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Reach 2

Woodside
Primary Academy

Policy

Woodside Attendance Policy

 

1 . Introduction

The   key   principles   which   underpin   Woodside   Primary   Academy   procedures   for   managing attendance   are   that,   regular   and   punctual   attendance   is   key   to   the   academic   and   social development of pupils. This will improve the life chances of children and young people; children and young people who attend school regularly and punctually are less likely to be at risk, both in terms of engaging in anti-social behaviour and in terms of their own health and safety and welfare.

 

This attendance policy is aimed to support Woodside Primary Academy to build on our capacity to improve regular school attendance and attendance practice within our school.

The underpinning principles are to:

  • challenge  /  interrogate  our  own  data  to  identify  patterns  and  vulnerable  groups  /  pupils
  • embed  good  attendance  practice  within   School,  at  all  levels  involving  all  stakeholders  and Governors;
  • work with individual pupils and their families to assess and respond to their educational needs and to ensure that young people do not remain disenfranchised from the educational system;
  • engage  with  other  agencies,  both  statutory  and  voluntary,  to  ensure  that  the  welfare  and protection of all young people remains paramount;
  • ensure  that  all  young  people  have  access  to  educational  provision  suitable  to  age,  ability, aptitude and any special educational needs that they may have;
  • respond to the educational needs of vulnerable groups and ensure that the safeguarding of all pupils remains at the forefront of all considerations;
  • use resources provided to support pupil attendance.

These attendance  procedures set out the requirements  for schools and other educational settings for the management of pupil attendance and absence. They reflect statutory requirements and the most recent guidance from the DFE.

 

Regular  school  attendance  is  crucial  if  a  child  at  Woodside  Primary  Academy  is  to  achieve  their  full potential. It is important for a child to attend school regularly. If they are not in school they are unlikely to  be  learning  and  gaining  the  maximum  benefit  from  their  education.  Research  shows  that  raising pupil attendance in schools will contribute to raising achievement.

 

We  expect  all  our  children  to  attend  school,  on  time  every  day,  unless  the  reason  for  absence  is unavoidable.

 

As a school we would like to have 100% attendance daily! However the government allow for some absence due to illness/emergencies. With this in mind we allow for at least 96% child attendance each term. Attendance targets are shared with children, staff and parents.

 

Children  with  known  irregular  school  attendance  prior  to  starting  at  Woodside  Primary  Academy have this issue discussed with them and their parents/guardian when they are first invited to visit the school.

 

2 . Responsibility for Good Attendance at Woodside Primary Academy

Parents, Guardians and Pupils

Parents and guardians of children of compulsory school age are legally required to ensure that they receive a full-time education. Parents and guardians are also responsible for informing the school of any absence as soon as possible, which should be on the first day of the absence. This can be done by telephoning the school, by personal contact to the school office or by note or letter. They should state the reason for absence and when the child is expected to return to school. Pupils are expected to  attend  school  regularly  and  to  arrive  at  school  punctually.  Persistent  lateness  can  be  seen  as absence  and  is  managed  in  the  same  way  as  poor  attendance  by  Woodside  Primary  Academy. Parents  and  guardians  should  ensure  that  children  arrive  at  school  prepared  to  take  part  in  the school day.

 

It  is  parents/guardian  legal  responsibility  to  ensure  that  their  children  receive  efficient  full  time education.  This  extends  beyond  ensuring  regular  and  punctual  attendance  and  requires  that  the child  is  in  a  fit  state  to  learn.   It  is  the  Headship  Team  and  governors,  not  the  parents,  who  can determine what constitutes authorised absence.  A parent may submit a note or other notification in relation to a particular absence but this does not oblige the school to accept it as a valid reason for absence.  If doubt remains, the absence will be treated as unauthorised. Where parentally condoned unjustified absence  appears to  be  a problem  in relation to  a particular pupil the Borough may  be notified.

 

The school may authorise absences for appointments during the school day, retrospectively where it is satisfied as to the explanation offered but is required to treat absences of pupils of compulsory school age without valid reason or for which no explanation has been provided as unauthorised.

