SHAWCLOUGH COUNTY PRIMARY SCHOOL
POLICY AND PROCEDURE FOR CHILDREN'S ATTENDANCE
Manager: Julia Sandiford-Mitchell
Reviewed: March 2013
Approved by the Governors: April 2013
Reviewed: Jan 2017
Next Review March 2019
INTENTION OF THE POLICY
At Shawclough we believe that regular punctual school attendance is crucial if children are to take full advantage of the educational opportunities offered. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that children arrive in school on time and is included in the Parent-School Agreement.
Shawclough School knows from experience that irregular attendance undermines the educational process and can lead to educational disadvantage and subsequently other disadvantage. There is a range of activity and strategies that the school can take to improve the attendance of the few children. However it is also recognised that there are factors over which the school has no control, for example natural childhood illness.
Fundamentally all our children should want to come to school each day because they like it. If they do not it will be vital that we review what is happening to the individual child
This policy outlines the procedures and responsibilities undertaken at Shawclough to monitor and maximise the children’s attendance.
CONTENT OF THE POLICY
* Role of the School and Education Staff
* Monitoring Attendance data
* Procedure when attendance is causing concern
* Procedure when a child’s lateness is causing concern
* Informing parents
* Incentives to encourage children to attend regularly
* The role of the parents
* The role of the Governing Body
* Equal Opportunities
* Review of the policy
ROLE OF THE SCHOOL AND THE EDUCATION STAFF
The Role of the Headteacher
The Headteacher strongly supports the view that good regular attendance has a marked effect on the development and attainment of children.
The Role of Education Staff - Beginning Of The Day
Children can arrive at school and gain admittance to the building from 8.30 a.m.
Children who join the Early Start Club for a small charge are admitted from 7.40 a.m.
Those children who attend the Early Start Club are expected to behave sensibly and responsibly. The Early Start Club Leaders will have given the children parameters of acceptable activity that will include socialising.
On the rare occasion that a child’s behaviour falls below the expected and accepted standard, after a one-chance warning, their parents are contacted and asked not to send their children into school until the beginning of the child’s school day at 8.40 a.m.
The teaching staff are allocated directed teaching time for supervising in classrooms from 8.30 a.m. to welcome children and to be available to talk with parents.
The bell is rung at 8.40 a.m. to indicate the beginning of the child’s school day. At this point the register is “opened” and taken. It is because the school is open from 8.30 a.m. that the children are expected to be in the classroom at the time the register is opened i.e. 8.40 a.m.
At this time, for security reasons, the doors into the school are locked, this is organised by Unit Leaders for the unit doors and the caretaker, School Administrator or Headteacher for the main entrance. Children and parents who arrive after 8.40 a.m. must use and will gain entrance only at the main front school entrance.
* Registration is an important time to let children know that their presence in school and on time is important. Registers are kept twice daily at these times:
- 8.40 a.m
- 1.15 p.m
Registers are taken electronically in class and the children are listed in alphabetical order with no gender separation.
The School Administrator is responsible for any alterations of children’s names and other data in the registers. Education Staff should inform her of any changes.
Registers are legal, official documents that must be completed accurately.
* For those parents who have arranged a planned appointment during the school day, a pro-forma letter is available to simply complete and hand into the school office. This is available from the dispenser in the school foyer.
The teacher is responsible for organising the completed registers and pressing save, this will return it to the school office. This is important in the event of an emergency situation e.g. fire drill, as well as monitoring those children who are experiencing difficulty arriving on time.
* Children arriving late in school
The school administrator is responsible for locking the main door and recording the names of all children who arrive after this. She will then record ‘L’ on the child’s register, along with the number of minutes the child was late.
When the register is completed in class, children who have still not arrived in the classroom are marked with ‘N’ which denotes “no reason yet provided for absence”. The school administrator will enter the appropriate code, after contacting parents to ascertain the reason for absence.
MONITORING ATTENDANCE DATA
The School Administrator will monitor the registers on a weekly basis and report any matters of concern to the Headteacher.
Frequently the School Administrator will check all attendance records for the standard of attendance achieved. The Headteacher and school clerk meet regularly with the Education Welfare Officer to discuss children’s attendance and take action where necessary.
Information on individual children’s attendance is collated and passed on to the parents annually as part of their child’s report.
It is the School Administrator’s responsibility to ensure that the appropriate returns to the DCSF and LA are completed appropriately.
PROCEDURE WHEN ATTENDANCE IS CAUSING CONCERN
1. When the School Administrator and/or teacher report to the Headteacher regarding any child whose attendance is giving cause for concern the Headteacher/EWO will contact the child’s parents by telephone/letter or home visit, to discuss the situation. School is always sympathetic to family difficulties but discussions will stress the importance of regular attendance.
2. If the Headteacher’s/EWO’s attempts to resolve the difficulties prove unsuccessful the school and Educational Welfare Officer will take further action.
3. If after investigation, the Headteacher/EWO concludes that the child’s absence was unauthorised this will be recorded in the register. The Headteacher/EWO will decide from the information available at this point whether to take further action.
PROCEDURE WHEN A CHILD’S LATENESS IS CAUSING CONCERN
Persistent lateness is unsettling and disruptive of the educational process both of the individual child and the rest of the class. The school administrator monitors late arrivals. School will contact parents by letter when a child’s punctuality becomes a cause for concern.
