Updated to show information for academic year 2017/2018
St Christopher’s School is an inclusive school and your family play your part in making it so. We aim for an environment which enables and encourages all members of the community to reach out for excellence. For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.
It is very important therefore that you make sure that your child attends regularly and this Policy sets out how together we will achieve this.
Why Regular Attendance is so Important
Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Any pupil’s absence disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class.
Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
Promoting Regular Attendance
Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility - parents, pupils and all members of school staff.
To help us all to focus on this we will:
Understanding Types of Absence
Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required, preferably in writing.
Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider
reasonable and for which no “leave" has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Lincolnshire County Council using sanctions and/or legal proceedings.
Whilst any child may be 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 your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse.
Persistent Absenteeism (PA)
A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 15% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents’ fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.
We monitor all absence thoroughly. Any case that is seen to have reached the PA mark or is at risk of moving towards that mark is given priority and you will be informed of this immediately.
PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully through our attendance system and we also combine this with additional support where absence affects attainment.
All our PA pupils and their parents are subject to an Action Plan and the plan may include: allocation of additional support through a Mentor, use of circle time, individual incentive programmes and participation in group activities around raising attendance. All cases at risk of becoming PA are automatically made known to the Attendance Advisory Officer and some cases can lead to Pre- Court Conferences where a decision may be made to prosecute if a child’s attendance does not improve.
If your child is absent you must contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence or you can call into school and report to the School Office.
If your child is absent we will
Telephone or text you on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you;
Invite you in to discuss the situation with our Assistant Head with responsibility for attendance.
Refer the matter to the Attendance Advisory Service Officer attendance moves below 90%.
There are times when we need to contact parents about lots of things, including absence, so we need to have your contact numbers at all times. So help us to help you and your child by making sure we always have an up to date number – if we don’t then something important may be missed. There will be regular checks on telephone numbers throughout the year.
The Education Welfare Officer
Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the the Education Welfare Officer from the Lincolnshire County Council.
He/she will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve your child’s attendance have failed and unauthorized absences persist, these Officers can use sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court. Full details of the options open to enforce attendance at school are available from the school or the Local Authority.
Alternatively, parents or children may wish to contact the Education Welfare Officer 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.
Leave of Absence in Term Time
Taking leave of absence in term time will affect your child’s schooling as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not taking children away in school time.
Remember that any savings you think you may make by taking a holiday in school time are offset by the cost to your child’s education. Because of the damage to your child’s learning caused by this, we do not authorise any holidays in term time. There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to go on holiday.
Any application for leave must be made in person and will involve a meeting with the person/people responsible for school attendance. Full details of our policy and procedures are available from the school, but it is important that you recognize the importance of education and understand when leave in term time is not agreed by us:
When a pupil is just starting the school. This is very important as your child needs to settle into their new environment as quickly as possible.
Immediately before and during assessment periods or any other examinations.
When a pupil’s attendance record already includes any level of unauthorised absence.
Where a pupil’s attendance rate is already below (97%) or will fall to or below that level as a result of taking leave.
Any period of leave taken without the agreement of the school, or in excess of that agreed, will be classed as unauthorised and may attract sanctions such as a Penalty Notice.
Our school has targets to improve attendance and your child has an important part to play in meeting these targets.
Targets for the school and for classes are displayed in the school and you
should take time to study them.
The minimum level of attendance for this school is 94% attendance and we will keep you updated regularly about progress to this level and how your child’s attendance compares.
Our target is to achieve better than this however because we know that good attendance is the key to successful schooling and we believe our pupils can be amongst the best in Lincolnshire
Through the school year we monitor absences and punctuality to show us where improvements need to be made.
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.
All school staff are committed to working with parents and pupils as the best way to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible.
Home Contact Information
Parents are asked to help us keep records of their addresses, place of work, phone numbers etc. up to date. The school must be notified of any such change. It may be necessary to contact you urgently if your child is taken ill or has had an accident.
Under no circumstances will children be allowed out of school by themselves during school hours. They must be collected from the school office for visits to doctor, dentist etc.