 

In  addition,  excessive  amounts  of  authorised  absence  are  recognised  as  seriously  disrupting  the continuity  of  learning  and  encouraging  disaffection  at  a  later  stage.    Any  patterns  for  individual pupils or families emerging during monitoring will be investigated.

 

The  school  will  generally  do  everything  it  can  to  encourage  good  attendance,  but  the  prime responsibility remains with the parent/guardian.

 

First day of absence calling

The  School  expects  all  parents  and  guardians  to  ensure  that  they  advise  the  school  every  day  of absence.  In  the  instances  that  parents  and  guardians  fail  to  do  so,  the  Attendance  Officer  will attempt  to  contact  the  parent  or  guardian  by  telephone  at  least  twice  (all  contacts).  If  contact cannot be made, a follow up call/text the next day will happen.

 

Promoting  good  attendance  is  the  responsibility  of  the  whole  school  community  at  Woodside Primary Academy.

 

The  school  has  a  duty  to  publish  its  absence  figures  to  parents  and  guardians  to  promote attendance.  Equally,  parents  and  guardians  have  a  duty  to  make  sure  that  their  children  attend school regularly.

 

Ensuring Good Attendance

Staff and governors are committed to working with parents and guardians to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible.

 

Permitting absence from school without a good reason is an offence by the parent and guardian.

 

If  a  child  is  absent  from  School,  the  absence  is  categorised  by  the  school  as  either  authorised  or unauthorised. Only the school can authorise an absence not the parents or guardian.

 

Ethos

The  school  use  the  mind  set  formed  from  our  7  Life  Values  (Woodside  Primary  Academy’s  own values)  and  the  7  Habits  (adapted  from  ‘The  Leader  In  Me’  -  Steven  Covey),  as  a  part  of  the attendance framework to create good attendance behaviours.

 

Be proactive - Habit 1 (Pupils are to play an active part in attending school)

Begin with the end in mind - Habit 2 (Develop an early awareness of the importance of coming to school)

Put first things first - Habit 3 (Be organised and plan ahead to be punctual)

 

Pupil Leadership Board

To ensure that pupils at Woodside Primary Academy contribute and understand the importance of regular school attendance this policy will be reviewed by the Pupil Leadership Board.

 

Pupils at School are very aware of the link between good attendance and achieving. They appreciate the   staff   incentives   for   good,   improved   attendance   and  punctuality.  Rewards   are   given  and certificates for good attendance and most improved attendance.

 

Governors

The governing body of School have a responsibility for attendance at School. This is delegated on a daily  basis  through  the  Headteacher,  Heads  of  School,  Senior  Leadership  Team,  Teachers  and  the Attendance team. Governors regularly monitor the effectiveness of attendance policy and practice.

 

School Attendance Leader

The designated Attendance Lead is responsible for absence at School.

 

Each  week,  children  with  punctuality  and  attendance  concerns  (at  risk  children)  are  identified. Investigations are made to understand the nature of the problems, identifying how the school can support  parents  in  meeting  their  legal  responsibility.  The  School  Attendance  Officers  then  liaises with  the  parent/guardian  in  the  first  instance  and  external  agencies  including,  EP  (Educational Psychologists), Social Care and Early Help if the situation is not resolved

 

Attendance Thresholds

 

3. Authorised Absence

This is defined as:

  • When  a  child  is  absent  as  a  result  of  illness  and  an  acceptable  explanation  has  been received
  • Religious Observance (as defined in the exemptions list)
  • Where a child has had a fixed term exclusion from school
  • Medical/dental    appointments    (sight    of    appointment    card    should    be    requested).​​​​​Appointments   should   be   made   outside   of   school   hours   wherever   possible   and   the minimum amount of time should be taken.
  • Exceptional circumstances (unavoidable absence)

 

4. Unauthorised Absence

An  unauthorised  absence  is  where  the  school  does  not  consider  the  absence  to  be  reasonable  or where  no  reason  has  been  given.  It  is  a  parent/carer  legal  duty  to  make  sure  their  child/ren  is  in school.

