Leave of Absence
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 attendance 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 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 Leave of Absence Request form (available from the website or Office) to the Headteacher at least two weeks in advance of the absence.
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 which should be over 95%
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.
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 and the overall attendance is at least 95%.
Updates on Attendance
We monitor attendance very regularly and will inform you if we have concerns. Attendance below 90% 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.
Where unauthorised leave is taken, parents render themselves liable to a fixed penalty fine. More details can be found on the absence request form.
Please also see the letter to parents regarding the new legislation for attendance.