01799 550300 admin@clavering.essex.sch.uk
Clavering Primary School

Objectives

  • To encourage full attendance and punctuality.
  • To record and monitor absenteeism and apply appropriate strategies to minimise 
its occurrence.
  • To ensure consistency of procedures throughout the School.
  • To comply with statutory laws and DfE guidance.

Clavering Primary School is committed to providing a broad and balanced education for all pupils. We believe that if pupils are to benefit from education then good attendance is crucial. As a school we will do all that we can to ensure maximum attendance for all pupils. Any problems that prevent full attendance will be identified and addressed as speedily as possible.

As stated in our school vision we aim to offer every child a challenging education through effective teaching with high expectations of achievement. This can only be achieved through regular and punctual attendance. We recognise that parents/carers have a vital role to play in ensuring this. There is, consequently, a need to establish strong home-school links and communication systems that can be used to promote good attendance.

If there are problems which affect a pupil’s attendance then we will investigate, identify and strive in partnership with parents/carers, pupils and outside agencies (if necessary) to resolve those problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. We will adopt a clearly focussed approach aimed at returning the pupil to full attendance.

School Attendance and the Law 
Absence

Under the 1996 Education Act, parent/carers are responsible for ensuring their children attend school regularly and punctually. Failure to do so could result in legal action being taken against them by the Local Authority.

All pupils are expected to attend school for the full 190 days of the academic year, unless there is a good reason for absence. There are two types of absence;

  • Authorised – Where the school approves pupil absence e.g. illness or sporting event
  • Unauthorised – Where the school will not approve absence

If a child is absent, the parent/carers should call the school on the first day of absence as soon as possible or at least before 9.30 am stating a reason. The school will then decide whether or not the absence can be authorised. If authorisation were to be refused, for instance if a child was kept off school for a birthday, then the parent/carers would be informed.

Under the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006, only the school and not parent/carer can authorise an absence. Where the reason for a pupil’s absence cannot be established at the time the register is taken, that absence shall be recorded as unauthorised. If a reason for absence is provided by the parent/carer, the school may decide to grant leave of absence which must be recorded as authorised using the appropriate national code.

If parents/carers do not contact the school explaining the child’s absence, the School will contact the home by telephone on the first day, following this with a letter after 3 days of unexplained absence.

Monitoring of Absence

All absence is rigorously monitored by the class teacher, attendance officer, office staff, Headteacher and if necessary the Missing Education and Child Employment Service Officer. If a child records more than 8 sessions (4 days) of consecutive or non-consecutive absence in a half term and no plausible explanation is available then a letter will be sent to the parents/carers explaining that their child has an unusually high level of absenteeism.

Lateness

Poor punctuality is not acceptable, school begins at 8.50 am and all pupils are expected to be in class for registration at this time. Once the registers have been called they will be sent to the office. Any child arriving at school after the register has been called will be recorded as late. If the child arrives after the playground gate has been closed at 8.50 am they should enter via the main entrance reporting to the School office. If the child is accompanied by a parent/carer they should give a reason for the lateness and record it in the ‘Late Book’.  This where necessary, will be recorded in the register. Lateness can only be recorded up to 9.15 am. After this time the absence is recorded as unauthorised, with the time of arrival being noted.

If a parent has provided evidence of a forthcoming medical appointment and their child arrives back in school before morning break (10.30 a.m.) or arrives before 1.30p.m. for the afternoon session they are to be marked down as late. A note of the appointment will be entered into the register and on Integris. Arrival after these times will be marked down as a medical appointment which is an authorised absence but will affect a child’s overall absence. After this time the absence is recorded as unauthorised, with the time of arrival being noted.

These procedures are in line with DfE guidance. Persistent unauthorised absence will result in action by the Headteacher and/or the Missing Education and Child Employment Service Officer to resolve the problem.

Parents/carers can approach the school at any time if they are having problems getting their child to school on time. We will encourage good punctuality by being good role models to our pupils and celebrate good class punctuality.

Persistent Absenteeism (PA)

As from September 2015 a pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parent’s fullest support and co-operation to tackle this. We monitor all absence thoroughly. Any case that is seen to have reached the PA mark or is at risk of moving towards that mark is given priority and parents will be informed of this immediately.

PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully we also combine this with academic tracking where absence affects attainment. All our PA pupils and their parents are subject to an Action Plan and the plan may include: allocation of additional support through the School Nurse, Learning Mentor or Missing Education and Child Employment Service Officer. We may also use circle time, individual incentive programmes, individual targets and participation in group activities around raising attendance.

Leave of Absence during Term Time

Taking your child out of school during term time could be detrimental to your child’s educational progress. There is no entitlement to parents to take their child out of school during term time. If absence is required for exceptional circumstances parents/carers may apply to the school for leave of absence. Agreement to each request is at the discretion of the Headteacher, acting on behalf of the Governing Body (Pupil Registration Regulations 2006).

Leave of absence forms can be obtained from the school office and all requests should be submitted to the school at the earliest opportunity or at least two weeks before the first day of intended absence. If authorisation is refused the parents/carers will be informed in writing.

