Regular and punctual school attendance is vital if students are to maximise opportunities and reach their full potential.
We appreciate the support of parents and carers in encouraging their children to attend regularly and if there are any school related issues that may impact on this we have a number of support options and strategies within school to help overcome these.
Clearly attendance at school is crucial and, as you would expect, performance data shows that there is an absolute link between attendance patterns and achievement; quite simply those students who have the highest attendance rates do best. It is worth remembering that if, for whatever reason, a child misses 10 days of school in a term, he or she will miss 50 teaching periods (this will include 7 English lessons, 7 Maths lessons and at KS4, 9 Science lessons) and, despite everyone’s best intentions and efforts, this time can never be made up.
We have a duty to remind parents of the following:
Section 444(A) of the Education Act 1996 empowers the local authority to issue Penalty Notices in cases of unauthorised absence from school. This means that when a pupil has unauthorised absence of 10 sessions (5 days) or more, in any term (where no acceptable reason has been given for the absence) or if their child persistently arrives late for school after the close of registration, their parents or carers may receive a Penalty Notice fine of £60, which must be paid within 21 days. If payment is made after 21 days but within 28 days, the penalty is increased to £120. Where a fine remains unpaid after 28 days, the matter will be referred to the Magistrate’s Court to instigate criminal proceedings.
In law, an offence occurs if a parent or carer fails to secure a child’s regular attendance at school. Tameside Education Welfare Service, in conjunction with schools and Greater Manchester Police, will use these powers as an early deterrent to prevent patterns of unauthorised absence developing.
Parents may also receive a Penalty Notice without a warning letter for the offence of failing to secure regular school attendance if they go on holiday in term time. Due to changes in legislation effective from September 2013, the Head teacher no longer has the discretion to authorise holidays during term time.
If you require leave of absence for your child due to exceptional circumstances then please write to Mrs R Anderson, Senior Leader for Safeguarding, explaining the reason for the request.
If a parent chooses to take their child on holiday during term time for 5 days or more, then school will refer to the Local Authority and a Penalty Notice will be issued.
The Education and Inspections Act 2006 also makes it an offence if a parent fails to ensure that their child is not in a public place during the first 5 days of a fixed term or permanent exclusion. Penalty Notices may be issued in relation to this matter.
Arriving late at school
The school day commences at 8.20am and any student who arrives after 8.25am will be given a late mark in the register. The register officially closes at 9.45am and after that time students will be given a mark that shows that they are in school but it will be classed as an unauthorised absence.
Medical appointments during the school day
If a student has a medical appointment first thing in the morning and comes into school afterwards, depending on the time that they arrive, they will be given either a late mark or a medical mark which is classed as an authorised absence for the morning session. A student can come into school first thing and sign out for an appointment and still get their attendance mark as long as they are back in school for the afternoon registration period.
In order to reduce absenteeism, I would be grateful if all parents could note the following:
- Consider whether any absence is absolutely necessary, minor ailments do not always warrant time of school.
- Please make any medical appointments for after school. Where this is not possible, students should attend school before and after the appointment and not simply take the whole morning or afternoon off.
- Clearly all students must attend days when we have an early closure and finish at lunchtime. Students actually only miss one lesson (we have four lessons in the morning and one in the afternoon) but in the past some parents have kept their child off for the day.
- Unless absolutely essential, avoid any holidays in term time.
- In the past some parents have kept a child off school to go shopping, have a haircut or because it is their birthday. Clearly reasons such as this are unacceptable.
If your child is too poorly to attend school or they are going to be absent for any other reason, please contact school at the earliest opportunity and send a note on their return. This enables us to authorise the absence on the register, otherwise the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.
If you would like to discuss your child’s attendance or have any issues that you would like to clarify, please contact Mrs G Gallagher, Student Welfare and family Liaison Officer or your child's Progress Leader.
Thank you again for your continuing support.
Senior Leader for Safeguarding