Attendance at St Thomas' CE Primary Academy
The school has high expectations in relation to children's attendance. This is because for children to receive a wide education and achieve their full potential, they must be at school regularly and on time. Government research shows that there is a strong link between regular school attendance and academic achievement. The Government advise that an attendance rate of less than 96%, in one academic year, will have detrimental effect on a child's education. One week off school will affect your child's attendance by 2.64%. It is the schools expectation that children will have an attendance rate in excess of 96%. Each child's attendance is reviewed on a regular basis. Our Learning Mentor team Miss Ilic are available to meet with parents to discuss any problems that could be preventing your child attending school. The Learning Mentor team can be contacted via the school office.
If your child's attendance is less than 96%, you will receive an attendance letter. We do understand that children occasionally get poorly but we ask that you do your best to encourage them into school and work with us if there is an issue or a longer term illness. Children who miss school regularly can very quickly fall behind and begin to find keeping up with their work difficult. If you have any worries at all about attendance please do come and speak to us.
DID YOU KNOW - IF YOUR CHILD HAS 90% ATTENDANCE EVERY YEAR, THEY WILL MISS 247 DAYS OF LEARNING OVER THEIR WHOLE SCHOOL LIFE.
THAT’S A LOSS OF OVER ONE AND A HALF ACADEMIC YEARS OF THEIR PRECIOUS EDUCATION!
90% ATTENDANCE IS A PROBLEM. PLEASE TAKE ATTENDANCE SERIOUSLY.
Over the course of one academic year…
95% attendance means your child has missed 9 learning days - 45 lessons missed!
90% attendance means your child has missed 19 learning days - 95 lessons missed! That’s nearly four weeks!
85% attendance means your child has missed 28 learning days - 140 lessons missed!
80% attendance means your child has missed 38 learning days - 190 lessons missed!
75% attendance means your child has missed 46 learning days - 230 lessons missed!
If your child has 85% attendance every year,
they will have missed 370 ½ days of learning over their whole school life.
That’s more than one year of their precious education!
Please take attendance seriously to give your children the best opportunities in life.
Have the conversation…
When you know what the problem is, you can work with us to plan how best to help.
Here are some things that might impact on attendance…
illness anxiety about school work bullying issues at home depression
sleep issues: fear of missing out / homework overload / insomnia friendship issues
no clean uniform changes in circumstances responsibilities at home
(This list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just to help get you started.)
Don’t stay away
Your children are our future leaders, carers, teachers and parents. We don’t just nag about attendance because their education is a legal requirement. For us, it’s about giving them the very best opportunities right from the start. If attendance is a problem for your child or you, contact our Learning Mentor Team straight away. Early intervention is the best way to help your child get the best from our school. Don’t be scared to call. Make some notes before you ring, if that will help. Here are some questions to ask yourself…
> Do you know why your child is refusing to attend? Is there a pattern? For example, do they always struggle to come to school on Thursdays, and is Thursday a PE day or a teacher’s job share day? Do you do something different on Thursdays?
> Is there a member of staff with whom your child feels comfortable, who might be able to help?
> Do you have an idea for a school incentive that we can put in place to encourage them?
> Are you the school refuser? Often parents don’t realise that their children are using their super powers to hone in on their parents’ emotions. Does it make you feel sad when you have to leave your child at school? Do you dislike a teacher or a friend of your child?
Some of these questions may seem daft, but rest assured that whatever is behind your child’s frequent absence, we can help and we want to help.
Changes to our attendance practice
If your child’s absence drops below 96% you will now receive a letter informing you that their attendance will be monitored for a specified period of time, and you may be asked to provide medical proof of your child’s illnesses. If your child’s attendance drops below 90%, you will be asked to attend a formal attendance meeting to discuss any issues and to look at ways we can support you in improving their attendance. We may ask you to complete an attendance contract. At 90% or below, all illness absences must be supported with evidence such as a signed GP’s appointment card or prescription, or a hospital letter. Where absences are not supported by such evidence, your child’s absence will be recorded as “unauthorised”. This may result in legal action.
Where a child has an unauthorised absence from school, that is, if a parent or carer has not contacted the school by 9.15 am to confirm the child's absence, this will be regarded as a safeguarding matter. Following this, our Learning Mentor team will visit the family home to establish the reason for not attending school and to check that the child is safe.
Please contact the school on 01205 362860 and speak with the office staff before 9.15 am stating the exact reason for absence e.g. cold/cough, sickness etc. If in the event you have to leave a message please be specific about the reason for your child's absence. If the reason given is vague, the office team will be asked to call you to clarify the exact circumstances of your child's absence.
Every half term we undertake an attendance review. If your child's attendance has recently dropped below 96%, you will receive a letter from our Learning Mentor team, informing you that we will be monitoring their attendance for a specified amount of time.
The school is very aware that some children have medical or personal circumstances which negatively impact on attendance on a long-term basis, and we understand that many of our children have had chicken pox or scarlet fever during this academic year, which will also have lowered their attendance percentage. The school is required to provide the Local Authority with evidence to show how we are supporting families where a child's attendance is below 96%. At this early stage it is not possible to break down the attendance of every child, which is why letters will be sent to all families in this category regardless of the reason.
