Attendance Policy 2023-24
- Why are attendance and punctuality so important?
Our aim in the Pennine Trust is to help you to understand the benefit of excellent attendance at school.
Persistent absenteeism seriously affects your schooling and your life after school. Being absent results in loss of learning, which in turn results in lower levels of achievement and grades, which in turn results in lower employment prospects.
- These things are fundamental to our trust values:
- We are ambitious and believe all pupils can achieve excellent attendance.
- We are respectful. Arriving on time demonstrates good manners and consideration for others.
- We are collaborative. We support and challenge everyone to achieve high standards.
- Regular school attendance is important to give children the best possible start in life. The aim should be to attend 100% of the time.
- Research suggests pupils who attend school regularly are at less risk of getting involved in antisocial behaviour or crime.
This image summarises the negative impact of absence from school:
It is important to arrive at school on time as frequent lateness adds up to a lot of lost learning.
Our attendance and punctuality expectations:
All children are expected to aim for 100% attendance.
Parents/carers work with schools and fulfil the legal responsibility to ensure their child attends school regularly and on time.
- What are our daily routines? How we manage attendance
- 2.1 The School Day:
The school day starts at 8:40am. Each school day involves a morning and afternoon session.
Pupils should be on the school site by 8.35am and in form for 8.40am. If pupils arrive after this time, they are classed as late.
Pupils arriving after the register closes (09:55) will be marked as U
School finishes at 03:15pm
Afternoon registration is at 12.20pm. Pupils arriving after 1.15 pm will be marked U
- 2.2 If your child is absent:
Phone the Attendance Office before 8.30 am to speak to the attendance co-ordinator or (if unavailable) leave a message on the answer phone with:
- child’s name, year group, form
- name of person making the call,
- date of absence
- a detailed reason for absence.
This must be done on the first day of absence and EVERY subsequent day.
Attendance Co-ordinator at school is: Mrs Orme who can be contacted on: 01282 865 200 (Option 1)
2.3 How we will manage absence:
- Contact from home regarding absence
- No message received call to be made to parents / carer by 10a.m
- Parent / carer encouraged to send child to school as soon as possible where appropriate
- If no contact is made, a home visit will be initiated as soon as possible and from the first day
- No one home / answers the door police/social services will be contacted.
2.4 Late to school
If you know your child is going to be late, phone the attendance line before 8.30 am to speak to the attendance co-ordinator. We will require a reason for lateness and will offer support where appropriate.
If we do not have contact from home the following will apply:
- Pupils who arrive late will receive a late mark and a misdemeanour will be added to their record. Please note if your child will be late due to a medical appointment, evidence of the appointment will be required to avoid a late mark being recorded.
- Parents will be emailed to inform them when their child has been marked late.
- Pupils with four misdemeanours in one week will be sanctioned by Turning Point.
- Pupils who arrive late twice in one week after the register has closed, will be sanctioned by Turning Point
- Persistent lateness may result in a penalty notice being issued by Lancashire County Council.
- Roles and responsibilities, including Key people and contact details
The school attendance co-ordinator is responsible for:
- Monitoring attendance and attendance registers, including liaising with the local authority
- Communicating with pupils/parents with regard to attendance and following up on poor attendance.
- Informing the Headteacher when a penalty notice is appropriate
All Staff are responsible for:
- Where designated, completing the register accurately and on time.
- Taking an active role in supporting good attendance for all pupils and modelling good attendance behaviour.
- Using professional judgement and knowledge of individual pupils to decide whether welfare concerns should be escalated.
Pupils are responsible for
- Attending school every day
- Arriving punctually at the start of the day and to all lessons.
- Attending prepared and equipped for the day
Parents are responsible for:
- The attendance and punctuality of their children at school.
- Providing accurate and up-to-date contact details (minimum of 2 emergency contact numbers).
- Work with and support school to promote good attendance and punctuality.
- How we encourage good attendance… including how we manage appointments
- 4.1 Rewards/incentives
Excellent attendance is an expectation for all pupils. At the same time, we will use acknowledgement, praise and rewards as an integral part of our approach to encourage high standards and improvement.
