Attendance & Punctuality
At Brindishe Schools we believe that good attendance and punctuality are essential for the following reasons:
- research shows that children who attend school regularly do better at school and make better progress
- people who establish good patterns of timekeeping at an early age tend to keep these patterns for life
- children who attend school regularly and on time do not miss lessons, parts of lessons or vital pieces of information; they see themselves as ‘in the picture’ and as important members of the group
- children are entitled, in law, to receive a suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise
- schools and parent/carer(s) are legally obliged to ensure that all children receive their entitlement
- it is not only a child’s learning that is affected by missing school; they also miss out on social aspects and this can affect their ability to make and keep their friendships - a vital part of growing up.
Our guiding principles for good attendance and punctuality at Brindishe Schools:
- All children have the right to their full-time education
- All children have the right to arrive at and leave school at the appropriate time each day. Responsibility for promoting school attendance is shared by everyone in the school and is not left to a particular individual or group of people
- Having a clear and effective attendance policy which supports good attendance and punctuality improves all aspects of a child’s school’s life, especially its values, ethos, curriculum and achievement.
Who is responsible for promoting good attendance and punctuality?
- Parent/carers have the main responsibility and we are fortunate that the vast majority of parent/carers fully support and uphold our high expectations.
- All staff are encouraged to see themselves as responsible for promoting good attendance and punctuality, not least by modelling it themselves and by keeping it high focus. They work to identify and if possible remove barriers to a child achieving good attendance and punctuality.
- The Headteacher and Governing Body are responsible for ensuring that the school works in ways which enable its children to achieve at least the national average rates and where possible to exceed them.
- The Senior Leadership and/or Attendance Officer at each school are responsible for monitoring and responding to patterns of attendance and/or punctuality which impact on a child’s ability to make progress in school.
- The LA’s (Local Authority) attendance and welfare officer has a duty to monitor registers and punctuality and to respond to concerns by working directly with the school, child and family.
How do we mark and monitor attendance and punctuality?
The attendance register for all children on the school roll is taken twice a day - at the start of the morning and afternoon sessions. For each child, the register is marked either as present, engaged in an approved educational activity away from the school site or absent. If the child is absent, the teacher (or person taking the register) will indicate the reasons for absence where known. This is a legal requirement that is guided by the government. For details of our start and finish times for each school please contact the school office or visit our website at www.brindisheschools.org.
How do we promote good attendance and punctuality?
- We will make sure that all classes know what their attendance rate is and encourage within each class a positive and supportive attitude towards attendance and punctuality.
- We will talk to individual children about their pattern of attendance and punctuality so that they can be aware of their goals and their progress towards them.
- We will report data on attendance rates regularly to all parent/carers and carers.
- We will include the attendance and punctuality rate of the child in the annual report to their schools and parent/carer(s) and ensure that it remains part of the child’s individual school profile or record.
- We will give consistent messages about attendance and punctuality by modelling good punctuality, praising good attendance and punctuality and explaining to children why these things matter.
- We will work with schools and parent/carer(s) who are experiencing difficulties getting their child/ren to school and provide support to help them overcome these. Parent/carers / carers can always contact any member of staff to discuss their concerns.
- Where family health or circumstances are impeding a child's attendance or punctuality we will work with local services and with other professionals to try to minimise the impact. For example we will work with representatives of the medical profession including the school nurse and with colleagues from Social Care and Health. Our aim will be to ensure that a child's punctuality and attendance improves.
- We will keep careful records of each child’s punctuality and attendance so that our decisions and actions are based on reliable data and so that we can carefully monitor performance at child, class and whole school level.
- We will look carefully at in-school factors which may impact on a child’s willingness to attend school regularly and on time. This will include such areas as relationships between adults and children, between children and their peers, the child’s behaviour and progress in school and their attitude towards specific events (such as lunchtime), activities (such as tests) and subjects (such as PE). We will be especially aware of how a child’s happiness and well-being at school can have a significant effect on their attendance and physical health.
What happens if a child arrives late?
It is important that classes make a prompt and effective start to the day.
Teachers provide early learning tasks to settle the class before they begin to take the register. If children arrive late, they must go to the school office to be registered for late entry. This ensures that a record of late arrivals is made, for monitoring purposes, and also ensures that the learning of the other children is not disturbed.
We fully understand that a late arrival does sometimes happen due to unavoidable circumstances. For example there may be a serious traffic delay or a one-off unforeseen event. Whenever possible, it is always better to inform the school by telephone when a child will be late. Where a child has a pattern of late arrival we will investigate causes and seek an improvement. A pattern of late arrivals after the registers have closed may lead to the school referring the family to the LA’s attendance and welfare officer for investigation.
What happens if a child is going to be absent from school?
If a child is going to be absent from school the parent/carer is responsible for letting the school office staff know the reason for the absence and the anticipated length or duration of the absence. Where no message is received about a child’s absence, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.
If a child is absent without explanation when the register is called, the school staff will contact the parent/carers the same day, wherever possible to establish the reason.
Notification of, and reasons for absence must be provided by the child’s parent/carer or the parent/carer’s adult representative. This may be in person, by phone, e-mail or in writing. We cannot accept messages from primary-aged children.
What happens if a child’s attendance causes concern?
Parent/carers have the responsibility for ensuring that their child attends school regularly. There is a national target of 96% attendance for primary-aged children. This takes into account the normal range of childhood illnesses. We appreciate that children with special medical needs or conditions may find this target difficult to achieve. Where the need or condition is professionally supported and documented the target of 96% attendance is relaxed and a more appropriate target set for the individual child. A child will be considered persistently absent if their attendance falls below 90%.
Parents and carers can view their child’s attendance percentage through our on-line management information service (Arbor), which can be accessed through your school’s individual website.
If a child’s attendance falls below 96%, it alerts us to look more closely at the pattern of attendance.
We would look for the following patterns:
- Three days or more absence with no known or satisfactory reason.
- Roughly 3 broken weeks in any six
- Regular patterns of absence (e.g. Mondays or Fridays)
- Friends or siblings absent together
- Persistent lateness
- Reported concerns for a child's well-being, welfare or safety
- Changes in family circumstances, changes in delivery or collection arrangements
It is recognised that the attendance rate of a child may have fallen because the child has had a series of medical absences, over a relatively short period of time, and that the rate of attendance will rise with the child’s recovery.
If a child does not attend regularly, or there are concerns about the reasons for non-attendance, then we will take the following actions:
- collect and examine the rate and pattern of attendance
- talk to the child about their attendance. Discuss with the class teacher, teaching assistants/ member of the Inclusion team to establish the level of concern and any known factors which may contribute to the picture or pattern.
- the school will contact the child's parent/carers/carer to establish further information and to identify strategies for improvement
- if appropriate the school will enlist the support of the LA’s attendance and welfare officer (AWO).
In all of our actions the intention will be to improve the pattern of attendance and punctuality for the child. Where it is not possible, with the co-operation of the parent/carers, to improve the attendance and punctuality rate of a child the school may decide to take further action. Under current legislation, parent/carers found guilty of school attendance offences could be subject to a maximum penalty of up to £2500 and/or a period of imprisonment for up to three months. Penalty notices will be issued by the education authority and failure to pay will lead to prosecution.
Penalty notices may be issued for unauthorised absences including:
- parent/carer condoned absences (truancy)
- unauthorised holidays during term time
More information on penalty notices is available from the school office or from the Attendance and Welfare section of Lewisham Education at Laurence House
If you wish to discuss your child's attendance, please contact Clare Doran, our Attendance, Welfare and Safeguarding Officer for Brindishe Schools on 07943 041970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.