Regular attendance at school is important for continuity of learning. We aim for an annual attendance of at least 96% (against a national average of around 94%) and we celebrate high levels of aatendance across year groups, classes and for individual pupils. We are proud of our excellent attendance record.
However, during the course of a school career there are likely to be occasions when absence is unavoidable and acceptable. These notes explain the approach we follow to manage attendance.
Types of Absence
Each absence is classed as authorised or unauthorised. When we consider whether an absence is to be authorised or not we follow the Department for Children, Families and Schools' guidance.
Absences are coded as authorised where reasons are considered valid and unauthorised where no explanation or unacceptable reasons are given.
The following reasons cannot, except in the most unusual circumstances, be acceptable:
· shopping visits
· care for family members
· days out to theme parks or to attend concerts/shows
· parents’ work commitments or business trips
Unauthorised absences will be referred to the Attendance Improvement Service of Leeds Education Authority.
Illness and First Day Call
If your child is unable to attend school through illness you should inform us personally, by note or telephone on the first day of absence. It would also be useful to know the expected day of return.
We are obliged to contact parents to seek explanations for children's absence if you do not supply us with this information. This is in order that we may be sure of the child’s whereabouts.
Where the child is absent through illness or medical appointments this will normally be counted as authorised. Where we have concerns over absence patterns through illness we may ask to meet parents and seek further information from health professionals in order to gain a fuller picture of the problems and to offer support.
It is generally better if these can be arranged outside school hours, but we accept that this is not always possible. Where children need to attend such appointments during the school day it is important that parents come first to the main office before collecting children. Please bring your child to the office on returning from the appointment. This is in order that the child is registered in the event of emergency evacuation. Please inform your child's class teacher in writing in advance of such appointments and indicate whether s/he will be returning for the midday meal. Medical and dental appointments count as authorised absences.
There are some occasions eg bereavements, family problems, etc where it may be inappropriate for children to attend school; we will be sympathetic to such needs.
Please try to ensure that your child arrives at school so that they are present for registration; this is done at 9.05 am each day . Meeting and exchanging news with friends before school is important for the children's social development. Lateness causes problems over lunch money/numbers, register marking and missed instructions. Where a genuine reason for lateness exists this will be an authorised absence but where explanations are inadequate then an unauthorised absence will be recorded.
Leave of Absence
For all of the following you should put a request in writing via the official form (available from the website or Office) to the Headteacher at least two weeks in advance of the absence. For holiday bookings it is wise to make your request before committing yourself financially to the booking.
Only in truly exceptional circumstances are we able to authorise these but we will consider each one on its merits. In considering cases the following factors will be taken into account:
· the nature of the event
· whether it is a 'one-off’ or likely to become a regular occurrence
· the overall attendance pattern of your child.
Where children take part in a day set aside exclusively for religious observance by the religious body to which the parents belong, this will be classified as an authorised absence.
Family Holidays/Extended Visits
Schools may grant leave for the purpose of an annual holiday but this should not be regarded as automatic. Only in very exceptional circumstances will the amount of leave exceed two weeks in any one academic year but even in the case of a period of two weeks or less parents are asked to supply reasons why the holiday (business trips may not be approved) cannot take place outside term time. The following factors will be taken into account when granting leave of this nature.
· the nature/duration of the trip
· the possible impact on the child's education
· family circumstances and parental wishes
· the child's overall attendance pattern
· the rareness of the event and distance to be travelled
· the reasons given as to why the holiday/visit cannot take place outside term time.
Where leave is granted the absence will be authorised. Where leave is not authorised this decision may relate to the following:
· Pupil's attendance percentage: attendance below 85% over the last school year may not be authorised, depending upon the pattern of absence
· Requests for leave in excess of 10 days will not normally be authorised
· Further requests in excess of 10 days already taken during an academic year will not be authorised
· Requests at the start of the year (first fortnight in September term) will not normally be authorised
· Requests from parents of pupils in Year 6 in the week prior to statutory tests in May and in the test week itself will not be authorised
· Requests for leave to accompany business trips where this is not used as a main holiday will not be authorised
It is not our policy to set homework for children on holidays as this is a very poor substitute for the teaching time your child has missed and can cause confusion where no teaching has been received.
If children are kept away without prior authorisation for the holiday or for longer than the time granted, this will be regarded as unauthorised absence. Where unauthorised leave is taken, parents render themselves liable to a fixed penalty fine.
Although the holiday companies, through their pricing policies, do encourage family holidays within term time we do urge you to try to arrange your holiday so that it is outside term time or where this is impossible, to try to take the minimum of school time off - for example, by tagging it on to a half term holiday.
There are two particular times that I would ask you to avoid where holidays are concerned. One is the start of the school year in September as this is an important settling in period for your child in a new class. The other is during May when exams take place for the majority of our pupils. It is especially important that Year 6 pupils do not miss the SAT exams as they are not allowed to sit them outside the official times.
There is a leave of absence request form available through the School Office or from the website.
Approved Public Performance
Where children are invited to perform in a licensed show or concert (eg orchestra, pantomime) you are asked to consult with staff about how much time away from school is required. Where possible such requests will be granted provided that the child’s education is unlikely to suffer.
Updates on Attendance
We monitor attendance very regularly and will inform you if we have concerns. Attendance below 85% will trigger a concern note and below 80% will be considered by the Attendance Improvement Officer.
We issue attendance records to parents at parent consultation meetings in autumn and spring.
See also: Penalty update information