Parents are asked to explain why their children are arriving late. School tries to be sympathetic to parents in difficult situations that may make it difficult for them to arrive on time. However the school expects parents to make every effort to try to ensure that children arrive promptly.
Parents who do not co-operate with the request for more information are informed that continued lateness will result in the involvement of the Education Welfare Officer.
Government guidelines dictate that the Headteacher is unable to authorise holidays taken in term time. If a child is still taken on holiday, this will be recorded as “holiday – not agreed” on their attendance record and is unauthorised. 20 sessions (10 days) or more of unauthorised absence could lead to legal action and/or the child being taken off roll.
PASS OUT/IN SYSTEM
From time to time a child may have an appointment that requires that he or she should leave the school with an adult during the day. So that the School can ensure that it knows the whereabouts of the child this procedure will be followed.
1. The parents should use the pro-forma to inform the school of the planned appointment. This data will be collated by the Administrator.
2. When the child leaves the building the administrator will record the time on the appointment slip.
3. As the child returns to school, the time is again recorded on the appointment slip.
ACCEPTANCE INTO AND RELEASE FROM SCHOOL PROCEDURE
The school will open its doors to admit the children at 8.30 a.m. the children are expected to then be ready in class bases by 8.40 a.m. for the start of the school day. It is because the school provide an Early Start Club and opens the School’s doors before the start of the school day that we do not expect the children to congregate on the playground before school. Nor are the children collected from the playground at the start of the school day. Direct Time is allocated for Teachers to supervise in the Units for ten minutes prior to the start of the school day.
At the end of the day children are released from the school to be collected by their parents or to make their way home at 3.15 p.m. Children from the Nursery are to be collected by an adult whom the child and the Education Staff know. The child will not be released to an adult unknown to the staff. The adult is expected to come into the building and into the nursery to collect the child. Children from Unit One are to be collected from the Unit by an adult whom the child and the Education Staff know. The child will not be released to an adult unknown to the staff.
All other children are expected to comply will the arrangement made by their parents. All adults collecting children are permitted to come into the building at the end of the school day so that instructions can be given for the child to remain in the building until the adult arrives.
In the event of an adult being late to collect the child all the children are instructed to return to the School’s Office for help.
INFORMING PARENTS OF THE POLICY
So that parents are aware of the high importance the School places on attendance, several strategies have been put into place to ensure that all parents are aware of the School’s policy.
* Parents are informed of their responsibilities and the school’s systems for monitoring attendance in the Parents Pack which is given to all parents new to the school.
* Letter to all parents at the beginning of the school year with the information being repeated in Newsletters throughout the year, outlining the expectation school has of parents:
o the whole school target for the year,
o the link between attendance and academic attainment,
o that parents are expected to inform school on the morning of the first absence,
o attendance is monitored daily.
o those parents who have not informed the school will receive a text message from the office.
o those children whose attendance does not improve will be referred to the EWO, who will decide on the best course of action which may include prosecution,
o the demand for places at the school is high and therefore parents should be aware that children who are absent due to unauthorised extended absence may lose their place at the school.
* From time to time specific elements by circular letter.
* Write to those parents of children whose attendance fall below our criteria
* Contact EWO for support
* Use of legal action
* Parents are informed of their child’s attendance in the annual report on the child.
INCENTIVES TO ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO ATTEND REGULARLY
To encourage children to attend regularly a reward system has been put into place.
1. The school clerk, from her monitoring of attendance, produces data about the individual class attendance. The children are informed each week during Friday assembly which classes are the best. The best class is rewarded with a certificate. If a class achieved 100% attendance, a Game is awarded to the class for use during wet playtimes. Similarly a small prize is awarded to a class if there are no late arrivals for that week.
2. Two children are randomly selected from those who achieved 100% attendance during the previous week, to receive a small prize in assembly.
3. An “Attendance Race Track” is displayed in the entrance hall, showing each class’s attendance over the previous week.
4. At the end of the year those children who have maintained 100% attendance will receive a reward.
ROLE OF PARENTS
Parents have a duty to secure education for their children; some parents choose to provide education for their children at home. But the vast majority of parents send their children to schools for their education. Schooling is not compulsory, but education is! Parents have a crucial role in maximising the attendance of their children, so that they can fully benefit from the education offered. “It is the parents' responsibility to inform school of the reason for a child's absence as soon as possible - parental contact on the first day of absence should be the normal expectation - and provide such further information as may be required." DFE School Attendance - policy and practice.
Parents of children who attend Shawclough are asked to inform school if their child is absent. They can do this either
* in person;
* or by telephone (a simple log book is kept in the school office) an answer phone is switched on at the end of the school day for "out-of-hours-messages";
* or by using one of the pro-forma letters available from the office or teachers;
* or by writing their own letter.
This is so that the Headteacher may authorise absences. All telephone messages are recorded in a logbook and letters are kept in the school office.
ROLE OF THE GOVERNORS
The Governing Body is required to see that registers are properly kept and that regular returns of attendance figures are made to the DfE and the LA. The Governors fulfil these requirements by ensuring that attendance data is included in the school profile.
Children have the right to take part in the religious holidays that are observed by their families, taking a maximum of 2 days authorised absence for ‘religious observance’ per academic year.
Data within the registers will be maintained in a way that is fair to all the children.
REVIEW OF POLICY
The policy will be evaluated as circumstances dictate with a full review planned for March 2019.