Foundational text: ’I pray that you……may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’ Ephesians 3:18
Countess Anne School
A Church of England Academy
Living God’s Love through….
- Academic provision that recognises the need for excellence in teaching and learning.
- Holistic provision that encourages Christian hope; building spirit and soul through faith orientated pastoral care.
- Inspirational provision through a modern curriculum that celebrates diversity and provides new opportunities.
Attendance and Punctuality Policy
At Countess Anne Church of England School we aim for an environment which enables and encourages all members of the community to strive for excellence. For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and our aim is that all our children should be at school, on time, every day the school is open.
We believe this is essential for pupils to get the most out of their school experience, including their attainment, wellbeing and wider life chances. For example, National statistics show KS2, pupils not meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths had an over all absence rate of 4.7% compared to 3.5% among those meeting the expected standard. This is replicated at KS4 when pupils sit their G.C.S.E. exams.
With this in mind, we aim to provide staff who see pupils as individuals and support them through faith oriented pastoral care as well as develop a curriculum that inspires our pupils to attend school.
Additionally, we believe that excellent attendance improves their life chances as it shows potential employers that your child is reliable. Research suggests that children who attend school regularly are also at less risk of becoming involved in antisocial behaviour or crime.
Consequently, we strive to ensure that each child attends school as often as possible and identify and investigate reasons why a child may not be attending regularly in partnership with parents and pupils, aiming to resolve problems as quickly as possible.
At Countess Anne, we aim:
- To celebrate excellent attendance and ensure that the whole school community understands that improving school attendance is the responsibility of everyone.
- To develop and maintain a whole school culture that promotes the benefits of excellent attendance, ensuring a consistent approach throughout the school.
- To work with pupils and parents to remove any barriers to excellent attendance through building relationships and providing support where needed.
- To record and monitor attendance and absenteeism and apply appropriate strategies to minimise its occurrence.
- To keep the whole school attendance above 96%.
- To investigate reasons for persistent absenteeism (identified by the government as 10% or more missed days at school.).
Attendance registers are legal documents which are taken at the start of each morning session of each school day and once during the afternoon session. If a pupil is absent then a reason must be recorded and a decision is made whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised. The school uses register data to monitor the attendance of our pupils. (The rules governing the maintainance of registers, including removal from roll, are contained in the Education (Pupils Registration) (England) Regulations 2006.)
8.30a.m. Gates open.
8.40a.m. Doors open. Children are expected to enter the school through the playground and go straight to the classroom.
8.50a.m. Gates closed. Registers returned to the office. A late mark is recorded in the register if your child arrives after 8.50a.m. and a reason is required for school records. Please record the reason at the office.
9.10a.m. Registers close. If your child arrives after 9.10a.m. this is recorded as an unauthorised absence and a reason is required for school records.
1.00p.m. Afternoon session begins for EYP, Year 2 and Year 3.
1.20p.m. Afternoon session begins for Phase 2 – Years 4, 5 and 6.
3.10p.m. School ends. (Please refer to the school’s pick up and drop off policy.)
If your child is unexpectedly unwell, parents should contact the school office on the day of the absence.
If your child is likely to be late arriving at school, parents should visit the school office to record the reason.
School will begin to contact parents from 9.30a.m. if no reason has yet been given for an absence. If there is no response, you may receive a home visit from a member of staff.
Why Regular Attendance is so important:
Learning:- 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 and so may affect the learning of others in the same class.
Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is a parent’s legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
Safeguarding:- Your child may be at risk of harm if they do not attend school regularly. Failing to attend this school on a regular basis will be considered as a safeguarding matter.
If the School is unable to ascertain the whereabouts of any child who is absent, you may receive a visit from a member of staff with a letter requiring immediate explanation for the absence. Alternatively, it may be necessary to inform other agencies, including the police, the attendance improvement service or social care as the school cannot account for where that child is.
The Law relating to attendance
Parents are responsible for making sure that their children of compulsory school age receive a suitable full-time education. (Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.)
The Law relating to safeguarding
Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities and governing bodies to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State with regard to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and students under the age of 18.
