“Together We Can”
“The parent of every child of compulsory school age (5 years old) shall cause him/ her to receive efficient full-time education ... either by regular school attendance or otherwise.” (Education Act 1996). Regular attendance is vitally important to ensure that our pupils take full advantage of the excellent educational opportunities available to them and to ensure that they are able to reach their full potential. For our children to gain the greatest benefit from the fantastic learning experiences that Wainstalls School provides, it is vital that parents ensure that their child attends regularly and arrives at school, on time, every day that the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.
Irregular attendance undermines the educational process and leads to educational disadvantage, with evidence to show that in some cases it can also result in pupils being drawn into patterns of anti-social or criminal behaviour. Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. In addition, pupil’s absences also disrupts teaching routines so may also detrimentally affect the learning of others in the same class. Ensuring a child’s regular attendance at school is the legal responsibility of parents, and permitting absence from the school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
Wainstalls School seeks to ensure that all its pupils receive a full-time education which maximises opportunities for each pupil to realise his/her true potential. The school will strive to provide a welcoming, caring environment, where each member of the school community feels happy and secure. All school staff will work together with pupils and their families to ensure pupils attend school regularly and punctually, with our Learning Mentor, Miss Cater, being responsible for closely monitoring attendance and punctuality throughout school.
The school has established systems of incentives and rewards which acknowledge the efforts of pupils to improve their attendance and timekeeping, and will challenge the behaviour of pupils and parents who give low priority to attendance and punctuality.
The school will ensure that all pupils and parents are provided with information, advice and support to help meet
In order to improve the overall attendance of pupils in school we aim:
- To make attendance and punctuality a priority for all those associated with Wainstalls School, including pupils, parents/carers, staff and governors.
- To provide support, advice and guidance to parents/carers and pupils.
- To agree roles and responsibilities to ensure consistency in dealing with all matters relating to attendance and punctuality.
- To develop a comprehensive system for collecting and analysing attendance related data.
- To implement a consistent system of rewards and sanctions.
- To recognise and address the needs of individual pupils returning to school following significant periods of absence.
- To further develop positive and consistent communication between home and school.
- To develop effective partnerships with supporting services and agencies within the Local Authority.
If your child is absent you must:
- Contact us by telephoning the school on 01422 244804 before 8.35am on the first day of absence and
continue to keep us informed or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or call into school and report to reception. If your child is absent and we have not heard from you, as a
matter of safety we will implement the First Day Calling Protocol.
First Day Calling Protocol and Procedure
- Class registers taken and saved by 8.45am.
- Late children checked against registers, checks made with class teacher and office emails checked by Mrs Crossley and Mrs Harvey up to 9:00am.
- Mrs Crossley and Mrs Harvey to check attendance.
- First day phone call to the first name on contact list by 9:00am asking for response by Mrs Crossley/Mrs Harvey.
- Ring down contact list until reply is received, ensuring where possible that someone from outside of the family home has been contacted.
- Alert Miss Cater (DDSL), Learning Mentor immediately if child is absent and no contact has been made by 10:00am.
- If DDSL is not available, report absent child to SLT.
- Home Visit made by Learning Mentor, DSL or SLT (this will be pre-agreed with DDSL/DSL/SLT).
- If no response at home, post First Day Calling notification through letter box with a time limit to contact school (11:00am).
- DSL/SLT to contact Police if all the above stages have been completed and there is still no contact regarding the absent child by 11:00am. This should be done using the 101 number.
Only the school, within the context of the law, can approve absence, not parents. (Section 199, Education Act 1993). Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school, 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. An electronic log is maintained by the School Office for the purpose of recording pupils leaving or returning to the site.
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 Local Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings/fines. This includes:
- day trips and holidays in term time.
- 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.
- shopping, looking after other children or birthdays.
Holidays in Term Time
We strongly discourage parents from taking their children on holiday during term time. Taking holidays in term time will detrimentally affect your child’s academic and pastoral progress as much as any other absence and we expect parents to help us by not taking children away in school time. From 1st September 2013 the Education Regulations changed, ‘Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Headteachers should determine the number of days a child can be away
from school if the leave is granted’.
All applications for leave under exceptional circumstances must be made in advance and will be considered
by the Principal, in consultation with Governors where appropriate. In making a decision, the Principal will
consider the circumstances of each application individually, including any previous patterns of leave in term
The exceptional circumstances under which leave may be authorised include:
- Illness of a close relative living at some distance
- Inability of parent to take holidays because of special duties e.g. police/armed forces.
Even when exceptional circumstances do occur, we may still refuse to authorise leave in term time:
- When a child’s attendance record already includes any level of unauthorised absence.
- Where a child’s attendance rate is already 95% or will fall to or below that level as a result of taking holiday
- Immediately before and during statutory assessment periods.
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.
Persistent Absenteeism (PA)
A child who only attends school for 90% or less of the time is classed as a Persistent Absentee. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and the school will take robust action in addressing this issue. We monitor all absence thoroughly and any cases that are seen to have reached the PA mark, or is at risk of moving towards that mark, are given priority, parents will be informed
immediately and a meeting will be requested to explore ways of improving attendance. PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully through our pastoral system and we also combine this with academic mentoring where absence affects attainment. All PA cases are also automatically referred to our Learning Mentor and the Principal informed.
