Our attendance policy, which is in line with the Essex County Council Attendance Specialist guidance, can be found within the policies section of this website.
Requests for Absence
If your child needs time away from school, a Request for Absence form must be completed (this can no longer just be via email to the office). This can be found on the school’s website or a copy collected from the school office. A separate form must be completed for each child and sent into school, either by email or handed in to the office, before the period of absence. This form will be reviewed and a written response will be sent to you via the royal mail, explaining whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised and whether it may be referred to the Local Authority for a penalty notice to be issued.
Authorisation of Absences
The current law does not give any entitlement to parents to take their child out of school during term time. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 prohibits Headteachers granting leave of absence to a pupil except where an application has been made in advance and the Headteacher considers that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application.
All requests for leave of absences whether authorised or unauthorised will be recorded on the child’s records and will have an impact on a child’s overall attendance percentage,
UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE will be referred to the Local Authority, which may result in a penalty notice. The Local Authority may issue a penalty notice to each parent of £60 for each child to be paid within 21 days. If the penalty is not paid within the time scale the penalty will increase to £120. If the higher penalty is not paid within 28 days, the Local Authority will then institute legal proceedings.
It is important to note that the money from any penalty notices issued is paid directly to the Local Authority and none of this is received by the school. Once an unauthorised absence has been referred to the Local Authority, the school does not deal with the penalty notice.
Monitoring of Attendance
To ensure that our attendance levels remain in line with national standards, we will be monitoring attendance regularly, analysing attendance data fortnightly to identify any pupils whose attendance has dropped below 90%. Children with attendance below 90% are classed by the government as persistent absentees and it is important that we reduce the number of children with this level of attendance, as this will have a significant impact upon a child’s learning. We will therefore be sending attendance letters to any parents of pupils who are persistent absentees, each term. Where there is no improvement, parents will be invited to attend a school attendance meeting to talk about their child’s attendance and explore ways of supporting them to improve this. A plan will be put in place to support improved attendance and weekly monitoring of attendance will be put in place.
Children whose attendance falls below 50% are classed as severe absentees; this is a significant concern. We would hope that, through our fortnightly analysis and intervention to support families of children with low attendance, we would not be in a position where any child’s attendance would become this low. However, if this situation were to occur, we would work very closely with the family and involve other professionals, as appropriate, to ensure that a robust plan was in place to improve attendance, monitoring this very carefully.
Following our analysis of attendance, we may also write to parents of children whose attendance falls below 96%, especially if they have had a number of different absences, to alert them to the fact that their attendance is below national expectations and that we will be monitoring this.
Impact of Poor Attendance
Poor attendance can have a significant impact upon children’s learning but can also impact upon them socially and emotionally. As you will be able to see from some of the documentation attached to this letter, a child who is a persistent absentee by the end of the school year will have lost at least 19 days of school, which equates to 95 hours of lost learning.
Lateness to school can also have a significant impact on a child’s learning but can also cause disruption to the learning of other children in the pupil’s class. This can be upsetting for the child who is late and their classmates.
We want to work collaboratively with parents and carers to ensure the best outcomes for our children and are appreciative of your support on this matter. If you do have any concerns or wish to discuss the contents of this letter further, please do not hesitate to speak to us.