What is expected of Countess Anne School’s Governing Body?
- Ensure an effective whole school culture of high attendance is underpinned by clear expectations, procedures and responsibilities.
- Ensure school leaders fulfil expectations and statutory duties.
- Ensure they understand the main issues facing the school regarding attendance.
- Ensure they receive a regular report regarding school attendance from senior leadership of the school.
What is expected of the headteacher?
- Ensure the school has a clear written school attendance policy that is applied fairly and consistently and that recognises the individual needs of pupils and families who have specific barriers to attendance.
- Ensure every member of staff knows and understands their responsibilities for safeguarding and how this links with poor school attendance – ensuring compliance with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 and Statutory Guidance for schools and colleges – September, 2022.
- Working with the S.E.N.Co., develop good support for pupils with medical conditions (including the use of individual healthcare plans), mental health problems and S.E.N.D. Ensuring compliance with Statutory Guidance such as Supporting pupils with medical conditions at school, December, 2015. (www.gov.uk)
- Work in partnership with the deputy headteacher and office staff to promote excellent attendance and respectful communication with pupils and their families.
- Liaise with other agencies working with pupils and their families to support attendance, for example where a young person has a social worker or is otherwise vulnerable.
- Build and model respectful relationships with staff, pupils, families and other stakeholders to secure trust and engagement.
- Develop open and honest communication with staff, pupils and families about their expectations of school life and reminding parents of their commitment to this attendance policy.
- Ensuring compliance with guidance regarding Children Missing in Education.
What is expected of the teacher responsible for attendance? (Attendance Champion.)
At Countess Anne School, the senior leader with responsibility for attendance is the deputy head teacher.
The deputy headteacher is responsible for:
- Ensuring every member of staff knows and understands their responsiblities for attendance as well as keeping school staff informed of attendance figures to implement attendance procedures.
- Ensuring acurate completion of attendance registers.
- Ensuring staff are actively working to maximise attendance rates both in relation to individual pupils and their whole class.
- Ensuring all staff adopt a consistent approach in dealing with absence and lateness.
- Monitoring and analysing attendance data reguarly, meeting with pupils and families to address attendance issues and concerns, allowing for early intervention. This may include raising concerns with other agencies such as children’s social care.
- Reporting to the Governing Body attendance figures and progress to achieving the set targets.
- Work alongside the office staff, meeting with pupils, parents and staff to implement the school policy for school attendance.
- Working with the Local Authority Attendance Officer to improve persistent absenteeism including lateness.
- Undertaking home visits in line with the school’s safeguarding responsibilities to engage familes and ensure pupils are safe.
- Ensuring that the Local Authority is notified of any pupils who fail to attend school regularly via a 10 Day Absence Form.
What is expected of teaching staff?
All teachers are responsible for:
- Ensuring the whole school culture of high attendance and punctuality is underpinned by setting an example of punctuality and good attendance.
- Implementing the school attendance policy fairly and consistently.
- Ensuring registers are taken at the start of the morning session, returning them to the office at 8.55a.m. and once at the start of the afternoon session.
- Reviewing class and individual attendance patterns, reporting these to parents in termly reports and informing the deputy headteacher of any concerns.
- Emphasising with pupils the importance of punctuality and good attendance.
- Reminding parents of their commitment to this policy.
- Building respectful relationships with pupils and their families, making sure there is a welcoming and positive culture across the school.
- Communicating effectively with families regarding pupils’ attendance and well-being, particularly during parent consultations.
- Discussing absence and lateness with pupils. E.g. always notice an absence, a late arrival or an improvement and comment
- Being aware of pupils at risk of severe or persistent absence (10% or more of school time); welcoming pupils back following an absence; considering how to support a pupil to catch up on learning and improve their attendance; provide praise and encouragement when pupils attend and arrive on time; contribute to action plans where appropriate.
What is expected of the school secretary/ office staff?
- Ensure the recording of attendance and absence data is accurate.
- Ensure robust day-to-day processes are in place.
- To follow up absence and poor punctuality,implementing the school lateness sign-in book.
- Carry out robust first day calling procedures including priority routines for vulnerable pupils.