Poor punctuality is not acceptable and Wainstalls School actively discourages lateness as it can significantly disrupt lessons for all. If your child misses the start of the day they can miss vital introductory work and do not spend time with their class teacher getting important information and news for the day. Late arriving children also disrupt lessons, this can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage further absence.
- School doors will open at 8.35am when the school day begins.
- Morning registers will be closed at 8.45am and your child will receive a late mark if they are not in by that time.
- External doors will be closed at 8.40am and children arriving after this time should enter through the main entrance where they will be recorded as arriving late.
- Registers will also be taken at the beginning of the afternoon session.
- It is the responsibility of parents to contact the school before school starts or at the latest by 9.00am if
their child will not be attending school that day.
- The Learning Mentor will attempt to contact the parents of absentees, after 9am, where the reason for absence is not known. This is primarily to ensure that parents are awarethat their child is not in school but also to establish the reason for absence.
Promoting Regular Attendance
Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is the responsibility of the whole school community - parents, children and all members of the school staff. The school has targets to improve and maintain attendance rates and children and parents have an important part to play in meeting these targets. The national attendance target is 96%, but at Wainstalls School, we aim for a target of 97%.
To support this we will:
- Celebrate good attendance throughout school.
- Apply the School Attendance Policy consistently.
- Keep pupils informed about levels of attendance by awarding the class with the highest weekly attendance with an Attendance Certificate in Rewards Assembly.
- Share class and whole school attendance figures with parents in weekly newsletters.
- Make attendance a high priority, through attendance displays/records in the Hall and on classroom doors.
- Formally report children’s attendance and punctuality rates on school reports.
- Award children with 100% attendance for each term with a certificate and for the whole school year, a certificate and prize.
- Provide clear information for parents about attendance and punctuality (Attendance Matters).
- Involve parents at the earliest stage when there are concerns about a pupil’s attendance.
Addressing Attendance Concerns
Where there are issues and concerns regarding the attendance of a child, the school will pro-actively implement a variety of incentives to support the child and family to improve the pupil’s attendance.
- Meetings with parents to discuss strategies in school and at home which encourage regular school attendance and the production of an action plan for improving attendance, which may include collecting the children for an agreed period of time or when individual needs arise.
- Consideration of timetable variations and subject choice with regard to engaging the pupil.
- Learning Mentor to build positive relationships with pupils and parents.
- Use of Peer Mentors to provide a social support network.
- Use of methods for discouraging absence (i.e. placing the pupil on report, letters home).
- Extra support/tuition for the pupil to catch up with work missed.
- In-school counselling.
- Multi-agency meetings will be arranged as appropriate if there are underlying factors that are causing poor attendance.
- Absence logs will be monitored by the Learning Mentor/Administrative Assistant to establish trends in individual absence and target effective action.
- All attendance data will be collated and analysed weekly, termly and annually to establish trends and
to provide reports to Governors, the Local Authority and DfE.
- The school will be sensitive to the individual needs and circumstances of pupils returning to school
after significant periods of absence, a reintegration plan will be agreed and shared with pupil, parents
and staff and peer support and mentoring used if appropriate.
Where intervention at school-level fails to ensure an improvement in a child’s school attendance, a referral to
the Education Welfare Service will be made, with our Learning Mentor liaising with the Educational Welfare
Officer assigned to the case.
Where intervention at the school-level fails to bring about an improvement in school attendance and at the discretion of the Principal, parents can be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice by the Local Authority for their child’s non-attendance. The penalty is £60 per child, per parent and this rises to £120 if not paid within 7 days. There is no right of appeal against a Fixed Penalty Notice. If this is not paid, the Local Authority can proceed to prosecution. The Local Authority can also prosecute parents for non-attendance without issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Monitoring and Evaluation
All members of the school community have a shared responsibility for effectively monitoring our children’s attendance and punctuality. The Learning Mentor, Miss Cater will oversee the procedures outlined and report concerns/issues to the Principal, Mrs Waugh and/or Safeguarding Team, Mrs Tariq and Mr Sykes as appropriate.
Date of implementation: January 2023
Date of next review : January 2024
Team responsible for writing/review: Learning Mentor/Principal/D.S.L
Linked to: SDP
Impact on education by poor attendance
In order to improve attendance in schools, the DfE have introduced new Attendance Guidance that comes into effect 1st September 2023.
Any child with attendance below 90% is classed as a persistent absentee. If your child’s attendance is below 90% you will be contacted by school and invited to a meeting, prior to the issue being referred to the LA Attendance Officer.
Persistent absence is identified as a potential safeguarding concern and will be robustly followed up by the Learning Mentor.
To put in context the impact poor attendance has on a child’s education:
A pupil with 80% attendance will miss
- 1 day a week
- 1 week in every five weeks
- Over 2 months in a school year
- One whole year between years 7 and 11
1 year and 2 months between Reception and Year 6
A pupil with 85% attendance will miss:
- 1 and a half days a fortnight
- 3 days a months
- Almost 1 and a half months in a school year
- Almost 8 months between years 7 – 11
- 11 months between Reception and Year 6
A pupil with 90% attendance will miss
- One half day a week
- 2 days per month
- 1 month in a school year
- 5 months between years 7 – 11
- 7 months between Reception and Year 6