 

If  a  child  is  not  present  at  the  start  of  the  day  and  the  school  has  not  been  notified  of  this beforehand the AO will telephone the child’s home immediately to ascertain the reason for absence.

 

If  an  absence  is  not  due  to  sickness  or  some  other  circumstance  (i.e.  it  is  unauthorised)  then  a referral can be made to the School Nurse or Local Authority.

 

All  absence  by  children  on  Social  Services  Child  Protection  Register/Cause  for  concern  list  will  be counted as Unauthorised and referred to the CP Officer who will take necessary action.

 

Prolonged absence (more than 3 days) for medical reasons will require medical evidence (in addition to parental notes). This can be a medical certificate or a copy of the prescription. Over the counter medicines will not be sufficient proof.

 

Where attendance has fallen to 90% and below the member of SLT can request that medical proof is provided so that the absence can be authorised. Parents will meet with the assigned SLT member beforehand  to  discuss  this.    Failure  to  provide  medical  proof  will  result  in  the  absence  being unauthorised.

 

The criteria that the school will apply to determine 'exceptional' is a circumstance that has  unique and  significant  emotional,  educational  or  spiritual  value  to  the  child,  which  outweighs  the  loss  of teaching  time.  This  interpretation  will  have  different  parameters  from  one  case  to  another,  each individual request will be considered on its merits.

 

Parents will meet  with  a Head of School to discuss the request  and a decision will be  given if the leave of absence is to be authorised. In line with Pupil Regulations the Head’s decision is final.

 

No  authorisation  for  leave  of  absence  can  be  given  retrospectively,  which  means  that  permission must always be sought beforehand.

 

In the event that there is an absence after a school holiday, the school will need to see proof, in the terms of a medical certificate or flight delay. The school will decide if the absence will be authorised or unauthorised.

 

 

In  the  event  that  leave  for  exceptional  absence  is  granted,  any  further  days  of  absence  will  be regarded  as  unauthorised.  The  school  must  be  informed  in  all  instances  and  where  the  cause  is sickness  a  doctor’s  certificate  must  be  produced.  Failure  to  advise  the  school  may  result  in  their name being removed from the school roll and the Local Authority will be informed.

 

Request for absence during term-time process

 

Publications of Attendance Data

DfE data returns will be produced from the relevant data base in accordance with advice issued by the DfE and the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

 

5. Sanctions for an Unauthorised Absence without Permission

 

If a child’s  attendance falls below 95.8%  in any term without good reason, a parent  can receive  a Penalty Notice or prosecution under the Education Act 1995.8 Section 444 or the Headteacher has not authorised the absence request as detailed above:

 

  • Fixed Penalty Notices

Under  Section  23  of  the  Anti-Social  behaviour  Act  2003,  Local  Authorities  are  required  to  issue penalty Notices to the parent/carer of a child who has irregular attendance, where the  absence is unauthorized by the school.

 

A Fixed Penalty Notice will be issued for unauthorised leave of absence by the Attendance Officer. This will incur a fine per child and per parent being imposed, if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice. This will rise per child and per parent if paid after 21 days but within 28 days of receipt.

 

  • Court Proceedings

If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 28 days, the Local Authority may prosecute and the parent and guardian may receive a criminal record. This prosecution is for the offence of failing to secure  attendance  at  school.  Prosecutions  are  brought  under  Section  444  of  the  Education  Act 1995.8.

 

The Attendance Officer can also make an application to the Local Magistrates Court to action court proceedings  to  prosecute  parents  or  to  seek  an  Education  Supervision  Order  on  the  child.  The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of £2,500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.

 

6. Children Missing Education (CME)

All  children  of  compulsory  school  age,  regardless  of  their  circumstances,  are  entitled  to  an efficient, full time education which is suitable to their age, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have. ‘Children missing education’ are those who are not registered at a school, not  receiving  a  suitable  education  otherwise  (i.e.  Elective  Home  Education  or  alternative provision),  are  not  regularly  attending  the  school  where  they  are  a  registered  pupil  or  cease attending and/or their whereabouts or destination school is unknown. These children can be at significant risk of underachieving, being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation and in later life becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).