- Identify any absences that are not explained for each session and contact parents to understand why and when the pupil will return.
- Report concerns about the whereabouts of a pupil to the headteacher and deputy headteacher.
- Where absence is recorded as unexplained in the attendance register the correct code should be inputted as soon as the reason is ascertained, but no later than 5 working days after the session.
- Where reasonably possible, ensure school holds more than one emergency contact number for each pupil.
- Inform parents of the school’s attendance policy and procedures.
- Liaise with the deputy head teacher and head teacher to promote excellent punctuality and attendance.
What is expected of parents?
Parents are responsible in law for ensuring that their children of compulsory school age receive an efficient education suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special needs that they may have. Most parents fulfil this responsibility by registering their children at a school.
Parents whose children are registered at a school are responsible for ensuring that their children attend and stay at school every day school is open.
Parents are responsible for:
- Ensuring that their children are punctual, know the importance of good attendance and are appropriately dressed and equipped for the day.
- Instilling in their children an appreciation of the importance of attending school regularly.
- Informing the school on the first day of absence by 9.30a.m.
- Providing the school with an explanation for the absence including late arrival at school. If a parent arrives after the gates have closed, they should visit the school office and record a reason in the punctuality book.
- Identifying school term dates prior to making any arrangements for holidays and special occasions.
- Keeping requests for their child to be absent to a minimum.
- Working in partnership with the school to resolve issues and help the school to understand their child’s barriers to attendance.
- Proactively engage with the support offered by the school to prevent the need for more formal support.
- If formal support is needed, proactively engage with this support, including the School and Attendance Improvement Service to prevent the need for legal intervention.
- Booking any medical appointments around the school day where possible.
- Only requesting leave of absence in exceptional circumstances and doing so in advance. Please note holidays will not be authorised during term time.
- By attending Countess Anne School, parents agree to work with the school in accordance with this attendance policy.
What is expected of pupils?
- To do all they can to attend school regularly and punctually.
- To talk to a member of the staff if there are reasons, beyond their control, that prevent them from being punctual and attending regularly.
- Participate in a termly meeting with the deputy head if their attendance falls below 90%.
Encouraging Good Attendance.
Countess Anne School encourages excellent attendance by:
- Using clear and consistently applied systems and proceses to improve, reward and incentivise attendance and address absences. It ensures that these systems are inclusive and appropriate for all pupils.
- Publicising good attendance each week in the newsletter and in Awards’ Assembly and in reporting to the Governing Body.
- Awarding excellent attendance certificates to pupils when they have achieved 100% or 99% attendance over a term/ year.
- Awarding good attendance stickers to those pupils attending 95% and above.
- Awarding a trophy for the best class attendance each term.
- Keeping parents informed of their child’s attendance.Attendance is reported in a pupil’s termly report and time missed will be discussed during parent consultations. Parents also receive a printed account of their child’s attendance record.
- o The school gates open at 8.30a.m. and close at 8.50a.m.
- o The school doors open at 8.40a.m.
- o The register will be open for no longer than 30 minutes after the session begins.
- o Pupils who arrive after the register has closed at 9.10a.m. and the parent can provide a satisfactory explanation, will be marked as “authorised absent” for that session.
- o Pupils who arrive after the register is closed and the parent fails to provide a satisfactory explanation will be marked as “unauthorised absent” for that session.
- o Families who are late several times may be required to attend a meeting with the deputy head teacher to address the problem.
Pupils at risk of persistent absence. (Identified by the government as having 10% or more absence.)
As a school, we are expected to:
- Proactively use data to identify pupils at risk of poor attendance.
- Work with each identified pupil and their parents to understand and address the reasons for absence, including any in-school barriers to attendance.
- Signpost and support parents to access any required services where out of school barriers are identified.
- If the issue persists, take and an active part in a multi-agency effort with the Local Authority and other partners.
- Act as the Lead Practitioner where all partners agree that the school is the best placed lead service.
Pupils who are persistently absent.
Persistent absence occurs when a child’s attendance is at or falls below 90%. Absenteeism at this level will considerably damage a pupil’s educational prospects and the school will work alongside parents/carers to tackle the issue.