If you have received a monitoring letter previously and your child's attendance has not sufficiently improved or has dropped further, you will be invited to attend a meeting to discuss your child's attendance and to see if the school is able to provide support in helping to build up their attendance. If you have been invited to an attendance meeting previously and your child's attendance has not improved or dropped further, you will be required to attend a second attendance meeting. If you are not able to attend on the date offered, you can contact the Learning Mentor team to arrange a time convenient to you. However, if you miss the meeting, it will take place in your absence and you will be provided with a copy of the outcome of the meeting.
We really hope this will answer any questions and help you to understand why these letters are being sent out. If you have any worries about your child's attendance, you do not need to wait for a letter!
Lateness & Punctuality
So what does Attendance and Punctuality Really Mean? Please look at the percentages and punctuality times below to see how many days of education children miss if they are consistently late or miss days of school.
Did you know.....????
5 Minutes late per day is 3.4 days of learning lost over a year.
10 Minutes late per day is 6.9 days of learning lost over a year.
15 Minutes late per day is 10.3 days of learning lost over a year.
20 Minutes late per day is 13.8 days of learning lost over a year.
30 Minutes later per day is 20.7 days of learning lost over a year.
This is a serious concern because children who arrive at school late miss the vital teaching that begins the lesson and often struggle to grasp what is being taught. When a child arrives late for school they can find this very unsettling as it is not a good way to start their day. Where lateness is a recurring problem the child’s education will suffer. It is also disruptive for the other children in their class.
Please note that:
children are welcome onto the school grounds from 8.40am;
classroom doors are opened at 8.40am;
registration takes place at 8.50am.
Children are marked late if they arrive after 8.50am. In this instance, they must go to the main entrance at the front of the school as the classroom doors will not be open.
Please make every effort to ensure that your child arrives in good time for the start of school to enable us to provide them with the best education possible.
Please contact Miss Ilic via the school office to arrange an appointment to come in and chat about the support we can offer:
The school accepts that from time to time children become ill and are unable to attend school. In these situations, we ask parents to call the school office on a daily basis with an up-date on your child’s condition and, if possible, give an indication as to when you think your child will return to school. For minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, we encourage children to be brought to school.
The school expects, where possible, that medical appointments should be scheduled for after school hours or to take place during school holidays. Medical appointments will only be authorised if an appointment card or letter is seen by the school office. In the case of an emergency appointment an appointment card should be obtained during the appointment and given to the school upon the child’s return.
From the 1st September 2013 changes were made to the law which relates to parents/carers taking their children on holiday during term time. The change in legislation indicates that Head Teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless they consider there to be exceptional circumstances. The amendment in the law removed all references to family holidays.
The Federation will no longer be granting parents/carers time off to take their children on holiday.
If you consider there are exceptional circumstances to support taking your child out of school a Request for Leave form should be completed and handed in at the school office. This must be supported by documentary evidence for our Attendance Officer to consider.
Absences during SAT’s and examination periods will not be authorised and all unauthorised absences will be reported to the Attendance and Welfare Officer.
If the school are concerned about your child’s attendance rate you will be notified and the appropriate actions taken to improve this. Ultimately the school reserves the right to contact Lincolnshire County Council who hold the powers to issues penalty notices (fines) and/or prosecute parents for failing to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school.
The Requests for Leave must be completed and returned to the school office prior to the period of absence; please give the school as much notice as possible of your request. The application will be considered carefully and we will notify you of the school’s decision within 10 working days. We strongly advise that no leave of absence is booked prior to receiving a decision from the school.
Introduction of Fixed Penalty Formal Warning from September 2018
From September 2018 we have decided to take the decision to request that the Local Authority issue a Fixed Penalty Notice where unauthorised absence exceeds 15% in a six week period.
If you wish to seek approval for any request of absence for your child(ren) from School, then you must apply in writing to the Head of School, at least four weeks in advance of the requested period. You should only remove your child(ren) if the absence has been authorised, and notified to you in writing by the School. Any exceptional circumstances must be clearly set out in the written request to the Head of School who will consider each case upon its merits.
If you then choose to take your child out of school during term time and it is not deemed to be exceptional circumstances and/or has not been approved by the School, then this will be coded as an unauthorised absence and a Fixed Penalty Notice will be issued for the period of absence.
The law states that, where there are unacceptable levels of attendance, schools may request that the Local Authority issue a Fixed Penalty Notice following the legal framework:
- Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 places upon parents a duty to ensure that their child receives efficient full-time education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
- Where a child is a registered pupil at a school and the parent fails to ensure that child’s regular attendance at school the parent is liable to be prosecuted for a criminal offence under section 444 of the Education Act.
- In some cases, where this duty is not being fulfilled Section 444B of the same Act empowers the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty of £60 per parent, per child, which will increase if the fine isn’t paid within the first 21 days to £120
- Failure to pay a Fixed Penalty may result in further legal action being taken against you.
The money raised from these fines is retained by the Local Authority and the school does not receive any of this. We will continue to work with families to support as much as we can with attendance and further information can be found in our school attendance policy on our website. Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact the school office to make an appointment with either Miss Sharples or the Lead Learning Mentor.