- We will praise and reward all pupils with 100% attendance for every half-term.
- We will praise and acknowledge all pupils with 97% attendance and above every half-term.
- We will praise and reward pupils who significantly improve their attendance.
- The Trust will recognise excellent attendance, including significant progress, annually.
4.2 Unplanned absence
We will mark absence due to illness as authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness or has ongoing attendance concerns (please refer to school attendance ladder). In such cases, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and further supporting evidence will be required.
If the pupil has had an extended period of absence through illness and/or the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school will require parent/carer to provide medical evidence, such as a medical letter, prescription, pharmacy medication (with proof of purchase), appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. In addition, a referral to the school nurse may be suggested.
4.3 Planned absence & leave of absence
Parents will be expected to make medical or dental appointments outside of school hours wherever possible. Attending a medical or dental appointment will only be counted as authorised if the pupil’s parent/carer notifies the school in advance of the appointment and provides evidence of the appointment. Parents will be responsible for ensuring their child misses only the amount of time necessary to attend the appointment.
The school will only grant a pupil a leave of absence in exceptional circumstances and will consider requests on an individual basis. The school will expect parents to contact the headteacher in writing, using the Leave of Absence Request Form at least two weeks prior to the proposed start date. The form is available on the school website.
If term-time leave is not granted, taking a pupil out of school will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and may result in sanctions, such as a penalty notice. The school cannot grant leave of absence retrospectively; therefore, any absences that were not approved by the school in advance will be marked as unauthorised.
4.4 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;
- 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 and every subsequent day of absence giving a reason for the absence. If school does not receive a call, then a phone call will be made by the school, or a text message sent. In most cases, a member of the attendance team will visit home. In extreme circumstances and where there may be safeguarding concerns, a police welfare check would be considered.
- How we track the attendance of children and how we ensure our work is effective
- 5.1 Attendance register
The Trust uses Bromcom to keep attendance registers and ensures that they are accurate and can be easily analysed and shared as appropriate.
Registers record whether every pupil is:
- Attending an approved off-site educational activity
- Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances
- 5.2 Use of data – information for parents
- Attendance will be regularly reported to parents through half-term letters and is live on MCAS.
- If attendance is a concern parents/carers will be contacted more frequently to improve attendance.
- Example of the tracker letter is included in appendix A.
- How we will reduce persistent or severe absence
- 6.1 Reducing persistent absence
If a pattern of absence becomes problematic, the attendance officer will work collaboratively with the pupil and their parents to improve attendance by addressing the specific barriers that prevent the pupil from being able to attend school regularly.
Where these barriers are related to the pupil’s experience in school, e.g. bullying, the attendance officer will work with the headteacher and any relevant school staff, e.g. the DSL and SENCO, to address this.
We will take a stepped approach to ensure excellent attendance for all pupils, as follows:
- Early intervention has been shown to be vital to maintain excellent attendance. We will usually notify parents/carers and pupils when attendance drops below 97%, taking into account a child’s historical attendance.
- A child whose attendance falls below 95% will miss 2 weeks of school over the year. For this reason, we will communicate further with parents/carers to share our concerns and offer support.
- A pupil whose attendance falls below 92% is at risk of being considered persistently absent. In this circumstance we will hold a discussion with parents/carers to agree a plan to improve attendance and prevent the child from falling into persistent absence.
- All pupils falling below a 90% attendance level are classed as persistent absentees. Parents/carers will be contacted and expected to attend a meeting. Parents/carers and pupils will need to sign an agreement/contract to improve attendance to school. The school will liaise with other agencies working with pupils and their families to support attendance, e.g. social services. Specific support is provided for pupils with significant medical conditions in line with the Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions Policy.
- Failure to improve attendance will lead to a fixed penalty notice. Parents/carers will be informed of these measures through letters sent from school. Parents/carers 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.
- Section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996 states: If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence. Section 444 (1A) goes on to state: If in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails to cause him to do so, he is guilty of an offence.