As a school, we are expected to:
- Continue to support as for pupils at risk of becoming persistently absent
- Ensure additional targetted support is in place to remove any barriers.
- Should there be lack of engagement, hold more formal conversations with parents, being clear about the potential need for legal intervention in future.
- Where support is not working or being engaged with, work with the Local Authority on legal intervention.
- If there are safeguarding concerns, intensify support through statutory children’s social care.
- Work with other local schools, such as schools previously attended or schools of siblings.
Pupils who are severely absent.
Severe absence occurs when a child’s attendance is at or falls below 50%.
- As a school, we are expected to:
- Continue support as for pupils who are persistently absent.
- Agree a joint approach for all pupils who are severely absent with the Local Authority, children’s social care services and other statutory safeguarding partners.
- Be especially conscious of any potential safeguarding issues.
- Ensure all appropriate services are informed and aware of the pupil’s absence so that suitable support can be considered and education access.
Only the school can authorise an absence. The fact that a parent has provided a note or other explanation (telephone call or personal contact) in relation to a particular absence does not of itself oblige the school to accept it, if the school does not accept the explanation offered as a valid reason for the absence.
If, after investigation doubt remains about the explanation offered – or when no explanation is forthcoming at all – the absence will be treated as unauthorised and the parent informed.
- Leave of absence can be applied for in advance. It is the school’s decision as to whether this is granted because of exceptional circumstances relating to the application (parents cannot expect, as of right, that the school will grant leave of absence).
- Leave of absence to allow a pupil to take part in a performance within the meaning of s37 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 for which a child performance licence has been issued. HCC will not issue a child performance licence where absence is required without the written permission of the Headteacher.
Requests for Leave of Absence
If a parent wishes to request a period of leave, an ‘Absence Request Form’ should be obtained from the school office, completed and returned to the Head teacher clearly stating the reasons why with as much notice as possible. Requests for leave of absence will be considered individually and are granted at the discretion of the Head teacher. These are usually dependent on your child’s attendance record and their progress.
No child is automatically entitled to leave of absence during term time. No child will be granted leave of absence for more than 10 days in any school year unless there are exceptional circumstances.Leave of absence cannot be given if the absence has already taken place. This is an unauthorised absence. Leave of absence will not be granted for family holidays. Guidance from the government states that headteachers are no longer allowed to grant leave of absence for a family holiday and school holidays should be used for this purpose. (See section on Fixed Penalty Notices to understand the consequences of unauthorised absence).
Fixed Penalty Notices.
Our school follows Hertfordshire County Council’s Penalty Notice for Truancy Code of Conduct and procedures.
- We expect parents/carers to work with the school to address attendance problems.
- If a pupil has at least 15 sessions (half day = 1 session) unauthorised absence in the current and/or previous term (including unauthorised holidays), the Head teacher or deputy head teacher may ask the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice.
- The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £120 if paid after 28 days.
- There is no right of appeal by parent against a Fixed Penalty Notice.
- If the penalty is not paid, the Local Authority may prosecute parents/carers for their child’s irregular attendance.
- As part of the framework for the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers (Ofsted June 2015) local authorities are required to provide detailed data on school age children in their area who are not in receipt of full-time education and schools are also expected to maintain data on students of compulsory school age who are on roll but attending on a part-time timetable.
- Countess Anne School follows the Local Authority’s guidance on the use of part-time timetables.
- All schools are required to return information on children who are on part-time timetables within five days of the pupils starting or ending a part-time timetable.
- At Countess Anne School, the decision to introduce a part-time timetable will be taken in the best interests of the pupil, and is agreed with the understanding, written agreement and approval of the parents/carers.
- In addition, the part-time timetable will be set for a limited period and review date arranged.
Class teachers and the office staff monitor attendance and punctuality of all pupils daily. Concerns about lateness or absence are referred to the deputy head teacher or head teacher. In addition, the deputy head teacher will monitor attendance by data analysis, cross-referencing days of absence and looking for any regular patterns that occur.
Chair of Governing Body signature:
Date approved: 13/03/2023
Review date: 03/2024