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Attendance

PLEASE CONTACT US:

Mr. Stephen Barker, Headteacher, St. Pancras Catholic Primary School, Stratford Road, Ipswich. IP1 6EF.

Telephone: 01473 742074. Email: ad.st.pancras.p@talk21.com.

The School Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Mrs. Karen Cork and Mrs. Collette Ransom will be pleased to address any enquiries.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Any parent who would like to have information on this website in hard copy is entitled to receive it free of charge. Please make any request to the School Office.

13/11/2017- 17/112017

Analysis by class group

 

 

Group

Presents

AEA

Authorised Absences

Unauthorised Absences

Possible

% Attend

Reception Year

289

0

11

0

300

96.3%

Class 1

282

0

8

0

290

97.2%
Class 2 297 0 3 0 300

90.0%

Class 3

295

0

5 0 300

98.3%

Class 4

288 0 12

0

300

96.0%

Class 5

298 0

2

0

300

99.3%

Class 6

294 4 12 0

310

96.1%

Totals

2043 4 530   2100 97.5%

 

 

 

 

Attendance

 

What have attendance and absence been like in recent years?

 

(Aut – Spr)

School

Attend-ance

School absence

Local authority absence

National absence

Absence

Unauth. absence

PA at 10%

Absence

Unauth. absence

PA at 10%

Absence

Unauth. absence

PA at 10%

2013

95.3%

4.7%

0.2

No information

5.2%

0.8

No information

4.8%

0.7

No information

2014

96.7%

3.3%

0.1

No information

4.2%

0.7

No information

3.9%

0.8

No information

2015

96.4%

3.6%

0.0

No information

4.4%

0.7

No information

4.0%

0.9

No information

2016

95.6%

4.4%

0.0

8.5%

4.0%

0.7

8.0%

4.0%

0.9

8.2%

 

What is the legal position?

 

Attendance is not an option. Parents / carers have a legal duty to ensure that their children attend school – on time – when school is in session, unless they are too unwell / unfit to attend or there are very exceptional circumstances.

 

What is the incentive for good attendance?

 

Beyond this legal requirement, there is a strong incentive to achieve good attendance. Statistically, on an individual level, pupils with good attendance do better academically and behave better. Flipped over, pupils with low attendance do less well at school and are more likely to get into trouble. And on a school level, it follows that schools with good attendance overall perform better academically. Indeed, Ofsted use attendance as a weathervane indicator of a school’s performance and schools with low attendance cannot achieve Good or Outstanding status.

 

Can a school make a difference to attendance?

 

This might seem a little harsh when it is parents and carers whose responsibility it is to make sure that children attend school. There is something in this. However, in practice, when schools work actively with parents / carers – and children – attendance improves. Schools do make a difference.

                                  

What does this policy aim to do?

 

In acknowledging the difference that schools can make, this policy seeks to:

 

  • Set out what good attendance looks like
  • Set out rule of thumb criteria for reasonable and unreasonable pupil absence
  • Set out arrangements for reporting pupil absence
  • Set out the school’s response to pupil absences
  • Set out the school’s response for unpunctual attendance
  • Set out the school’s response to requests for term time leave of absence
  • Set out the school’s response to requests for work to do during an absence
  • Set out the school’s rewards for good attendance

 

What does good attendance looks like?

 

At both individual pupil level – and at school level – 96% attendance (or above) qualifies as good. 94-95% attendance requires improvement. Below 94% attendance is unsatisfactory and requires urgent improvement.

 

Persistent absence is defined as 85% attendance or lower. Such absence will always trigger careful monitoring and may result in action being taken to secure necessary improvement.

 

It should be noted that attendance is monitored twice per school day, at the beginning of the morning session and at the beginning of the afternoon session.

 

What are reasonable and unreasonable pupil absences?

 

Children should not attend school if they are too unwell or unfit to be at school without significant physical discomfort or detriment to their health and wellbeing – or if there is a significant risk of them passing on a serious infection.

 

The question for parents / carers – and school staff – will often be where to draw the line.

 

If uncertain, parents can refer to health or medical professionals. They can also refer to the school for guidance. The school will have a perspective across the pupil roll and also has access to official advice on a range of conditions, including infectious diseases, from the Department of Health.

 

As a rule of thumb:

 

  • The common cold should not keep a child from the school
  • As long as it is treated straight away, headlice should not keep a child from school
  • Minor injuries, such as cuts, bruises and sprains, should not keep a child from school
  • Routine medical and dental appointments should not keep a child from school since these can be made during school holidays
  • A non-immediate family bereavement should not keep a child from school

 

How should parents report a pupil absence?

 

Parents / carers should report a pupil absence at the earliest opportunity, preferably before registers close at 0900. The School Office can receive calls from 0800.

 

A reason for the absence should be given. This is so that the school – and the Education Welfare Service – can monitor absences in accordance with their statutory duties and responsibilities.

 

How does the school respond to absence?

 

If a reasonable reason is given for a pupil absence, the register will be marked with the symbol for Authorised Absence. If the reason given is deemed unreasonable, then the absence will be designated Unauthorised.