- Use of sanctions including fixed penalty notices
The school will allow sufficient time for attendance interventions and engagement strategies to improve pupils’ attendance; however, progress will be carefully monitored and where engagement strategies have not had the desired effect, the attendance officer will consider:
- Holding a formal meeting with parents
- Working with external agencies where appropriate
- Engaging children’s social care where there are safeguarding concerns.
We work closely with the Local Authority, who support us with strategies to manage individual cases. There is an expectation in Lancashire that we tackle attendance concerns robustly.Where the above measures are not effective, the headteacher will issue a fixed penalty notice in line with the Local Authority’s code of conduct.
Where attendance still does not improve following a fixed penalty notice, the school will work with the Local Authority to take forward attendance prosecution as a last resort.
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.
Headteachers have a duty to do everything possible to support excellent attendance, including the use of penalty notices where all measures to support families have failed or where parents/carers taken a child out of school for unauthorised leave of absence.
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
- Monitoring/evaluation of the policy
The policy has been developed by a steering group consisting of the attendance coordinators and other senior leaders from across the Trust. Its effectiveness will be reviewed on a termly basis.
The trustees are responsible for monitoring attendance figures for the whole school on at least a termly basis. They also hold the CEO and headteachers to account for the implementation of this policy. A link governor in each school holders senior staff to account for overall attendance figures and consistent implementation of this policy. This includes ensuring that this policy, as written, does not discriminate on any grounds, including, but not limited to, ethnicity/national origin, culture, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.
The headteacher is responsible for ensuring implementation of this policy across the school, ensuring all parents are aware of the school’s attendance expectations and procedures and that every pupil has access to full-time education, acting as early as possible to address patterns of absence.
The headteacher will also ensure the local authority is informed if a penalty notice is appropriate for them to initiate this.
Appendix 1 Definitions and the attendance codes we use.
Persistent absence is when a pupil enrolment’s overall absence equates to 10% or more of their possible sessions.
Severe absence is when a pupil enrolment’s overall absence equates to 35% or more of their possible sessions.
The following codes are taken from the DfE’s guidance on school attendance.
When to use
Present in school am
Present in school pm
Late arrival before register is closed
Leave of absence granted by the school
Leave of absence for a family holiday granted by school
Excluded from school but no alterative provision made
Medical or dental appointment
Study leave (to be used sparingly for Year 11)
Unauthorised absence from school codes
Holiday not granted by school
Reason for absence not yet provided
Absent without authorisation
Arrived in school after registration closed
Attending an approved educational activity
Dual registered at another school
Off-site educational activity
At an interview with prospective employer or another educational establishment
Participating in a supervised sporting activity
Educational visit or trip
Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances (school closure etc)
Non-compulsory school age pupil not required to be in school
Prospective pupil not on admission register
Planned whole or partial school closure
Appendix 2 Legislation and guidance
This policy has due regard to all relevant legislation and statutory guidance including, but not limited to, the following:
- Education Act 1996
- Equality Act 2010
- The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 (As amended)
- The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014
- Children and Young Persons Act 1963
- DfE (2022) ‘Working together to improve school attendance’
- DfE (2022) ‘Keeping children safe in education 2022’
- DfE (2016) ‘Children missing education’
This policy operates in conjunction with the following school policies:
- Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
- Complaints Procedures Policy
- Behaviour Policy
- SEND Policy
- Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions Policy
- Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Policy
- Children Missing Education Policy
- Attendance Officer Home Visit Policy
- Pupils with Additional Health Needs Attendance Policy
Appendix 3 Half termly letter templates summarising attendance levels
We have made it a priority to support all pupils within our school to achieve excellent levels of punctuality and attendance. It is the expectation that [Name] attends school regularly and on time to support good progress. The following chart shows how poor attendance can impact on a child’s learning and their educational outcomes.
Current attendance is
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding attendance or feel school could provide any additional support, please make contact via the school on 01282 865 200 (option 1).
Mrs C Eulert