At St. Andrew’s we place high importance on attendance because we know that, children who attend regularly, do better than those who don’t. The Government expect that children attend school 96% or more, over the course of the year. We have procedures in place for parents to follow, and that we follow, to ensure children attend school.
The latest guidance issued by the DfE (May 2022) can be found here.
The DfE has also produced A Guide For Parents/Carers On School Attendance (December 2022)
Start Of Year Attendance Letter (September 2022)
Application For Leave of Absence Form
What to do when a child is unwell
If your child is slightly unwell, and you’re not sure if they should be in school, bring them in and see how they go. Generally, when they get to school with their friends, they usually pick up. You can always call us and ask how they are or if we feel your child is becoming more unwell, we will call you to come and pick your child up.
If your child is genuinely unwell and you feel you need to keep them off school, parents MUST call the school on the first day of absence. Choose option 1 on the school answer machine. We then expect parents to call us every day a child is off school. We ask that parents contact school to inform us of absence for two reasons:
- To notify of reason of absence. We need to know if there are lots of children off school with the same illness, like vomiting or chicken pox, so we can take extra steps to minimise risk of spread to others.
- To know a child is safe at home. There have been cases in this country where children have not turned up at school but parents think they have and schools think they’re off school sick but actually a child has had an accident, played truant or worse still, have been abducted. We take safeguarding our pupils very seriously and we will not rest until we know a child is safe at home, even if we have to make a home visit or contact police for a welfare check.
Please note: simply calling school to notify us of reason for absence does not automatically authorise an absence. If the headteacher is not confident that the information provided is factual or medical evidence is not provided, in cases where pupils are persistent absentees, then an unauthorised mark will be given. We would much rather parents were honest with us, as when parents say their child is ill but classmates tell us your child is away for a long weekend, we will still unauthorise the absence.
It is the headteachers final decision as to whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised.
If a parent does not inform school of child’s absence
If a child is off school and the parent or carer has NOT informed the school of any reason why, then this will trigger a text message to the parent/carer named as first contact, requesting that you call the school.
If a call is not made to the school, then Mr Orwin will call all numbers on the contact list until he gets an answer.
If no one answers the call, then a decision will be made as to whether a home visit is required to check the safety of the child. Mr Orwin and Mrs James will call at the house. If there is no answer, then a decision will be made as to whether a call to the police or safeguarding team is warranted.
How do we monitor attendance?
Mr Orwin checks attendance percentages, on a monthly basis.
As soon as a child dips to 95%, this will trigger an attendance planning meeting with Mr Orwin and Mrs James. At this meeting, we will discuss reasons for the low attendance and offer support to help with these. We will also set three targets for parents to work towards. One of these targets will be to provide medical evidence of illness. This could be in the form of an appointment card, letter from a doctor or medication or prescription.
When a child’s attendance drops to under 91%, this means they enter the “Persistent Absentee” category. Here, closer scrutiny of any absences will take place and a further planning meeting will be held.
Attendance Enforcement referrals
If a child has 10 unauthorised sessions (5 days) then a referral will be made to the Durham County Attendance Enforcement team. They will examine the evidence we send them and decide which action will be taken. This can be a formal warning, If the number of unauthorised absences within a 12 week period exceeds 12 sessions (6 days) then a fine for £60 will be issued. Further unauthorised absences will result in an attendance meeting and hearing, a fine (up to £1000) or a court appearance.
Holidays in term time
Parents taking children on holiday during term time, must first complete a leave of absence form and give clear reasons for the absence. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis and will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances. The decision is at the Headteacher’s discretion.
Referrals will also be made when children have 7 school days off school for holidays. These fines are £60 for each child, for each parent.
How will parents know what their child’s attendance is?
Parents and carers will receive termly updates of their child’s achievements and this will include attendance. They will also receive letters informing them of poor attendance or improved attendance.
Celebrating good attendance
At the end of each week, we announce the class with the best attendance and that class get to have Andrew Bear, the school mascot, in their class for the week.
At the end of each term, children are rewarded with a behaviour and attendance treat. Children will have to accrue a certain number of green days to be allowed on the treat trip and if they’re not at school, they can’t get their green days. Only unauthorised absences will be deducted from their total number of green days at the end of each term.
At the end of the year, children with 100% attendance, receive a trophy and a gift voucher. Some children achieve 100% for their whole primary school career, and those children receive a larger trophy and gift voucher.
We hope we can work together for excellent attendance for all pupils.
Durham County Council’s rules about holidays in term time can be viewed here and their fact sheet about penalty notices to address poor attendance here.
View our Attendance Policy 2022 to 2023
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