 

The headteacher will make a final decision in any cases in which there is a dispute or uncertainty. In order to inform that decision, the headteacher may take advice from the Education Welfare Service or from medical personnel and from the attendance records of the pupils in question.

 

Where the school is not notified by 0900 of a pupil absence, the School Office will make a first day call. First day calls are used because:

 

  • They discourage unreasonable absence because parents / carers know that the school will contact them as a matter of priority
  • They provide an important point of reference is the absence continues beyond one day
  • They constitute a safeguard in cases where children have not arrived at school and must be accounted for urgently

 

In cases in which the school’s first day call is not answered, the headteacher will designate the absence as conditionally unauthorised pending further information. If an absence continues for three days without contact from the parents / carers, the headteacher will refer the absence to the Education Welfare Service.

 

For any absence of two successive days or more – or for any instance of two absences in any two-week period – the headteacher or the assistant headteacher will request an appointment with the parents / carers in order to establish the validity of the absences and to explore ways of avoiding such absences in the future. Parents / carers who refuse to comply with such a request will be sent a letter.

 

A pupil absence that coincides with the child’s birthday may trigger investigation in order to confirm its validity.

 

In a case in which attendance falls below 95% the pupil’s name will be entered onto the ECM register as a barrier to learning. This will trigger action to achieve the necessary improvement.

 

In cases of persistent absence, the school will work alongside the Education Welfare Officer to improve attendance. The EWO will write to parents / carers, explaining what action may be taken if there is insufficient improvement. The EWO will meet with parents / carers, together with the assistant headteacher or the headteacher to explore ways of improving pupils’ attendance. The school will go the extra mile to help, including:

 

  • Supporting parents with appropriate incentives for pupils
  • Arranging – and paying for – transport to and from school in particular circumstances
  • Authorising free-of-charge before school and / or after school care, temporarily and in particular circumstances

 

How does the school respond to unpunctual attendance?

 

Punctuality is monitored daily.

 

There is an expectation that pupils will always arrive at school before registers close at 0900.

 

In cases in which pupils are late, the school will request reasons from their parents / carers. This is so that the school can identify opportunities to help parents / carers to achieve consistent punctuality. Where parents simply send their children to school late – from home or from the car – without accompanying them to the school door, the School Office will phone to find out why.

 

In cases in which pupils are occasionally late, the headteacher or the assistant headteacher will write to parents, collectively and / or individually, and, if necessary, request a meeting with the parents / carers. The aim will be to eliminate these occasional late arrivals, with the school doing all that it can to assist the parents / carers.

 

Where pupils are often, frequently or always late arriving, the school will work alongside the Education Welfare Officer to improve punctuality. The school and / or the EWO will write to parents / carers, explaining what action may be taken if there is insufficient improvement. The EWO will meet with parents / carers, together with the assistant headteacher or the headteacher to explore ways of improving pupils’ punctuality. The school will go the extra mile to help, including:

 

  • Supporting parents with appropriate incentives for pupils
  • Authorising free-of-charge before school care, temporarily and in particular circumstances

 

How does the school respond to requests for term time leave of absence?

 

Maintained schools like St. Pancras are open to pupils for 190 of the 365 days of the year.

 

The Statutory Instrument 2013 No.756 has made changes to the use of the word holiday within the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 effective from 1st September 2013. Holiday is omitted from Regulation 7 and replaced by:

 

Leave of absence shall not be granted unless –

1. An application has been made in advance to the proprietor by a parent with whom the pupil normally resides

and

2. The proprietor considers that leave of absence should be granted due to exceptional circumstances relating to that application

 

Guidance suggests that Leave of Absence may be granted in the following exceptional circumstances but are still at the discretion of the headteacher:

 

  • Parents in the armed forces returning from overseas placement
  • Parents in the public services, such as Police, Fire and Health, whose holiday is rostered and cannot be changed
  • Families with cultural reasons for needing to return to their countries of origin
  • Weddings or funerals of immediate family members
  • Parents whose self-employment brings about temporary difficulties
  • Families whose wellbeing and / or situations would benefit from a leave of absence in term time

 

Guidance makes it clear that Leave of Absence may not be granted in the following circumstances:

 

  • The cost of a holiday is less in term time
  • The proposed holiday is a prolonged one and cannot be contained within a school break
  • The proposed holiday coincides with national assessments / tests

 

Although many schools refuse to authorise any term time leave of absence, St. Pancras School tries to strike a reasonable and sensible balance. The headteacher will authorise term time leave of absence, if:

 

  • The pupil in question is still likely to achieve an attendance rate for the year of 95% or better
  • The occasion in question is of particular significance for the pupil and his / her family
  • The leave of absence request form has been completed accurately and honestly
  • The leave of absence does not coincide with national assessments / tests

 

If all these criteria are clearly met, then the headteacher will authorise the leave of absence.

 

The question for parents / carers – and school staff – will often be where to draw the line.

