Students who improve attendance will be praised for there improvement through formal and informal systems.
  1. Attendance monitoring

The attendance officer at our school monitors pupil absence on a daily basis.

A pupil’s parent/carer is expected to call the school in the morning if their child is going to be absent due to ill health (see section 4.2).

Parents and Carers must notify the school of absence on each day of absence through the school absence number.

If a pupil’s absence goes above 3 days, the school will contact the parent/carer of the pupil to discuss the reasons for this.

If a pupil’s absence continue to rise after contacting their parent/carer, we will consider involving an education welfare officer.

The persistent absence threshold is 10%. If a pupil's individual overall absence rate is greater than or equal to 10%, the pupil will be classified as a persistent absentee.

Pupil-level absence data will be collected each term and published at national and local authority level through the DfE's school absence national statistics releases. The underlying school-level absence data is published alongside the national statistics. The school will compare attendance data to the national average, and share this with the governing board.

Information on overall attendance and individual attendance will be shared with all stakeholders on a systematic basis.

Meetings will take place weekly between the attendance team and pastoral team to discuss the current attendance and targeted areas and intervention students to improve attendance. This will include legal intervention where appropriate.

Governors may request attendance at the governor attendance panel where necessary.

8. Monitoring arrangements

This policy will be reviewed as guidance from the local authority or DfE is updated, and as a minimum Termly by Deputy Headteacher Behavior. If changes are made the policy will be approved by the full governing board.

9. Links with other policies

This policy links to the following policies:

Child protection and safeguarding policy

Behaviour policy

Appendix 1: attendance codes

The following codes are taken from the DfE’s guidance on school attendance.

   

Code

     

Definition

     

Scenario

 
                 
 

/

     

Present (am)

     

Pupil is present at morning registration

                         
 

\

     

Present (pm)

     

Pupil is present at afternoon registration

   

L

   

Late arrival

     

Pupil arrives late before register has closed

   

B

     

Off-site educational activity

     

Pupil is at a supervised off-site educational

               

activity approved by the school

                       
                             
   

D

     

Dual registered

     

Pupil is attending a session at another setting

               

where they are also registered

                       
                             
   

J

   

Interview

     

Pupil has an interview with a prospective

             

employer/educational establishment

                       
                             
   

P

     

Sporting activity

     

Pupil is participating in a supervised sporting

               

activity approved by the school

                       
                             
   

V

     

Educational trip or visit

     

Pupil is on an educational visit/trip organised, or

               

approved, by the school

                       
                           
   

W

   

Work experience

     

Pupil is on a work experience placement

                         
                     
   

Code

   

Definition

   

Scenario

   
                 
     
Authorised absence    

C

Authorised leave of absence

Pupil has been granted a leave of absence

 

due to exceptional circumstances

 
     
       

E

Excluded

Pupil has been excluded but no alternative

 

provision has been made

 
     
       

H

Authorised holiday

Pupil has been allowed to go on holiday

 

due to exceptional circumstances

 
     
       

I

Illness

School has been notified that a pupil will be

 

absent due to illness

 
     
       

M

Medical/dental appointment

Pupil is at a medical or dental appointment

 
       

R

Religious observance

Pupil is taking part in a day of religious

 

observance

 
     
       

S

Study leave

Year 11 pupil is on study leave during their

 

public examinations

 
     
       

T

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller

Pupil from a Traveller community is

 

absence

travelling, as agreed with the school

 
   
       
 

Unauthorised absence

 
       

G

Unauthorised holiday

Pupil is on a holiday that was not approved

 

by the school

 
     
       
   

Pupil is absent for an unknown reason (this

 

N

Reason not provided

code should be amended when the reason

 

emerges, or replaced with code O if no

 
   

reason for absence has been provided after

 
   

a reasonable amount of time)

 
       

O

Unauthorised absence

School is not satisfied with reason for

 

pupil's absence

 
     
       

U

Arrival after registration

Pupil arrived at school after the register

 

closed

 
     
       
 

Code

   

Definition

   

Scenario

 
           
                 
               
 

X

 

Not required to be in school

 

Pupil of non-compulsory school age is not

     

required to attend

             
                 
 

Unable to attend due to exceptional

School site is closed, there is disruption to travel

 

Y

as a result of a local/national emergency, or pupil

 

circumstances

 
 

is in custody

 
     
       

Z

Pupil not on admission register

Register set up but pupil has not yet joined the

 

school

 
     
       

#

Planned school closure

Whole or partial school closure due to half-

 

term/bank holiday/INSET day

 
     
       

Further information on the use of legal interventions:

Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 brought into force Sections 444A and 444B of the Education Act 1996 which empower designated LEA Officers, Headteachers (and Deputy and Assistant Headteachers authorised by them) and the Police to issue Penalty Notices in cases of unauthorised absence from school.

The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2004 (as amended) came into force on 27 February 2004.

Regular and punctual attendance at school is both a legal requirement and essential for pupils to maximise their education opportunities.

In law, an offence occurs if a parent/carer fails to secure a child’s attendance at the school at which they are registered. Penalty Notices supplement the existing sanctions currently available under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 or Section 36 of the Children Act 1989, to enforce attendance at school where appropriate.

Legal action in the Courts may be used as a strategy to improve attendance when parents have failed to secure their children’s regular attendance at school. Penalty Notices are a further option available to the Local Authority.

However, sanctions of any nature are for use only where parental co-operation in this process is either absent or deemed insufficient to resolve the presenting problem.

When support to improve attendance has failed to bring about improvement the school may request the issuance of a Penalty Notice for each parent/carer and of each child from the Local Authority.

Payment of a Penalty within 28 days of receipt of the Notice is £60 (subject to review).

Payment after this time, but within 42 days of receipt of the Notice is £120 (subject to review).

Circumstances in which a Penalty Notice may be issued include:

  • Parentally condoned absence
  • Unauthorised holidays in term time
  • Unwarranted delayed return from an extended holiday (without school agreement)
  • Persistent late arrival after the register has closed.
  • Truancy

Non-payment of the Penalty within the 42 day time limit will trigger the prosecution process under the provisions of Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.

Deletion from roll and transfer of files

A student’s name may not be deleted from the attendance register unless it has also been deleted from the admissions register. Full details are contained in regulation 8 of The Education (Student Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 (as amended) When a student’s name is removed from the admissions register the school must notify their local Attendance Team. This duty extends to academies.

A student of compulsory school age should have his/her name deleted from the admissions register when:

  • the student has been registered at another school.
  • the school has received written notification from the parent that they are educating the student themselves. (Elective Home Education)
  • the student has ceased to attend the school and no longer lives within a reasonable distance of the school
  • the student has been permanently excluded and the exclusion has been upheld
  • the student attends a special school and the LA gives consent for his/her name to be removed

If the school is told that a student is leaving to attend another school, the attendance team should establish the student’s new address, the name and address of the new school and the date the student will start there. Confirmation should then be sought from the receiving school. When this information has been obtained, the school will notify the Area Attendance Team office. Whenever a student leaves the school a Common Transfer File (CTF) must be completed. This is the responsibility of the data manger. When Park High School receives a new admission it is the responsibility of the data manager to ensure that Park High School has received this CTF.

If the school is concerned about any aspect of a transfer or if a student has “disappeared” the matter should be drawn without delay to the attention of the Children Missing Education.

November 2020.