Attendance and reporting Absence
Reasons for absence
Children are allowed to be absent from school through ill-health, medical treatment, religious observance, education elsewhere, special circumstances approved by the Headteacher. Absence for reasons other than those allowed is classified as an unauthorised absence and is recorded as such against the child’s annual rate of attendance.
There is no authorisation given for holidays taken in school time unless deemed to be in exceptional circumstances. Common examples are where parents are members of the armed forces or emergency services where leave is fixed, or where written evidence can be produced from employers stating that holiday leave can only be granted in term time dates. Application for leave of absence should be made on the form obtained from the school office. Every application will be considered on its own merits. A decision will be provided in writing. The criteria used is imposed by government legislation and has been agreed by the Bewdley pyramid of schools.
Notifying school of absence
Where a child is absent for one of the allowed reasons and this is known in advance parents should provide written notice of the absence prior to the start of the absence. This prior notice will be entered onto the electronic register.
Where an absence is not known in advance the parents have a responsibility to communicate the absence to the school on the first day of absence. There is a dedicated option on the school answerphone to leave messages explaining the absence. Office staff will enter the appropriate code for the absence on the child’s record. If the illness/reason for absence is such that a longer period of time is needed parents should keep the school informed either by letter or phone calls. Parents may wish to send in a letter to the class teacher explaining an absence, on the child’s return. Where notice of absence is not received by 9.30am the school will contact the parents by phone to enquire about the reason for absence. If no contact is made by the parent in response, the absence will be marked as unauthorised.
- Half termly meetings are held between the School Attendance Officer and the Headteacher to identify any persistent absentees or any pattern of absence or lateness which might give cause for concern.
- Parents of pupils whose attendance falls below 90% will be informed of the school’s concern and the pupil will be monitored. (Letter1) If the absences are unauthorised the case will be referred to the EIS (Education Investigation Service)
- If attendance falls below 85% parents will be issued with a second letter inviting them in for a meeting with the Headteacher to discuss ways of improving attendance and how the school may best support the child. (letter 2)
- If parents persistently fail to inform the school of the reason for their child’s absence they will be sent a letter informing them that all future absences will be unauthorised unless medical evidence is provided. (Letter 3)
- If there are more than five days unauthorised absences by taking an unauthorised holiday, and the pupil has attendance of below 90% the E. I. S will be informed and both parents will be issued with penalty notices. Parents will be warned of this (Letter 4)
- In extreme cases where persistent absence is recorded, penalty notices have been issued and the school cannot offer any more support, the E I S will proceed to prosecute.
Punctuality is important in providing an effective start to the day and developing children’s responsibility for their learning. It is a key responsibility of parents to ensure their child is ready for school at the start of the day.
Where children are late once or twice a week for a number of weeks the school Attendance Officer will issue a letter expressing concern at the lateness. Where there is a persistent pattern of lateness the parents will be invited to discuss the matter with the head teacher.
All lateness after registration has closed i.e. after 9.15am must have a written reason for lateness in the school late book. This late arrival will be classed as an absence. Where a pattern of lateness after registration closes persists the head teacher will refuse to accept the reason and the lateness will be recorded as unauthorised absence, in accordance with national instructions.
Recording of Absences and Lateness
This is recorded on the electronic SIMS system. Codes and comments can be entered by the class teacher or the Office staff. The most common codes are
- I – illness
- M – medical/dental appointment
- C – other authorised circumstance eg funeral, family crisis, transport
- L – late before registration closes (number of minutes late can be noted)
- U – late after registration closes i.e. after 9.15 (deemed unauthorised by headteacher)
Promoting Good Attendance
100% attendance for each term is rewarded with a certificate and a small prize. 100% attendance for the whole school year is rewarded with a certificate and a gift voucher.