The Greville’s Attendance Policy has been produced following the Surrey guidelines and has been agreed by our Governors. You can find the full policy on the school website.
The Greville Primary School, along with other local schools and Surrey County Council, firmly believe that all pupils benefit from regular school attendance. Full and regular attendance at school is crucial for a child’s future life chances and establishes a positive work ethic early in life. To this end we will do all we can to encourage parents/carers to ensure their children achieve maximum possible attendance and that any problems that prevent full attendance are identified and acted on promptly. Pupils will be expected to achieve 100% attendance but when absence is unavoidable, parents/carers will be required to inform the school at the earliest opportunity.
Parental responsibility and the law
Parents/carers, whose children are of compulsory school age and are registered at a school, are responsible for ensuring that their children attend school regularly. If they do not do so they may be committing an offence under the Education Act 1996 and could be liable to prosecution or to be served with a penalty notice.
Under the provision of the Education Act 1996 (s434) and the Student Registration Regulations 1995 the school must keep an attendance register.
Any child who is absent from school at the morning or afternoon registration period must have their absence recorded as being authorised, unauthorised or as an approved educational activity. Only the Headteacher or a member of staff acting on their behalf can authorise absence. If there is no known reason for the absence at registration, then the absence must be recorded in the first instance as unauthorised.
Registration and Lateness
It is expected that children will arrive at school on time. The classroom is open from 8.45am and the school day begins at 8.55am, when the attendance register will be taken. If pupils arrive at school after 8.55am a late mark will be recorded and if a child arrives after 9.25am without a valid explanation, it will be recorded as ‘late after close of register’ and counted as an unauthorised absence for that session. All late pupils’ names will be recorded in the Absence Diary in case of a fire drill.
In cases of persistent late arrival to school, school will contact parents by letter.
Responding To Non-Attendance
It is the responsibility of the parent/carer to inform the school by 10.00am if a child will be absent for any reason. When a pupil does not attend school we will respond in the following way:
- If no note or telephone call is received from the parent/carer by 10.00am, the school will endeavour to contact them that day by phone.
- If there is no response the school will try to contact the parent/carer on every subsequent day of absence.
- If, by the third day there has still been no contact made, the school will send a letter of concern to parents/carers and invite them into school to discuss their concerns and the reasons for the absence.
- In line with the Education Regulations (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006, all unexplained absences of 10 days or more are required to be reported to the Local Authority.
Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is unhelpful to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually makes things worse.
In cases where a pupil begins to develop a pattern of absences, the school will try to resolve the problem with the parent/s by:
- Phone call to parent by Headteacher.
- Letter sent to parents stating concerns.
- Meeting at school with Headteacher.
Education Welfare meets with school staff on a regular basis to discuss attendance concerns. If school are unsuccessful in resolving the issues the school will refer to Education Welfare.
Persistent Absence (PA)
A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Any absence has an impact on a child’s educational achievement and we need parents’ fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.
The DfE and the Local Authority monitor the levels of PA children and levels of absence in all schools.
Attendance of all pupils is tracked and monitored carefully through class teachers noting attendance patterns.
Parents will be informed on a regular basis of their child’s attendance
Request for leave of absence
In normal circumstances holiday requests will be considered to be unauthorised leave of absence. Any appeal will be heard by the Governing Body, whose decision will be final.
All other requests for leave will be considered on a case by case basis by the Governing Body that may, at its discretion, delegate some decisions to the Headteacher. Again, the decision of the Governing Body will be final.
If a family needs to request absence in term-time then an Application for Leave of Absence in Exceptional Circumstances Form must, wherever possible, be completed prior to the leave date and preferably at least two weeks before. This form can be obtained from the website or the school office. Holidays taken without the permission of the Governing Body may result in legal action being taken against each parent.
Dental and medical treatments
Whilst the school will grant requests for absence for dental and medical treatments, parents/carers are encouraged, whenever possible, to book medical and dental appointments outside of the school day. When appointments during school hours are unavoidable, the school office or class teacher should be notified in advance in writing, of the date and time of the appointment and when the child will be collected and/or returned to school. Evidence of the appointment may be requested.
The Education Welfare Service, acting on behalf of Surrey County Council may issue a Penalty Notice as an alternative to the prosecution of a parent/carer for their child’s unauthorised absence from school and requires the recipient to pay a fixed amount.
The amount payable on issue of a Penalty Notice is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If the Penalty Notice is not paid within 28 days, the Local Authority must prosecute the parent/carer for failing to ensure regular school attendance under Section 444 Education Act 1996.
Circumstances when a Penalty Notice may be issued
Education Welfare may issue a Penalty Notice to parents/carers who are failing to secure their child’s regular school attendance and are not engaging with supportive measures to improve attendance proposed by the school or Education Welfare Officer.
Where a child is taken out of school for a holiday during term time for 5 days or more without the authority of the head teacher, each parent is liable to receive a penalty notice for each child. In these circumstances, a warning will not be given where it can be shown that parents had previously been warned that such absences would not be authorised.
Pupils identified by police and education welfare officers engaged on Truancy Patrols and who have incurred unauthorised absences.
Where attendance has fallen below 90% and there are no less than 10 unauthorised sessions during the half-term (this can include late arrival after the close of registration where the U symbol has been used denoting unauthorised absence). The lateness will be recorded in accordance with the ’Registration and Lateness’ section of this policy.
With the exception of unauthorised holidays taken in term time, parents will be sent a formal warning of their liability to receive such a notice before it is issued.
Education Welfare monitors the attendance of all children on a regular basis. The Inclusion Officer (IO) will work with school staff and parents to promote good attendance and investigate reasons for absence.
If attendance problems cannot be resolved by school, then the school will make a referral to Education Welfare. The IO will try to resolve the situation but if attempts to improve attendance have failed, but unauthorised absence persists, the IO can use sanctions such as parenting contracts, penalty notices and prosecution.
Failure to ensure regular school attendance, under section 444 of the Education Act 1996, could result upon conviction in a magistrate’s court, to a fine not exceeding £2500 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both.