If the absence is not authorised and the child is taken out of school, the case will be referred to the Missing Education and Child Employment Service on the child’s return to school to decide what action to take. A fine could be issued to each parent, for each child of £60.00 each.  These actions are enforceable under the ‘Penalty Notices for Parent/carers of Truants’ law, October 2004.

A pupil’s absence during term time can seriously disrupt their continuity of learning. Not only do they miss the teaching provided on the days they are away but also on their return they are unprepared for those lessons which build on learning they have missed. There is a consequent risk of underachievement, which the school and parent/carer, must seek to avoid.

Registers

The register is a legal document and schools must, under the Education Pupil Registration Regulations 2006 take a register at the start of the morning session, and again during the afternoon session. The register shows whether the pupil is present, engaged in an approved educational activity off-site or absent. Since September 2006, schools have been required to use statutory registration codes (see below).

Registers are important because:

  • They are legal documents which may be required in a court of law;
  • They provide a daily record of attendance for all pupils and this information can 
act as an early warning system for various areas of the child’s welfare;
  • They contribute information to the pupils’ annual reports.

If a pupil of compulsory school age is absent the register must show whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised.

  • Authorised absence is where the school has given approval in advance for a pupil of compulsory school age to be away, or has accepted an explanation offered afterwards as a satisfactory justification for the absence.
  • All other absences must be treated as 
unauthorised

Registers are required to be marked in ink and not easily erased. All alterations should 
be visible and explained.

  • Red diagonal line to denote presence;
  • Black circle with the correct symbol recorded inside to denote authorised 
absence;
  • Black circle with ‘u’ inside to denote unauthorised absence;
  • No Tippex;
  • No pencil or pencil crayon;
  • Date & month to be recorded at the top of the weekly columns;
  • Receipt of letters are to be recorded in the registers;
  • Lateness and the results of any enquiry are to be recorded.

Register Symbols (printed on registers)

I           Illness, unfit for School

L          Late, prior to 9.15 am

U         Late after registers have closed (9.15 am)

H         Authorised leave of Absence

G         Unauthorised leave of Absence

M         Medical/dental/hospital

P         Approved sporting activity

R         Day of religious observance in the religious body to which the parent/carers belong

V         Educational visit

E         Formally excluded

B         Receiving education at an off site unit

J          Interview e.g. Secondary School

C         Other circumstances (to be specified)

Y         Enforced closure eg snow

X         Non-compulsory school age absence eg agreed mornings only

O         Unauthorised absence (not covered by any code eg EWO instruction)

Annual Reports

The school produces an annual school report for every child, part of this report is an attendance summary

Each child’s attendance can be summarised as:

96%+ Excellent – Well done! This will help all aspects of their progress and life in school. This will give them a good start in life and supports a positive work ethic.
94-95% Average – Well done, strive to build on this.
85-93% Poor – Absence is now affecting attainment and progress at school. Please work with the school urgently to improve the situation.
Below 85% Unacceptable – Absence IS causing SERIOUS CONCERN. It IS affecting attainment and progress and is disrupting your child’s learning. We will work with you and The Missing Education and Child Employment Service Officer [EWO] to improve your child’s attendance. Permitting absence from school without a good reason is an offence by the parent. Only the school can ‘authorise’ absence.

Attendance Targets

Each school has an annual attendance target set by the Local Authority and monitored by the Governors. It is expected that the whole School community will work together to achieve this target.

Attainment is strongly linked to attendance, and research has shown that if pupils are to be successful learners, they must attend school regularly.

Missing Education and Child Employment Service Officer (EWO)

  • Works with schools and families to promote good attendance;
  • Carries out statutory duties on behalf of the Local Authority to ensure 
parent/carers/carers/carers fulfil their legal requirements in relation to school attendance.

The school may refer a pupil to Missing Education and Child Employment Service (EWS) where attendance remains a concern following school intervention. The EWS will work with schools and families to address attendance issues. However, if attendance fails to improve, legal action may be taken against parent/carers

What can parents/carers do to help?

  • Let the school know as soon as possible why your child is away (before 9.30 am on the first day of absence);
  • Try to make appointments outside school time;
  • Book holidays during holiday periods;
  • Do not allow your child to have time off school unless it is really necessary.

If you are worried about your child’s attendance at school what can you do?

  • Talk to your child, it may be something simple;
  • Talk to your child’s Class Teacher or the Headteacher.

If absence continues to cause a concern…

  • The school will talk with the parents/carers;
  • The school may refer to the Missing Education and Child Employment Service;
  • The school may refer to Social Services (See Child Protection Policy)

You may contact the Missing Education and Child Employment Service Officer, who will work with you and the 
school to resolve the situation. (Number available from the school office)

Further Guidance

Pupil Illness Guidance for Parents: Guidance on Infection Control in Schools – [Download]

Forthcoming changes to Essex Penalty Notice of Code of Conduct for unauthorised leave of absence from September 2015 – [Download]

Forthcoming changes to the Persistent Absence Threshold from September 2015 – [Download]