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Maytree Nursery andInfants' SchoolCaring, Sharing, Aiming High

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POLICY AND PRACTICE ON ATTENDANCE

 

Date Approved:

14th April 2022

 

Revision Date:

April 2025                                              

Reviewed every 3 years

Author/Owner

Maytree Infant and Nursery School / Full Governing  Body

 

Ratified by Governors:

Policy Committee

 

 

MAYTREE NURSERY AND INFANTS SCHOOL

 

                      

S2  POLICY AND PRACTICE ON ATTENDANCE


This policy should be read in conjunction with  www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-attendance and the school’s Safeguarding Policy

 

 

“Every Day’s Important, Every Lesson Counts”

 

Recent government guidance states: “pupils need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school.”

Maytree Nursery and Infant School recognises that positive behaviour and good attendance are essential in order to raise standards of pupil attainment and to give children the best educational experience possible.  This policy is written with the above statement in mind and underpins our school ethos to:

Promote children’s welfare and safeguarding

Ensure every child has access to the full-time education to which they are entitled

Ensure that children succeed whilst at school

Ensure that pupils have access to the widest possible range of opportunities at school, and when they leave school

 For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. The law says children must attend every day unless there are exceptional circumstances and it is the Headteacher, not the parent who can authorise the absence.

Any absences affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Any child’s absence or late arrival disrupts teaching routines and so may affect the learning of others in the same class. Ensuring a child’s regular attendance at school is parental responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.

This policy seeks to ensure that all parties involved in the practicalities of school attendance are aware and informed of attendance matters in school and to outline the schools’ commitment to attendance matters. It details the responsibilities of individuals and groups involved and the procedures in place to promote and monitor children's attendance.

Our policy aims to raise and maintain levels of attendance by:

  • Promoting a positive and welcoming atmosphere in which children feel safe, secure, and valued
  • Raising awareness of the importance of good attendance and punctuality
  • Ensuring that attendance is monitored effectively and reasons for absence are recorded promptly and consistently.

Promoting Regular Attendance

Children’s attendance is likely to be better if children are happy at school and engaged in their learning. We therefore regularly review our curriculum to ensure it meets the needs of the children. As part of the curriculum, we ensure that children’s mental health and well-being is taught explicitly and children have avenues to talk and discuss their worries. Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is the responsibility of parents, children, and all members of the school staff.

To help us all to focus on this we will:

  • Give parents/carers details on attendance in our newsletters
  • Report to parents/carers regularly on their child’s attendance in a school report
  • Contact parents/carers should their child’s attendance fall below the school’s target for attendance
  • Celebrate excellent attendance by displaying and reporting individuals and class achievements
  • Reward good or improving attendance

 

                                                                     

 Understanding and types of absence                                                                                  

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parent/carer), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required. Each half-day is known as a “session”

 

Authorised absence: are morning or afternoon sessions away from school for a genuine reason such as illness (although you will be asked to provide medical evidence for child before this can be authorised), medical or dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause.

.

Unauthorised absences: are those that the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Local Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings which may include issuing each parent with a Penalty Notice for £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days, or referring the matter to the Magistrates Court whereby each parent may receive a fine up to £2500 and/or up 3 months in prison. If you are found guilty in court you will receive a criminal conviction.

Unauthorised absence includes, however, is not exhaustive:

  • Parents/Carers keeping children off school unnecessarily e.g. because they have had a late night or for non-infectious illness or injury that would not affect their ability to learn
  • Absences that have never been properly explained
  • Children who arrive at school after the close registration are marked using a “U” code. This indicates that they are in school for safeguarding purposes however is recorded as an absence for the session.
  • Shopping trips
  • Looking after other children or children accompanying siblings or parents to medical appointments
  • Their own or family birthdays
  • Holidays taken during term time without leave, not deemed “for exceptional purposes” by the Headteacher – may result in the school applying to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice or if you have previously been issued a Penalty Notice, the school may request a direct prosecution by the Local Authority
  • Day trips
  • Other leave of absence in term time which has not been agreed
  •  

School Attendance and the Law

There is no longer any entitlement in law for pupils to take time off during the term to go on holiday. In addition, the Supreme Court has ruled that the definition of regular school attendance is “in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school”.