 

Tracking and Monitoring

Information sharing between parents, schools, the community and the local authority is therefore crucial  to  ensure  that  these  children  are  kept  safe  and  are  receiving  the  education  they  are entitled to. In accordance with DfE Statutory guidance, Children Missing Education (Sept 2016) the Local Authority has effective tracking and enquiry systems in place and an appointed named person to whom  schools, other agencies and the public can make referrals regarding children who they believe are missing from education. Joint reasonable enquiries can then be made as quickly as possible by schools and the LA. Joint working  arrangements are also in place with agencies and services such as, Housing, Health, the Police, and other local authorities.

 

Other LA Responsibilities

The local authority also has other duties and powers to support their work on CME which include:

  • making arrangements to establish (wherever possible) the identities of children in the area who are not registered pupils at a school and who are not receiving a suitable education otherwise (e.g. Elective Home Education - EHE)
  • arranging education for permanently excluded pupils from the sixth day
  • safeguarding children’s welfare and the duty to protect them from harm and neglect
  • serving Notices and issuing School Attendance Orders to parent/carer(s) who fail to evidence that  their  child  is  receiving  a  suitable  education  by  registering  at  a  school  or  otherwise. Pursuing a prosecution or an Education Supervision Order for those who do not comply with the Order
  • issuing   a   Penalty   Notice,   pursue   an   Education   Supervision   Order   or   prosecution   of parent/carer(s)  who  fail  to  ensure  that  their  child(ren)  attend  regularly  at  the  school  or alternative educational provision where they are a registered pupil

 

Who should be notified of a child missing education?

Waltham Forest BACME-referral@walthamforest .go.uk

Gurpinder Sansi (Bahaviour, Attendance and child missing in Education)

Tel: 0208495.81719    |     Email: Gurpinder.needgan@walthamforest.waltham.sch.uk

 

7. Registers

Registers are to be completed each day by the class teacher.

 

Registration  periods  at  the  start  of  morning  and  afternoon  sessions  will  be  between  the  times  of 8:50-9:00  Forest, and  9:00  –  9:10  Bridge. Registers  should  be  completed  promptly  between  these times on the computer (in the event of technical issues, the class teacher must make sure to send a paper copy of the register to the office to be register in the computer). Afternoon registers must be completed when the class is back from lunch.

 

Any pupil arriving after 8:45am Forest and 9:00 Bridge will need report to the office and collect a late Slip. Late slips are used for clarification that a child has arrived via the office and has been signed in at  the  office  by  parent/guardian.  Failure  to  sign  in  your  child  means  they  will  not  receive  their morning registration and therefore be seen as absent. For safeguarding reasons this is essential.  Any child who walks to school alone and comes to school late will receive a phone call home from the office.

 

If a child arrives after 8:50am on Forest and 9:05 on Bridge he or she will be marked late (L) in the Register. If a child arrives after the register closes at 9:20am Forest or 9:30 Bridge he or she will be marked as an authorised absence (U) in the Register.

 

Continuous  lateness  will  be  monitored,  followed  by  a  meeting  with  AO  and  if  no  improvement referred to the Local Authority and fixed penalty notice will occur.

 

All  messages  received  regarding  absence  will  be  recorded,  verbal  and  telephone  messages  are acceptable.    The  messages  will  be  recorded  in  SIMs  so  the  class  teacher  can  see  the  reasons provided. Any letters or notes received by the teacher will be sent to the office to be kept in a file.  In addition, any verbal messages given to them will be recorded in the system or it will be passed to an office  member.   Where  a  child  is  sent home   ill   by   authorisation   of   the   office staff/Headship team this will be recorded as “I” and noted in the register.

 

The office reception staff will contact parents and guardian each morning if their son or daughter has not arrived at School.

 

8. Rewarding Good Attendance and punctuality

 

Attendance: Rewards

Attendance   Pyramid   –   Each   class   has   an   attendance   pyramid   which   monitors   their   overall percentages.

