“There is a clear link between pupil attendance and attainment” (DfES)
The importance of regular school attendance cannot be overestimated. Regular attendance at school is a prerequisite to a good education and securing it must therefore be a high priority for school, governors, LEAs, parents and the pupils themselves. By failing to attend school regularly, pupils diminish the value of the education provided for them. They may also damage the learning of others because fluctuations in the size of the pupil group may restrict the scope for effective teaching. The same is true for persistent lateness.
Attendance is increasingly regarded as a measure of the quality of education offered by a school and the government has indicated that all schools should be aiming for a target of 95%. Schools with attendance below 92.5% will be judged as Unsatisfactory in the current Common Inspection Framework.
Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 states that::
The parent of a child of compulsory school age registered at school and failing to attend regularly is guilty of an offence punishable in law.
Hawthorn Primary School seeks to work with parents/carers to ensure that each child is able to access their education.
Compulsory school age is reached at a child’s fifth birthday.
Hawthorn Primary School uses SIMS process of registration to assist in our aim of improving levels of pupil attendance. The registers are hard copy, with attendance information transferred onto SIMS. The possibility of electronic registers is being investigated in the Spring Term of 2014.
In line with the Welsh Assembly Government policy and in line with our cluster group, Hawthorn Primary School reserves the right to use the regulations of 2013 with regard to education (Penalty Notices) (Wales). A referral might be made when, a pattern of irregular attendance has developed; Parents/carer have failed to engage in attempts to improve attendance, a period of entrenched non-attendance has become established; there is a lack of parental cooperation in ensuring a child’s regular attendance; a pattern of truancy is persisting.
- The Law requires regular attendance. Schools are required to take an attendance register twice a day; Once at 8.50am and at the commencement of the afternoon school session at 1pm. (KS 2), 8.50am and 1.20pm (Foundation Phase). Nursery registers are marked at 9am and 12.45pm. Children in Nursery are not of statutory school age, though the school will work to promote the importance of good attendance in all children.
- Where a child arrives after his/her name has been recorded the mark will be given, but recorded as late. This recording will take place at the office, where the child has to pass in order to go to class.
- Any issues relating to the administration of the registers will be brought to the class teachers attention. Where appropriate, these points are to be followed up by the class teacher.
- Every absence is either authorized or unauthorized by the school not by the parent/carer. Absence notes must be kept as a record.
- The register is a legal document. As such it can be used in cases of prosecution for non-attendance or in cases where a family is subject to a care order. Therefore it must be factually correct.
- Class teachers are the first to note any changes or patterns in attendance. Where identified, the issue needs to be highlighted with the Headteacher and/or administrative officer.
- The Headteacher will be the direct link with the Attendance School Officer (ASO ) and Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) in cases causing concern. Staff will be aware of pupils’ previous records of attendance and if pupils are subject to support/concern of Social Services.
- The Headteacher meets with the ASO at least once every two weeks and if necessary more so in order to monitor attendance
- Where appropriate, parent/carers will be informed
Day to Day Procedures
- Illness, medical/dental absences are authorized subject to parents/carers informing the school.
- Religious Observances are authorized, eg special festivals
- Family bereavement is authorized
- Public Performances- Where appropriate we would support performances as an opportunity to extend provision for pupils. Permission will be given taking into account the attendance record of the pupil(s) concerned.
- Cardiff Local Authority has instructed all schools to not authorize absence from school during term times for holidays.
- The Headteacher reserves the right to authorize absence on compassionate grounds
- In cases where attendance is a concern and where no notification has been given, the following strategies are available to the school.
- The school can contact and use the first response system to parent/carers available to them through our Attendance School Officer
- Where appropriate, the admin officers for the school can contact the parents/carers to ascertain the reason for school absence.
It is the aim that all children of Hawthorn Primary School maximize their potential to learn through good attendance. To promote this, the following strategies have been put in place.
- The parent/carer of every child will receive a booklet outlining the importance of good attendance and also providing information as to what constitutes authorized/unauthorized attendance.
- Children who achieve attendance of 97% or above will be recognized in termly celebration assemblies and presented with certificates to highlight this achievement.
- Classes will be informed weekly as to the class attendance for the week. The class with the highest attendance for each term will be rewarded with resources for that class selected by the class teacher/pupils
- Certificates will be issued in the half termly celebration assemblies for the class with the highest attendance for each week. This avoids identifying individuals, whilst promoting good attendance
- Good attendance will feature on display boards in the main reception area.
- Parent/Carers will be informed of their childs’ attendance in school reports.
Attendance School Officer
- The Attendance School Officer makes regular visits to the school to discuss any concerns arising. A priority is made on children whose attendance falls below 90%
- Pupils with attendance lower than 90% will be monitored
- Where appropriate, the ASO/ EWO will visit the homes of families where concerns are raised
- Consideration is given to work being done to quantify the effects of irregular attendance and punctuality on school performance, and to inform parents/carers about the need for good attendance and punctuality.
- The ASO will also work in collaboration with the Headteacher to minimize the impact of those pupils who regularly arrive late for school.
We wish to maintain and build on the current attendance at Hawthorn Primary and ask that parents/carers let us know on the first day of absence if possible either by telephone or sending a message, rather than waiting for the child to return to school. Upon the child’s return to school a written note, signed by the parent/carer is needed for the records to explain the absence. This must be for each child (brothers and sisters) and for each period of absence.
The EWO is available to link between parents/carer and school in any case of difficulty in attendance or any other welfare or social concerns.
Prolonged absence or irregular attendance may result in prosecution. However, the school would prefer parents/carers to work in partnership to resolve any problems.
The Role of the LEA
If casework or other intervention strategies prove unsuccessful and/or the ASO/ Education Welfare Service considers that prosecution may bring an improvement in a child’s attendance then the LEA may choose to prosecute. The parents of a child who is of compulsory school age and fails to attend the school at which he/she is registered can be prosecuted under Section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996, whilst for serious cases; prosecution under Section 444(1A) can lead to a custodial sentence.
This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.