 

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 were amended in September 2013. All references to family holidays and extended leave have been removed. The amendments specify that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are "exceptional circumstances" and they no longer have the discretion to authorise up to ten days of absence each academic year.

 

It is a rule of this school that a leave of absence shall not be granted in term time unless there are reasons considered to be exceptional by the Headteacher, irrespective of the child’s overall attendance. Only the Headteacher or his/her designate (not the Local Authority) may authorise such a request and all applications for a leave of absence must be made in writing on the prescribed form provided by the school. Where a parent removes a child when the application for leave was refused or where no application was made to the school, the issue of a penalty notice may be requested by this school.

 

At Maytree Nursery and Infant School “exceptional circumstances will be interpreted as:

Being of unique and significant emotional, educational or spiritual value to the child which outweighs the loss of teaching time (as determined by the Headteacher). The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ are events that are “rare, significant, unavoidable and short”. By 'unavoidable' we mean an event that could not reasonably be scheduled at another time.

 

We will not consider applications for leave during term time:

• At any time in September. This is very important as your child needs to settle into their new class as quickly as possible

• During assessment and test periods in the school’s calendar affecting your child

• When a pupil’s attendance record already includes any level of unauthorised absence or they have already been granted authorised leave within that academic year.

Whilst any child may occasionally have time off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents, and the child. If a parent thinks their child is reluctant to attend school then we will work with that family to understand the root problem and provide any necessary support. We can use outside agencies to help with this such as the School Nurse, Local Authority Education Welfare Officer or Early Help and Family Support Worker.

Persistent Absenteeism (PA)

A pupil is defined by the Government as a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level will cause considerable damage to any child’s education and we need a parent/carer’s fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.

We monitor all absence and the reasons that are given, thoroughly. If a child is seen to have reached the PA mark or is at risk of moving towards that mark we will inform the parent/carer. 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 a school-based meeting and the plan may include: the allocation of additional support through the School Nurse, Local Education Welfare Officer, Local Authority, Family Support Worker, early Help, or Social Care. We may also use circle time, individual incentive programs, individual targets, and participation in group activities to support us in raising attendance.

Promoting Good Attendance at Maytree School  

 Our attendance motto is ‘’Every Day’s Important, Every Lesson Counts’’ and our mascot ‘Edi’ is used to raise children’s awareness and motivate good attendance.

 

 

Our attendance target for all our children is 100%          

  Good attendance at Maytree School is 96% to 100%.                                                                                                                                           Poor attendance at Maytree School is below 96%

 

Classes are presented with a Gold, Silver or Bronze attendance award for the week. The awards are calculated by the Attendance Officer and collected by classes on an Attendance Reward Chart, which is highly visible in the school Hall. Classes with golden attendance earn extra golden time. The class with the best overall attendance in a week is presented with The Maytree Attendance Cup.

 

During a half-term an ‘Attendance Week’ takes place. This also raises the profile and importance of attendance within the school and with parents. The school attendance mascot ‘Edi’ and the Headteacher greets children at the school gate in Attendance Week. On Friday afternoon all children with 100% attendance in the week are presented with a good attendance sticker in attendance assembly.                                                               

On the last day of term, children who achieve 100% attendance since the start of the academic year are invited to attend an attendance celebration assembly. The Headteacher will present certificates to children and give praise to parents for their support. Children who achieved 100% attendance in a half-term period are also presented with certificates by the Headteacher.         

 

Absence Procedures      

If your child is absent from school the parent/carer must follow the following procedures:

• Contact the school on the first day of absence before 9.15 am. The school has an absent answer phone available to leave a message

• Contact the school on every further day of absence, again before 9.15 am

• Ensure that your child returns to school as soon as possible and you provide any medical evidence if requested to support the absence.

 

If your child is absent we will:

• Telephone or text you on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you however it is your responsibility to contact us

• Write to you if your child’s attendance is below 96%

• Invite you into school to discuss the situation with our School Education Welfare Officer or Headteacher if absences persist

• Refer the matter to the Local Authority for relevant sanctions if attendance deteriorates following the above actions

 

Lateness

Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If a child misses the start of the day they can miss work and do not spend time with the Class Teacher getting vital information and news for the day. Late arriving pupils also disrupt lessons, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence. Good time-keeping is a vital life skill that will help our children as they progress through their school life and out into the wider world.