  • Green – 95.8% above   Yellow – 91%-95.9%    Red - 90 % and below.
  • Weekly  Attendance  Assembly  -  AHT  acknowledges  the  class  with  the  highest  number  of  pupils above 95.8%.
  • End of the Term – Pupils will be presented with a prize and a certificate for 95.8% and above.
  • End of the Year – The class with the highest amount of pupils in Green, (95.8% and above) these pupils will receive a class prize / trip.

 

Punctuality

Good  punctuality  is  essential  in  order  for  a  child  to  achieve  high  attainment  and  improved behaviour.

  • AO keeps accurate records of lateness.
  • After 5 days late Attendance Officer will send a letter home regarding lateness.
  • Express  how  much  the  school  cares  about  children  being  punctual  for  school  each  day  and how much a child’s learning/class is disrupted due to another child being late.

 

 

Continued Poor Punctuality

  • Parents /Guardian to be invited into school to discuss the issue.
  • Pupil  Tracker  to  be  shared  with  parent  and  completed  by  the  child  (prior)/parent  in  the meeting
  • Where  necessary  the  Attendance  Officer may  refer  the  case to Local Authority, which could occur a fixed penalty notice.

 

Continued Poor Attendance will lead to a School Attendance Panel Meeting.

Objectives - The Attendance Officer

  • Refers to statutory agencies (for example, Local Authority, Early Help, Youth Offending Service, Police, Social Care, Housing) to ensure the welfare of all children and young people at  School.
  • Work with parent and guardians, children and young people, employing a casework approach, to improve attendance through early intervention and utilising a continuum of support.
First Day Calling: AO makes a telephone call to the family home/contact as early in the day as possible for each unexplained absence.

First Attendance Letter from School/Provision: (attendance falls under 95.8%)

  • To parent informing of the deterioration in attendance levels.
  • Remind parent of school’s target levels for attendance and the negative effect of irregular attendance on learning.
  • Require the parent to provide an explanation and comment on the period of absence.
  • Discuss the likelihood of referral to the Education Welfare Service unless improvement is made.

Second Attendance Letter from School/Provision: (Attendance has fallen under 90%)

  • Invite parents to attend a school based meeting with Office Manager.
  • Inform parent that if there is not an improvement a referral will be made to the Local Authority.

The Attendance Officer:

  • Woodside Notification of Parental Responsibility Letter.

The Attendance Officer:

  • Makes a referral to the Local Authority who will issue a Notification of Parental Responsibility Letter.

The Attendance Officer:

  • Will  send  an  invitation  to  the  parent  and  other  professionals  to  attend  a  School  Attendance  Panel Meeting.
  • The Education Welfare Officer will prepare a written report for the School Attendance Panel Meeting.

School Attendance Panel Meeting:

  • A  Head  of  School  will  chair  the  Woodside  Attendance  Panel  Meeting  and  send  the  written recommendations to the parent.

School Attendance Panel Meeting:

  • A Senior Officer from the Education Welfare Service will chair the School Attendance Panel Meeting and send the written recommendations to the parent.

School Attendance Panel Meeting Recommendations:

  • The   School   Attendance   Officer   will   monitor   and   review   the   attendance   in   line   with   the recommendations. If there has not been a significant improvement the matter will proceed to court as below:
  • If  the  matter  has  been  referred  to  the  local  Magistrates  Court  for  their  consideration  without  a monitoring period  the  Local Authority  will make an  application  for court and prepare the Section 9 Witness Statement.
  • The Attendance Lead  will  prepare the  court bundle and issue  the  summons to the parent with  the date they must appear in court.
  • The Education Welfare Service Court Officer will present the case at court on behalf of the school.
  • If the parent enters a guilty plea the matter will be dealt with on the day.
  • If the parent enters a not guilty plea a date will be set for trial and the Education Welfare Service will take the stand as a witness.
  • If there has been significant improvement the School Attendance Lead, will write to the parent/child praising them for the improvement and if they continue to monitor the case will be closed after four weeks.

 

This policy has been consulted and ratified by: