Attendance and Punctuality
Encouraging good attendance is a school priority and it is very important that you avoid unnecessary absences for your child. Schools have a statutory duty to record absences and the reasons given for these absences.
Parents/Carers are asked to inform our school on the first day of their children’s absence by written note/ email, verbal message or phone call. We aim to operate a ‘First Day Absence Call’ system if no message has been received by 10.00am.
Definitions of absence:
- An absence is classified as authorised when a child has been away from school for a legitimate reason and the school has received notification from a parent or carer. For example, if a child has been unwell, the parent writes a note/ email or telephones the school to explain the absence.
- Only the school can make an absence authorised. Parents and carers do not have this authority. Consequently, not all absences supported by parents and carers will be classified as authorised. For example, if a parent takes a child out of school to go shopping during school hours, this will not mean it is an authorised absence.
- An absence is classified as unauthorised when a child is away from school without the permission of both the school and a parent.
- Therefore, the absence is unauthorised if a child is away from school without good reason, even with the support of a parent.
Deciding if an absence is authorised/ unauthorised
Requests for absence will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Absences will be authorised for:
- Genuine illness of the pupil*
- Hospital/dental appointment for the pupil where there is a very good reason to take place during the school day **
- Compassionate grounds
- Religious observance
- Moving house
- Interview / visiting another school / educational establishment.
* Parents may be asked to provide written evidence of illness for frequent or prolonged absences from a doctor.
** Routine dentist or doctor appointments should be made, as far as possible, outside of the school day or during the 13 weeks of school holidays.
Family emergencies need careful consideration. Parents are asked to consider that school friendships and relationships can provide children with stability and care during difficult times. The routine of school can provide a safe and familiar background to life during times of upheaval.
If the teacher is concerned that the absence may not be due to the reason given they should then inform either the in-school attendance officer or Headteacher who may need to discuss the matter with the parent/carer and/or the EWO.
Examples of Unauthorised Absence include:
It is not possible to provide a definitive list, however examples of common requests that are not authorised are: holidays in term time; shopping trip / birthday / special treat event; oversleeping due to a late night; looking after other family members or visiting relatives.
There are strong and proven links between pupil attendance and educational achievement. Attendance of less than 95% (i.e. absences of 9.5 days or more out of the 190 pupil days in the school year) has been shown to compromise pupil attainment. At 90% attendance pupils miss the equivalent of almost 4 weeks education (19 days) and are categorised as ‘persistent absentees’; only 10% of pupils who are persistently absent from school achieve 5 A-C grades at GCSE.
The school holiday dates are published at least 6 months before the start of the next academic year and we strongly advise parents/carers to book their family holidays during the school holidays. There are approximately thirteen weeks of schools holidays within a year.
No parents/carers can demand leave of absence for their child/children as a right.
If a family holiday in term time is unavoidable, a holiday form must be completed prior to the holiday. This can be obtained from the school office. The Headteacher will then decide whether or not to authorise the absences. Headteachers, on behalf of the Governors, can grant leave, at their discretion, for up to two weeks in any school year. It is very rare that term time holidays are authorised. The Headteacher will decide whether or not to authorise the absence having considered:
- The child’s record of attendance (the usual expectation would be at least 95%);
- That the holiday does not exceed the maximum of ten school days in any one year (unless it is an exceptional circumstance);
- The reason that the holiday is taking place in term time;
- The time of the holiday, ensuring that it would not prevent the child from missing any important examinations/assessments.
If the holiday absence is unauthorised, then you may be liable to pay a fine from Surrey’s Educational Welfare Officer team.
Attendance of all children is monitored throughout the school year, and we will contact parents, or discuss any issues with you, if we have any concerns. If there is no improvement, we may refer the situation to the school’s Educational Welfare Officer. Please do inform us if there are any issues facing you or your child that may impact their attendance.
More information is available in the school’s attendance and punctuality policy.
Late arrivals: When a child arrives late, it interrupts concentration and wastes valuable learning time. Children who arrive late must be accompanied to the school office by a parent/carer and signed in. If a child arrives after 8.55 am / 1.10 pm he/she will be marked late. If they arrive after 9.15am without a valid reason then it will be marked as an unauthorised absence. If there is a valid reason for lateness, e.g. an urgent doctor’s appointment, this may then be authorised at the discretion of the school.
Punctuality of all children is monitored throughout the school year, and we will contact parents, or discuss any issues with you, if we have any concerns. If there is no improvement, we may refer the situation to the school’s Educational Welfare Officer. Please do inform us if there are any issues facing you or your child that may impact their punctuality.
Late collection: Children should be collected punctually at 3.15 pm. If a child is not collected by 3.30 pm the member of staff on duty will return them into the school, where parents will be contacted. Emergency contact numbers will be used and if we are unable to contact parents/carers and our local referral hub (Social Services) or the Police will be informed if any child is left uncollected after 5pm.
If parents/carers have an emergency that means they are going to be significantly late, school should be informed as soon as possible: Clubland (the after-school daily club) may be able to take pupils until 6 pm in an emergency; a charge will be incurred for this which is payable to Clubland.
Late collection after extracurricular clubs: Parents/Carers will be informed about timings for clubs – these usually finish at 4.15pm or 4.30pm. If parents/carers are frequently late then the child’s place may be withdrawn.