 

Maytree Infant School

The school starts at 8.45 am registers close at 9.00 AM. Your child will receive a late mark ‘L’ if they are not in by that time. Children arriving after 9.00 am are required to come into school via the School Office accompanied by a parent or carer, the parent/carer will sign them in and provide a reason for their lateness which is recorded.

Lateness is monitored closely and the school may send letters home if the lateness is persistent.

 

Maytree Nursery

The Nursery AM session starts from 8.30 am to 11.30 am and the pm session starts from 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm

We expect parents and staff to encourage good punctuality by being good role models to our children and celebrate good class and individual punctuality.

 

Summary

The school has a legal duty to publish its absence figures to parents and to promote attendance.

Equally, parents have a duty to make sure that their children attend school, on time, every day.

All school staff and the Governing Body are committed to working with parents and children as the best way to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible.

 Safeguarding

The school reserves the right to invite parents into school to discuss any attendance issues that raise potential safeguarding concerns, i.e. potential neglect, including emotional, educational, physical or medical neglect; domestic violence; female genital mutilation; sexual exploitation; radicalization.

This may be a consideration particularly if a parent/carer requests a leave of absence during term time.

In addition, if the school suspects that a pupil may be at potential risk as a result of their absence from school the Safeguarding team reserves the right to refer these concerns to the appropriate external agencies, ie – social care or the police.

The school will inform parents /carers if a referral is to be made. However, this may not be appropriate in every circumstance depending on the nature of the safeguarding concern and a referral may be made without informing the parent /carer.

 

Children Missing From Education

The school recognises that when a child goes missing from school it is a potential safeguarding concern and potentially an indicator of neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation.

The school follows the LSCB procedures “Identifying and maintaining contact with children missing or at risk of going missing from Education 2013”. Under section 8h of the Education Regulations Act (2006).

The school will make ‘reasonable’ enquiries into the location of pupils within 3 days of continuous unauthorised absence or for those who fail to return from a leave of absence during term time.

A referral will be made to the “Children Missing Education Team” to be investigated further by their safeguarding panel and appropriate interventions taken at that level, i.e. – refer to the police.

 

Improving Attendance – WHAT PARENTS CAN DO:

1. Try to make all medical appointments (doctors, dentist, and hospital) out of school time. Obviously, this is not always possible but in such cases, try to minimise the disruption to the day by getting an early morning appointment so that your child can attend afterward OR a late afternoon appointment so that they can complete most of the timetable before leaving.

 

2. Encourage your child to take responsibility for being on time for school. Try to make sure she/he has an alarm clock that is reliable. Make sure that she/he has a realistic bedtime and will not be too tired to get up in the morning for school. Develop a good morning routine eg bags, books and other equipment should be prepared the night before. Regularly checking with your child’s teacher can help you to do this.

 

3. Leave of absence during term time is not a parental right. If there are special or exceptional circumstances please contact the Headteacher and a decision will be made if the absence can be authorised or not.

 

4. Encourage your child to come to school even if she is feeling slightly unwell. Many aches and pains are forgotten when they are with friends and the school will contact you if it becomes necessary.

 

5. Talk positively about going to school – “What was good about school today?” “Did anything funny happen?”

 

6. Take any worries seriously but do not show that you are unduly concerned. Believe that they will be sorted out. Contact your Child’s Teacher before the concerns escalate.

 

7. Bear in mind that children can easily fall into a habit of having the occasional day off and patterns of poor attendance are very hard to change.  As a family, aim for 100% attendance.

 

Improving Attendance – WHAT SCHOOL DOES:

  • Gives a high status to good attendance and rewards children appropriately through stickers, charts, and certificates.

 

  • Offers Free breakfast club to support punctuality.

 

  • Marks the registers in accordance with the law twice a day

 

  • Maintains records and monitors attendance of students on a regular basis

 

  • Authorises absences in accordance with the government guidelines. Please note that only the school can authorise absence

 

  • Contacts parents/carers when  attendance falls below acceptable levels and/or when particular patterns of absence are causing concerns

 

When your child achieves full school attendance they are able to access their full potential both academically and socially, gaining skills and confidence that will enable them to live a full and rewarding life.

 

Your continued support in this matter is essential.

 

Addendum: recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 2020 to 2021 academic year

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-attendance/addendum-recording-attendance-in-relation-to-coronavirus-covid-19-during-the-2020-to-2021-academic-year

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