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Wyberton Primary Academy

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Wyberton Primary Academy

Absence From School

Attendance

 

Our school is committed to providing a quality education for all pupils. We believe that pupils can only benefit from the good education in our school through regular school attendance. We will, therefore, strive to achieve the maximum possible attendance for all pupils and we will make sure that any problems are identified and resolved quickly. This will be achieved by school staff, pupils, parents, carers and external agencies all working together in a team approach.

 

How parents can help give their child a good education:

 

  • Ensure that their children attend school regularly and that they arrive on time as is the parent’s legal responsibility.
  • Keep all medical appointments outside of school times. We accept that for hospital appointments this may not always be possible.
  • Take family holidays in times set aside for holidays i.e. 13 weeks each year which are outside term time.
  • Contact the school if problems arise which may keep their child away from school, so that the school can help.

 

Our attendance figures for 2016/2017 (latest available) were as follows:

 

% of pupil sessions missed through absence 3.5%

 

(‘Session' means half a day)

 

The national average for school attendance is 5% absence and this is the figure accepted by the government. Individual children who have an absence rate over 5% will be investigated by our Attendance and Welfare Officer and information is passed to the local authority on a termly basis.

 

Absence From School

 

There are occasions in a child’s school life when it may be necessary to keep them at home as they are too ill to attend school. In the case of illness please notify the school by 9.15 a.m. of the morning they are ill and the likely length of absence. If a child does not arrive at school and we have not heard why that might be, office staff will ring you to make sure that your child has not gone missing. Other acceptable reasons for absence include visits to medical clinics, although the school ask that these are booked out of school hours where possible. The class teacher or school office should be notified in advance along with expected time of return after the appointment.

 

Legally it is for the Head Teacher to decide if an absence is authorised or unauthorised, and records have to be kept of each category for inspection purposes. Examples of unauthorised absences are: days out, birthdays, long weekends, looking after brothers and sisters and accompanying a parent or sibling to appointments.

 

Holidays

 

From the 1st September 2013 changes were made to the law which relates to parents/carers taking their children on holiday during term time. The change in legislation indicates that Head Teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless they consider there to be exceptional circumstances. The amendment in the law removed all references to family holidays.

 

The Federation will no longer be granting parents/carers time off to take their children on holiday.

 

If you consider there are exceptional circumstances to support taking your child out of school a Request for Leave form should be completed and handed in at the school office. This must be supported by documentary evidence for our Attendance Officer to consider.

 

Absences during SAT’s and examination periods will not be authorised and all unauthorised absences will be reported to the Attendance and Welfare Officer.

 

If the school are concerned about your child’s attendance rate you will be notified and the appropriate actions taken to improve this. Ultimately the school reserves the right to contact Lincolnshire County Council who hold the powers to issues penalty notices (fines) and/or prosecute parents for failing to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school.

 

The Requests for Leave must be completed and returned to the school office prior to the period of absence; please give the school as much notice as possible of your request. The application will be considered carefully and we will notify you of the school’s decision within 10 working days. We strongly advise that no leave of absence is booked prior to receiving a decision from the school.

 

Introduction of Fixed Penalty Formal Warning from September 2018

 

From September 2018 we have decided to take the decision to request that the Local Authority issue a Fixed Penalty Notice where unauthorised absence exceeds 15% in a six week period.

 

If you wish to seek approval for any request of absence for your child(ren) from School, then you must apply in writing to the Head of School, at least four weeks in advance of the requested period. You should only remove your child(ren) if the absence has been authorised, and notified to you in writing by the School.  Any exceptional circumstances must be clearly set out in the written request to the Head of School who will consider each case upon its merits.

 

If you then choose to take your child out of school during term time and it is not deemed to be exceptional circumstances and/or has not been approved by the School, then this will be coded as an unauthorised absence and a Fixed Penalty Notice will be issued for the period of absence. 

 

The law states that, where there are unacceptable levels of attendance, schools may request that the Local Authority issue a Fixed Penalty Notice following the legal framework:

 

  • Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 places upon parents a duty to ensure that their child receives efficient full-time education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
  • Where a child is a registered pupil at a school and the parent fails to ensure that child’s regular attendance at school the parent is liable to be prosecuted for a criminal offence under section 444 of the Education Act.
  • In some cases, where this duty is not being fulfilled Section 444B of the same Act empowers the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty of £60 per parent, per child, which will increase if the fine isn’t paid within the first 21 days to £120
  • Failure to pay a Fixed Penalty may result in further legal action being taken against you.

 

The money raised from these fines is retained by the Local Authority and the school does not receive any of this. We will continue to work with families to support as much as we can with attendance and further information can be found in our school attendance policy on our website. Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact the school office to make an appointment with either Mr Booth, Mrs Paul or the Senior Learning Mentor.

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