Attendance – Our Aim: 97%+

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, please contact us as soon as possible.  If your child is anxious or is suffering from any problems at school, the school will work together with parents/carers and the child to address these issues.
Our attendance policy includes 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 9am on the first day of absence and then send a note of explanation to the class teacher on the first day when the child returns to school. The school will automatically text/call parents who have not rang the school by 9:30am.  This is part of our First Response Procedure as in accordance with policy.
Authorisation for morning or afternoons absenses will be considered for reasons like illness or other unavoidable circumstances.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no ‘leave’ has been given. This could include; unexplained absense, unreported absense for example.
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 Sts. Catherine’s, we have an Attendance Officer – Mrs Jo Isaacs, who can be found at the start of school. Alternatively parents/carers can call her using the main school number and a suitable time will be made to discuss any matters.  If difficulties cannot be resolved in this way, the school or parent may refer the child to the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) from the local authority. He/she will try and resolve the situation with voluntary support.
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, if a pupils absense continues to be below the given threshold, then the EWO will decide the next cause of action.
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.
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 Attendance Officer 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 feels that action should be taken they may:
– Ask an appropriate member of staff (Class Teacher, Parent Support Worker etc) to speak withparents/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 notifed  of their child’s % attendance figure at the end of the year on their report.  Our  newsletter includes weekly attendance percentages for each class. An attendance trophy is awarded to the class at our celebration assembly on a Friday. Pupils who have achieved 100% attendance are presented with a certificate at the end the year.
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 pupils during school time, unless in exceptional circumstances. In exceptional circumstances parents can apply to the school for a request form (also available at the bottom of this document), which must be completed and returned to school explaining the reasons for the request – at least two weeks prior to the dates requested.

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. For example:
  1. 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;
  2. We will still be taking the child’s attendance into account and it will need to be on target for authorisation to be considered.
  • St. Catherine’s do not consider exceptional leave to include reasons such as; ‘convenience or value for money holiday’.  However, each exceptional leave request will be considered on it’s on merits by the Headteacher, bearing special circumstances in mind, current attendance figures and amount of previous requests.
  • 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 Attendance Officer – Mrs Jo Isaacs, will be available to discuss special circumstances for leave.

Conclusion

St. Catherine’s endeavours in every way possible to encourage and promote excellent attendance. Certificates are issued to children with excellent attendance and individual class are award weekly attendance trophies to motivate and encourage pupils to value their attendance.   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.

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