Absences due to illness are unavoidable in most cases, and we know that you make every effort to get your children to school on time, each day - There are also times when a child is ill in school and we have to ask you to pick them up early. And, of course, the '48-hour rule' applies when pupils are physically sick. See this page on the government's website for information about whether you should keep your child off school.
We all know that the occasional headache or tummy ache can often soon disappear when children get into class with their friends.
But there's no getting away from the fact that good attendance and punctuality is vital to good progress. This page explains school's position in this area, and our official duties and responsibilities to the Department for Education (DfE)
There are several ways a parent or carer can inform us of absence, and of course we have to be satisfied that it's someone with parental responsibility giving us the information:
For safeguarding reasons, it really is vital that you let us know why your child is absent from school. There have been serious case reviews showing how absence from school can impact on the safety of a child, and this highlights the importance of organisations like schools knowing that children are safe and well.
If we don't hear from parents (please view our link to our Forst Day Calling procedures)
It is therefore essential that we hold up-to-date contact details. If you change your phone number or address, please let us know immediately.
There are several codes in use for recording attendance and absences. Two are recorded each day, for the morning and afternoon sessions. Here are the most common.
Looking at this from a parent's perspective, it really is essential that you let us know the reason for absence, otherwise it has to be marked on the register as an 'O'. Unauthorised absences (including code U for late arrivals after the register closes) are the reason that some parents nationwide have been fined or taken to court for their child's poor attendance.
Each term, we contact parents by telephone or face to face if we have concerns regarding attendance, if your child's attendance continues to remain low-below 90% to below 85% we send out letters to parents This may be regardless of the reasons for absence eg illness or term-time holidays. If attendance remains below 90% over time we may ask parents to attend a formal attendance review meeting in school, we will look at goals to achieve higher attendance and make a formal agreement together and thereby keeping children safe and avoiding any penalties from our LA.
In line with Government and Local Authority policy, any holidays taken in school time have to be recorded as an unauthorised absence. Our school is accountable to the DfE and Cumbria LA for attendance.
Holidays in term-time are the main reason for lower attendance, and Cumbria LA ask schools to refer absences to them for the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). We use NAHT guidance for 'exceptional circumstances' when making a decision about what is deemed authorised or unauthorised - and our reasons are closely monitored and scrutinised by those above us. We have authorised a number of days off due to exceptional circumstances (e.g. day of wedding or funeral, religious celebration etc.) but most do not fall under this category and have to be designated as unauthorised.
Absences do affect how well children do in school. 90% attendance may look reasonable., but if you stretch that out over a child's time in school, 90% from Reception to Y9 means that a child has missed a whole school year.