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Lakenham Primary and Nursery School

Attendance Policy

City Road   Norwich NR1 2HL

Headteacher: Mrs C Williams

 Deputy Headteacher: Mr M Wigg

 Tele: 01603  877780    Email: office@lakenham.norfolk.sch.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attendance Policy

 

 

 

Version

January 2019

 

 

Approved by Governors On:

9 January 2019

 

 

Review Cycle:

Annual

 

 

Date of next Review:

January 2020

 

 

 

 

Signed:

Glen Scott

 

 

 

Chair of Governors

 

 

Date:

9 January 2019

 

 

Signed:

Cassandra Williams

 

 

 

Headteacher

 

 

Date:

9 January 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Table of Contents

 

Ethos.............................................................................................................................................................................. 3

 

Attendance - The Legal Context:................................................................................................................ 3

 

Requests for Leave of Absence.................................................................................................................... 3

 

Long-term Absence............................................................................................................................................. 4

 

Attendance Targets............................................................................................................................................. 4

 

Monitoring and Review..................................................................................................................................... 4

 

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)......................................................................................................................... 4

 

The Fast Track Process....................................................................................................................................... 5

 

For more information regarding this policy, please contact:.................................................. 5

 

Useful links:.................................................................................................................................................................. 5

 

 

 

 

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Ethos

 

At Lakenham Primary School we expect all children on our roll to attend every day when the school is in session, as long as they are fit and healthy enough to do so. We work with families to do all that is reasonably practicable to support and improve pupil attendance where necessary. Further, we also believe that the most important factor in promoting good attendance is development of positive attitudes towards school. To this end, we do all we can to strive to make our school an inclusive, safe, exciting and rewarding place where children want to attend and where parents feel supported.

 

This ethos accords with the local authority’s vision -

 

‘We believe that all children and young people have the right to be healthy, happy, and safe; to be loved, valued and respected; and have high aspirations for their future’.

 

Attendance - The Legal Context:

 

Under Section 444 of the Education Act, an offence occurs if a parent/carer fails to secure their child’s regular attendance at the school where they are a registered pupil, and the absence is not authorised by the school.

 

Only headteachers can authorise absence; the only legal reasons for absence to be authorised are:

  1. That the absences are with leave (i.e. that they have been agreed by the Headteacher)
  2. That the absences are because of sickness or unavoidable cause

 

  1. Parents may be asked to provide evidence to support absences due to ill health, this can be through a copy of an appointment card or prescription or information from a medical practitioner
  2. That the absences fall on days of religious observance for the religion to which parents belong
  3. That the child is entitled to free transport to school and the LA have failed to provide this.

 

If absences do not fall into any of these four categories or the school have not been informed of reasons for absence, absences will be marked as unauthorised.

 

A school may also agree to authorise an absence in exceptional circumstances. This will be the decision of the Head Teacher. An unauthorised absence is any absence for which the school has not given permission or where the parent/carer has been unable to provide a reason for the absence which is acceptable to the school. This includes un-agreed holidays during term time.

 

Requests for Leave of Absence

 

We believe that children need to be in school for all sessions, so that they can make the most progress possible, supporting their capacity to achieve or expand their academic, social and emotional potential. However, we do understand that there are circumstances under which a parent may legitimately request a leave of absence for a child to attend. We expect parents and carers to contact school at least two weeks in advance and complete a holiday/leave of absence form in such circumstances. Unless the school gives express authorisation, such absences are deemed unauthorised. Request forms are available from the school office and are reviewed by the school SLT.

 

Please note that schools have discretionary powers to grant a student leave for the purpose of visiting the pupil’s country of family origin. Parents/carers should arrange visits during school holiday periods. Family holidays in term time will not be granted as they are damaging to the student’s continuity of learning.

 

Parents/carers do not have an automatic right to withdraw students from school for a holiday and, in law, must apply for permission in advance (a maximum of 10 school days in any school year can be authorised).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Long-term Absence

 

When children have an illness that means they will be away from school for over five days, the school will do all it can to send material home, so that they can keep up with their school work. If the absence is likely to continue for an extended period, or be a repetitive absence, the school will contact the support services, so that arrangements can be made for the child to be given some tuition outside school.

