Please note that rules governing our attendance procedures are changing with effect from September 2015, in particular the Persistent Absence threshold. The Department of Education currently defines persistent absentees as school-age pupils missing more than 15% of sessions in a school year. Persistent absence will reduce from 15% to 10% from September 2015.
Persistent absence is a serious problem for students. Much of the work students miss when they are off school is rarely made up, leaving these students at a considerable disadvantage for the remainder of their school career. There is also clear evidence of a link between poor attendance at school and low levels of achievement. At present any student with attendance below 85% is classified by the Department of Education as a Persistent Absentee, the Academy’s target is 95%.
It is imperative that with your support your child aims for 100% attendance to help prevent them falling into the category of Persistent Absentee. The Persistent Absentee classification puts Parents/Carers in jeopardy of being subject of a Penalty Notice issued by the Local Authority. These notices are £60 fines which if not paid within a specified period rise to £120. Please work with the Academy to encourage attendance every day and support any absence with medical evidence which can be in the form of an appointment card or copy of prescription.
At Thornaby Academy we expect students to have a 100% attendance, missing school damages a student’s opportunity to achieve a good education, and it reduces future life prospects. Parents/Carers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their child regularly attends school.
All absences will be recorded as authorised or unauthorised. Where an explanation for absence is not provided or deemed as unsatisfactory then the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. Absence will not be authorised for reasons such as family holidays taken in term time, the illness of a family member, daytrips, hairdresser appointments or birthdays. It is at the Academy’s discretion whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised.
It is understandable that students get ill and may require a little time off school, but it is essential that parents/carers communicate with the Attendance Officer so that the Academy are aware of the situation. It is our policy to request medical evidence for any absence owing to illness or medical/dentist appointment; we will accept an appointment card, prescription or a note from the doctor.
If a student’s attendance is 85% or less then they will be classed as persistently absent and as such this level of attendance will be causing considerable damage to their prospects.
Only the Academy can authorise or approve absence, not parents. The fact that a parent has offered a note or phone call to explain an absence does not mean that we have to accept this as a valid reason for absence. If, after further investigation, doubt still remains about the explanation offered or where no explanation is offered the absence will be marked as unauthorised.
We will take the following actions where student attendance falls:-
Less than 95% Student will be monitored; letters sent home alerting parents to percentage attendance.
Less than 90% Parents invited in to school to explore any barriers present to regular attendance, a plan drafted to support regular attendance.
85% or less, further meetings with parents in company with a member of staff from Local Authority Attendance Team present
80% or less Local Authority Attendance Service referral made and intervention commences.
Penalty Notice – A fast & effective way to address unauthorised absences, these penalty notices come in to force when a student has 5 or more unauthorised absences in a 12 week period. Fines are issued by the local Authority attendance service.
Holidays in term time:
- The Education Regulations 2013 states that Head Teachers/Principal’s may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless;
- an application has been made in advance to the Head Teacher/Principal by a parent with whom the student normally lives with; and
- the Head Teacher/Principal or person authorised by the Head teacher/Principal considers that leave of absence should be granted due to the exceptional circumstances relating to that application
If a parent removes a student from the Academy for a holiday during term time we will refer them for a £60 penalty notice.
Absence due to illness
Not every illness needs to keep your child from school. If you keep your child away from school, be sure to inform the school on the first day of their absence.
When deciding to keep your child at home consider a few things:
Even though they are complaining of feeling ill, would this really affect their day once they were in school or will it pass leaving them ok to attend? Would you take a day off work if you had this condition? Does your child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff?
If your child is ill, it’s likely to be due to one of a few minor health conditions.
Whether you send your child to school will depend on how severe you think the illness, if you’re concerned about your child’s health, consult a health professional.
Cough and cold: A child with a minor cough or cold will be fine to attend school, once in school if the condition gets worse, your child is to inform the Attendance Officer and arrangements will be made for them to go home.
Headache. A child with a headache does not need to be kept off school
Vomiting and diarrhoea. Children with these conditions should be kept off school. They can usually return within 24 hours when their symptoms will have disappeared. Most cases of vomiting or diarrhoea get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, consult your GP and provide school with the medical evidence (appointment card, copy of prescription).
Sore throat: A sore throat alone does not mean you have to keep your child from school.
It’s important to inform the school if your child is going to be absent. On the first day of your child’s illness, telephone the school to tell them that your child will be staying at home and the reasons why, this will prevent any unauthorised absences being added to the register if the absence is deemed appropriate to input the “I” for illness code.
Head lice: usually, head lice can be treated effectively using medicated lotions or by wet combing, students will probably only need a day away from the Academy after being treated effectively.
Chicken pox: to prevent spreading the infection, keep children off school until the spots have crusted over.