Attendance

School attendance

Did you know…?

90% attendance sounds good but means that your child misses on average:

  • One half day every week.
  • Nearly four weeks every school year.
  • Over one school year in a school career.

2 weeks holiday in term time every year with no other absences means that your child:

  • Can only ever achieve 95% attendance
  • Will miss about two terms in a school career

5 minutes late every day means missing about 3 days of school every year

We monitor school absence daily and work with families where the level of absence is giving cause for concern. The information within this section explains the law and how legal sanctions for irregular attendance at school are applied in our school.

Does my child have to go to school?

The law makes parents and carers responsible for ensuring that their children of compulsory school age (5 to 16) receive a suitable, full-time education.  This can be either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

What should I do if my child is absent from school?

  • If your child is going to be absent, contact the school on the first morning and keep the school up to date if it turns out to be a longer absence.
  • Send a signed and dated note with the reason for the absence when your child returns to school.
  • It is a school that decides whether or not to authorise an absence.  
  • If there is a problem speak to the school – support will be available but staff need to be told about any difficulties as soon as possible.

What can happen if my child is absent from school on a regular basis?

Absence means:

  • Missing out on school work and it can be very hard to catch up.
  • Losing touch with friends and teaching staff.
  • Finding it more difficult to have a successful future after leaving school.
  • Having more opportunities to become involved in crime and anti-social behaviour either as victim or perpetrator.
  • If your children are registered at school, the law makes you responsible for making sure that they attend regularly.

Schools:

  • Monitor attendance and will try to support pupils who may be having difficulties
  • Have to inform the Local Authority of every pupil who doesn’t attend regularly.
  • Can refer concerns about attendance to the Attendance Service at the Local Authority.

What about absence due to illness?

If your child is ill, it’s important to take time to get better, but infection doesn’t always mean that your child has to be off school for ages! For guidance on how long your child should be off with an illness, click here.

What about family holidays in term time?

Pupils don’t have the right to have time off for family holidays in term time. Schools can give permission for all, part or none of the time requested but can only give permission in exceptional circumstances.

You must apply in advance for permission to have a family holiday in term time.

If school doesn’t give permission and you go anyway, the absences will be marked as unauthorised and you may be issued with a penalty notice for each child when you return.

What legal sanctions can the school use?

The school may take legal action against you if your children do not attend regularly and the absences aren’t authorised by the school.

Penalty notice issued:

  • £60 fine if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 if paid within 22-28 days.
  • Non-payment will result in a prosecution for the original offence.

Prosecution:

  • ‘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. If you are found guilty, the maximum fine is £1,000.’
  • ‘If (in the circumstances above), the parent knows the child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails to cause him to do so; the parent is guilty of an offence, unless he can prove he had reasonable justification.’
  • This is a more serious offence and a warrant can be issued to make you attend court. If you are found guilty, the maximum fine is £2,500 and/or you could be sentenced to up to 3 months in prison.

How can I help my child to get the best out of school?

  • Be aware of the impact of regular absences – missing school is missing out.
  • Build up good habits of punctuality and attendance. These start early in life, so even before your child starts school, establish good routines, such as reading before bedtime and going to bed on time.
  • Make sure your child understands the benefits of regular attendance at school.
  • If your child is off school, you must let the school know why and tell them when they can expect your child back.
  • It can be difficult, but try to make all appointments for the doctor, dentist, optician after school hours or during the school holidays where possible.
  • Don’t let your child stay off for reasons like going shopping, birthdays, minding the house, looking after brothers and sisters.
  • Avoid taking family holidays in term time.
  • Take an active interest in your child’s school work and offer support with homework.
  • Attend parents’ evenings to discuss your child’s progress.
  • Don’t let your child stay off school for a minor ailment.
  • Each school day is split into two sessions and the attendance register is taken every morning and afternoon. If your child is poorly first thing or but improves by lunchtime, send them into school for the afternoon session.
  • If your child recovers from illness before the end of the week, send them back to school even if it’s only for one day – every day counts.

What if I am worried about my child’s school attendance?

  • Talking to the school is the best place to start.
  • Don’t be afraid to get to know your child’s teachers and head teacher – sharing problems is the first step to solving them.


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