 

Attendance Targets

 

The school sets attendance targets each year. These are agreed by the senior staff and governors at the annual target-setting meeting. The targets are challenging yet realistic, and based on attendance figures achieved in previous years. The school considers carefully the attendance figures for other similar schools when setting its own targets.

 

Monitoring and Review

 

  • If a child is absent when a child is absent unexpectedly, the class teacher will record the absence in the register. The school office will then endeavour to contact a parent or carer before 10 am; please note, children are expected to arrive at school by 8.50am

 

  • Home visits by two members of staff, including a member of the School Leadership Team (SLT), will also perform a home visit in certain circumstances, and/ or contact Norfolk Children’s Services if this is deemed necessary

 

  • When the child returns to school, a note should be brought from a parent or carer to explain the absence. Telephone logs, absence/ medical notes are recorded centrally by the school office. It is the responsibility of the governors to monitor overall attendance, and they will request an annual report from the Headteacher. The governing body also has overall responsibility for this policy, and for seeing that it is carried out. The governors will therefore examine closely the information provided, and seek to ensure that our attendance figures are as high as they should be.

 

The school office are the first point of contact for parents regarding pupil absence. Weekly monitoring and support is then conducted by Miss Pelling and Mr Georgiou.

 

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)

 

Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced powers for issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for unauthorised absence from school. The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations came into force on 27th February 2004. This was updated with amendments in 2007, 2012 and 2013.

 

In Norfolk, Penalty Notices are issued in accordance with the Norfolk Local Protocol. The criteria that Lakenham Primary School for reporting absence to the Local Authority for issuing of a Fixed Penalty are as follows:

 

  • 10 consecutive sessions of unauthorised absence

 

  • 15% unauthorised absence within a six-week period.

 

Failure to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice reverts to a Section 444 1 Education Act 1996 offence and you will face prosecution in the Magistrates Court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fast Track Process

 

What does the law say?

 

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 places a duty on all parents to ensure that their children receive an efficient, full-time education.

 

Parents who are seen to fail in their duty can be brought before the Magistrates Court.

 

In Education law, a parent is defined as:

 

  • The natural parents of a child, whether they are married or not.
  • Anyone who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child.
  • Any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child.

 

This can include parents therefore with whom the child does not normally live with or wider family members who share day to day care of the child.

What is the purpose of the Fast Track to Attendance Panel Meeting?

 

The purpose of the Fast Track to Attendance Panel meeting is for you and your child to meet with school and relevant agency members to identify the reasons for absence and to work together to improve attendance.

 

What will happen at the Fast Track to Attendance Panel Meeting? The reasons for absence will be identified and different strategies to improve attendance will be considered. A supportive action plan will be agreed and an attendance target will be set.

 

Whilst the intention of the Fast Track to Attendance Panel meeting is that attendance will improve, consideration will be made to legal action if attendance targets are not met. This could include prosecution in the magistrates’ court.

 

What happens next?

 

A Review Fast Track to Attendance Panel meeting will be arranged and at this meeting the action plan and attendance will be reviewed. A new action plan will be agreed. If the attendance target is met, the Review Panel can recommend that no further action is required. However, the school will continue to monitor the attendance of your child and will notify the Local Education Authority if attendance deteriorates. This could still result in legal action being taken. If the attendance target is not met, the Review Panel will recommend to the Local Education Authority that legal action is taken.

 

For more information regarding this policy, please contact:

  1. Mr C Georgiou – Assistant Head Teacher - Inclusion
  2. Miss K Pelling – Parent Support Advisor

 

  1. Sarah Shirras– School Governor for attendance

 

Useful links:

 

The Fast Track process - http://www.schools.norfolk.gov.uk/view/NCC184623 Fixed Penalty Notices - http://www.schools.norfolk.gov.uk/view/NCC184632

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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