Please click here for Absence Escalation Process at Harold Court Primary
Promoting positive behaviour and excellent attendance is the responsibility of the whole school community.
Our School will promote positive behaviour and good attendance through its use of curriculum and learning materials. Good attendance and behaviour by pupils will be recognised appropriately. All children should be at school by 8.50, every day the school is open, unless your child is sick.
Some children are sometimes reluctant to attend school. Any problems that arise with attendance are best resolved between the school, the parents/carers and the child. If a child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressures to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and may make things worse. Permitting absence from school without good reason is an offence by the parent/carer.
The attendance policy must include procedural referral agreements that are designed to promote and safeguard the welfare of pupils. School has a duty in law to refer any absences of 10 days or more, whether they have been unable to make contact with the parent or have general concerns about the absence, to the Education Welfare Service.
Schools are required to take an attendance register twice a day, and this shows whether the pupil is present, engaged in an approved educational activity off site, or absent. If a pupil of compulsory school age is absent, every half day absence from the school has to be classified by the school as either authorised or unauthorised. Only school can authorise the absence, not parents/carers. This is why information about the cause of each absence is always required, parents must phone the school before 10am (or use our leave of absence tab on the homepage of this website) on the first day of absence and then send a note of explanation to the class teacher when the child returns to school. The school will automatically text/call parents who have not rang the school by 10am.
Authorised absences are morning or afternoons away from school for a reason like illness or other unavoidable causes.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no ‘leave’ has been given. This includes:
- Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily,
- Truancy before or during the school day
- Absences which have never been properly explained
- Children who arrive at school too late to get a mark.
Parents/carers whose children are experiencing difficulties should contact the school at an early stage and work together with staff in resolving any problems. At Harold Court, we have our very own pastoral leader, Mrs Michelle Bradley who is on hand most mornings and evenings to discuss with parents/carers issues that arise. Alternatively parents/carers can call her using the main school number and a suitable time will be made to discuss any matters. This is part of the school parent partnership and can be very successful. If difficulties cannot be resolved in this way, the school or parent may refer the child to the Education Welfare Officer from the local authority. He/she will try and resolve the situation with voluntary support. If other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed, these officers can issue Penalty Notices or use Court Proceedings to prosecute parents or to seek an Education Supervision Order on the child. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of £2500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.
Alternatively, parents may wish to contact the EWO themselves to ask for help or information. They are independent of the school and will give impartial advice. Their telephone number is available from the school office or by contacting the Local Education Authority 01708 434343 option 3.
Procedures in the event of a child’s absence:
We look at every child’s attendance and if there is concern, discussion will occur between school staff and the parents/carers. This may lead to a referral to the EWO by school for additional support. Following investigation, any unresolved issues could result in the parent/carer receiving a Penalty Notice or ultimately a prosecution under the Education Act 1996 S444.
Please note that any absence under 85% is classed as persistent absenteeism and Harold Court Primary school will follow up attendance under the threshold of 96%.
- Parents/carers with responsibility are required to ensure that children of compulsory school age receive efficient full time education. They are legally responsible for ensuring that children attend and stay at school unless official alternative arrangements are made for their education. They are responsible for informing the school of absences as soon as possible, ideally on the first day of absence. They should state the nature of the illness and when the child is expected to return to school. Telephone calls, letter or personal contact are all acceptable means of informing the school although reasons will be not be accepted from those other than people with parental responsibility.
It is the parent’s responsibilities to inform school on the first day of absence. Parents/carer should make every effort to keep phone numbers up to date so that we can contact home in the case of absence or emergency. If no contact has been made by close of register, we will follow up with a phone call from a member of school staff.
If a child is absent for more than one day and no contact has still been made, this will be reported to the Headteacher, who will regard it as a safeguarding issue. The Home School Support Worker and EWO will be asked to contact the family to find out reasons for absence and expected return dates.
Procedures in the event of concern about absence:
Members of school staff who are concerned about a child’s attendance should speak to the Headteacher/attendance lead. They will collate:
- The attendance record and attendance % to date (using SIMS management system).
- Any other information gained from speaking to other personnel in the school.
If the Headteacher/attendance lead lead feels that action should be taken they may:
- Ask an appropriate member of staff (Class Teacher, pastoral leader etc) to speak with parents/carers about the concerns.
- Send a letter to the parents/carers asking them to attend an appointment at the school to discuss the issue of attendance further.
Should school staff be unable to successfully contact parents/carers to discuss concerns regarding their child’s attendance, then a referral will be made directly to the Education Welfare Service.
Parents/carers will be made aware of their child’s % attendance a minimum of 3 times per academic year. Our Parents' voice newsletter includes weekly attendance percentages for each class. An attendance cup is awarded to the class at our celebration assembly on a Friday. Pupils who have achieved a full terms attendance are presented with a certificate at the end of each term. The class achieving the highest attendance will also recieve a special treat, this could be a trip! In addition certificates are awarded for a full academic year’s attendance.
Holidays/Leave of Absence:
Following a change to the 2006 regulations – the Statutory Instruments 2013 No.756: The Education (Pupil Registration) England (Amendment) Regulations 2013 –
Head Teachers are no longer able to grant requests for holidays to be taken by pupilsduring school time, unless in exceptional circumstances. In exceptionalcircumstances parents can apply to the school for a request form, which must becompleted and returned to school – with an accompanying letter explaining thereasons for the request – at least two weeks prior to the dates requested. Leave of absencegranted for this purpose will be classed as an unauthorised. Leave of absenceabove this is classified as ‘unauthorised absence.’
Holidays in Term Time
- Holidays should only be taken during school holidays.
- Due to changes in the Education Act, regulations under, Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) 2013 Regulations: The legislation states that as from September 2013, schools cannot authorize any leave of absence during term time unless they deem it to be an exceptional circumstances.
- If you believe that your case may be deemed as “exceptional”, please fill in a leave of absence form as you have done in the past. These are available from the school office. It is vital that you include evidence with your application. Without evidence, your request will be refused, eg :-
- If the child is taking an exam in music or dance or is attending a sporting event where they are representing the county we would need to see official evidence of the date and time the child is required to be there;
- We will still be taking the child’s attendance into account and it will need to be at least 97% for authorisation to be granted.
- Harold Court define the term “exceptional” as an occasion that cannot be planned for, so we are afraid that anything that can be planned e.g. all family holidays, weddings, family birthday parties or surprise trips booked by relatives etc. will not now be authorised. We realise that extended family will sometimes arrange events and it will be out of your control, but we cannot authorise any child’s absence.
- The Local Authority may issue parents who take children on unauthorised term time holidays with a penalty notice. Any unauthorised holiday may result in a penalty notice fine of £60 per parent per child (which will be increase to £120 if not paid within 21 days and due by 28 days) being issued by the Local Authority.
- The Penalty Notice will be issued in line with the Local Code of Conduct section 11 that states that a Penalty Notice may be issued: “Where a parent has taken the pupil on holiday during term time without the school’s authorisation or (in cases where the school has authorised absence) has failed to return the pupil to school on the date agreed with the school”.
- The Headteacher, Mr M Dineen, will be available to discuss special circumstances for leave. However, any holiday requests during term time will not be deemed appropriate and will be coded on the Register as unauthorised. This will then be followed up by the EWO (Educational Welfare Officer).
Harold Court endeavours in every way possible to encourage good attendance. Certificates are given at the end of the week, term and year to children with excellent attendance and these are given at an assembly in order that the pupils are an example to others. All end of year reports to parents include a copy of the child’s attendance record. Either very good or poor attendances are noted by the Head Teacher and a written remark may be made on the report.