 

For parents / carers who are deciding whether to request a term time leave of absence the following should be borne in mind:

 

  • The school will not authorise any term time leave of absence if it will – or is likely to – result in an annual attendance rate of less than 95%.
  • The headteacher is empowered to authorise up to ten days’ leave of absence. Any additional absence must be unauthorised.

Implication: Parents / carers should ensure that their children have the best possible attendance rate prior to any request

  • The school will not authorise any term time leave of absence where the headteacher believes or suspects – on the balance of probability – that the circumstances / reasons given by the parents / carers are false

Implication: Parents / carers should ensure that the circumstances / reasons they set out on their request forms are wholly accurate and honest. The school will normally give the benefit of any doubt

 

For school staff who are deciding whether to authorise leave of absence, the following will be taken into account:

 

  • The pupil’s current attendance rate and, given the timing of the proposed leave of absence, the likelihood of being able to achieve 95% for the year
  • The likely impact of the absence on the pupil’s academic and pastoral life at school
  • The likely impact on other families at the school, particularly those who readily miss out on family events and pay more for their holidays in order to avoid term time leave
  • The extent to which the parents / carers have been accurate and honest on their request form

For parents, the procedure for requesting term time leave of absence is:

 

  • To get a request form for term time leave of absence from the School Office
  • To complete it
  • To return it to the School Office
  • To receive confirmation of the school’s authorisation or confirmation of its decision not to authorise the leave of absence

 

 

NOTE: The school acknowledges that judging the extent to which parents / carers have been accurate and honest is an arbitrary means of deciding whether or not a request has validity. However, experience is enlightening. For example:

 

  • It is unlikely that all requests made during 2015-16 on the grounds that family members were ill, dying or dead in the USA (usually Florida), the Caribbean, Spain, Greece or Turkey were wholly truthful
  • It is unlikely that all requests made during 2015-16 on the grounds that grandparents had paid for the holiday (and didn’t realise that the children were at school) were wholly truthful
  • It is very unlikely that the same grandmother (in the USA) would die twice – in successive years!

 

 

Where parents / carers take term time leave of absence, for holiday or other purposes, without informing the school, the headteacher will refer the matter to the Education Welfare Service.

 

Where parents / carers go ahead with term time leave of absence that has not been authorised, the absences will be designated as unauthorised.

 

 

The law says that if children of compulsory school age are absent from school without good reason they are committing an offence and their parents or carers may be prosecuted in the Magistrate's Court.

 

Parents / carers sometimes ask how penalty notices work . . .

 

St. Pancras Catholic Primary School, in accordance with national and local protocols, will consider issuing a Penalty Notice under any one of the following circumstances:

  • Where a pupil has missed any school sessions due to unauthorised absence
  • Where a pupil is persistently late for school
  • Where a pupil has been taken on unauthorised leave of absence during term time
  • Where a pupil is stopped with parents / carers during a truancy sweep and the absence has not been authorised by the school

 

Where a decision has been made by the headteacher to issue a penalty notice, Suffolk County Council will contact the child’s parents on behalf of the school and issue a warning. On receipt of the warning parents will have 15 days to secure an improvement in their child’s attendance. During that period there can be no further unauthorised absences. If the child’s attendance improves and there are no further unauthorised absences, a Penalty Notice will not be issued. If, however, attendance does not improve – or there is another unauthorised absence – then a penalty notice will be issued.

 

The local authority may decide to fine unauthorised absences from school by issuing a legal penalty notice.

 

Details of the payment arrangements will be included on any penalty notice. The £60 penalty must be paid in full. If it is not paid within 21 days the fine doubles to £120. If the penalty is not paid in full within 42 days of issue, the Local Authority is required to start legal proceedings in the Magistrates Court for the original offence of failing to ensure proper school attendance. This may lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

 

The Suffolk County Council Penalty Notice Protocol requires the use of a particular form that should be sent to penalty.notice@suffolk.gov.uk.

 

 

 

How does the school respond to requests for work to do during an absence?

 

Parents often ask for this, probably to alleviate feelings of guilt rather than because they want to minimize any adverse effects on their children’s education.

 

However, it is not the school’s policy to provide work unless a pupil absence is due to long term injury or illness. This is because:

 

  • It takes an undue time to prepare a personalised package of work – and work in class is planned and taught on a formative basis, designed in accordance with how well pupils are doing each day, making it impossible to provide a package that makes up for what might be missed
  • Work is rarely done anyway – and virtually never completed
  • The school prefers a retrospective approach, with teachers expected to make ‘catch up’ provision that matches what has been missed

 

How does the school reward pupils for good attendance?

 

Over the last 25 years three pupils have achieved 100% attendance for the entirety of their primary years at St. Pancras. These pupils’ achievement is acknowledged on a special wooden plaque.

 

Any pupil who achieves 100% attendance for a whole term is presented with a certificate celebrating this achievement at the final assembly of the term.

 

Any pupil who achieves 100% attendance for a whole school year is presented with a certificate celebrating this achievement at the final assembly of the school year.

 

Any class that achieves 97% + attendance, overall, for a term is rewarded with a Special Occasion Day to be taken the following half term.

 

 

 


 

 

 

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