Attendance and Punctuality
Please ensure that your child is punctual as late arrivals often disrupt learning.
Please make sure your child is collected from school on time.
Young children can become very distressed and feel insecure if they are left at school when all the other children have gone home.
If your child is absent from school please let us know on the first day of absence. When your child returns to school please send a note to the school office explaining the reason for the absence.
Why is good attendance important?
Good attendance at school is vital for pupils to achieve their full education potential.
Pupils with good attendance records benefit in the following ways:
- Continuity of learning which makes progress and retention easier
- Enhanced performance in examinations
- Continuity of relationships and friendships
- Good habits are formed for later life
What constitutes good attendance?
Attendance percentages are not like examination results.
An attendance percentage needs to be in the high nineties before it can be considered good.
Consider the following examples:
- An attendance record of 90% might seem good but is equal to one day missed per fortnight! If this continues from Year 2 to 6 a total of six month’s education will be lost.
- An attendance record of 80% might seem acceptable but is equal to one day missed per week!! If this continues from Years 2 to 6 a total of one year’s education will be lost.
Your child is a registered pupil at Veritas Primary Academy, therefore must attend regularly and punctually.
The Government expects students of Primary school level to have above 95% attendance. The school has a legal duty to report poor attendance to the Local Education Authority. If your child is not attending school regularly, the school will make a referral to the Education Welfare Officer who may visit or write to you.
The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 amended section 444 of the Education Act 1996 to allow parents to be issued with a penalty where they failed to ensure their child of compulsory school age (5-16) and school registered regular attendance.
A penalty notice is initially for £60. If this £60 is not paid within 21 days from the date of issue it rises to £120. If, after 28 days of the date of issue the £120 is not paid we will prosecute the parents under section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996. This will lead to a hearing in the Magistrates Court and may result in a fine of up to £1,000
As a parent, you are committing an offence if you fail to make sure that your child attends school regularly, even if they are missing school without your knowledge. Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996 you as the parent are responsible for ensuring that your child receives full time education.
Being at school
Being at school is a very important part of any young person’s life.
It enables them to learn, to make friends, to gain important knowledge and to develop a variety of skills which will prepare them for adult life. School and parents are partners in making this a success. As parents or carers it is your responsibility to make sure that your child makes the most of this opportunity by attending regularly.
Taking the register
Schools have a legal duty to record the attendance of every pupil or record them absent or late.
The register is called at the beginning of both the morning and afternoon sessions. If a pupil has to leave school for any reason during the school day, school should be informed of this prior to the day. An appointment letter or slip should be shown to the office on collecting your child.
When the whole class arrives on time and registration can take place smoothly then the day starts off so much better. Although it is better for pupils to be late than not to be in school at all, when they do arrive late they miss out on an important part of the school day. Any pupil arriving late must follow the school’s late procedures signing in at the School Office. Explanation for this lateness should be provided by their parent or carer.
- 5 minutes late each day equals 3 days lost each year
- 10 minutes late each day equals 6.5 days lost each year
- 15 minutes late each day equals 10 days lost each year
- 20 minutes late each day equals 13 days lost each year
- 30 minutes late each day equals 19 days lost each
Your child will only be excused from school if a valid medical reason is given or proof of an appointment with doctor or dentist is provided and presented to the school office prior to their appointment.
Also all late children along with their parent / carer are to report to the school reception desk.
Absence from School
By law, schools must record absences and the reason given.
You are therefore requested to contact school on every day of your child’s absence: by telephoning the school office on 01785 333400 before 9 a.m. On their return to school you must then send a note explaining the absence. The school office should be informed in writing of absences known in advance such as dental appointments.
Family holidays should never be taken during school terms.
Where there are extenuating circumstances, an application should be made to the Headteacher a term in advance. The Headteacher can only authorise absence in exceptional circumstances. Further information is available from the school office.
Leave of absence in exceptional circumstance:
The Headteacher may only grant leave of absence for exceptional circumstances.
Examples of any exceptional circumstances where leave may be granted during term time are as follows:
- If a parent is service personnel and is returning from a tour of duty abroad where it is evidenced the individual will not be in receipt of any leave in the near future that coincides with school holidays.
- Where an absence from school is recommended by a health professional as part of a parent or child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue.
- The death or terminal illness of a close relative, only if Headteacher is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional;
- Out of school programmes such as music, arts or sport operating at a high standard of achievement. Documentary evidence of this event will be required.
- Religious observance – The Education Act 1996 S444(3) (c), states ‘’on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his/her parent belongs’’;
- To attend a wedding or funeral of a close relative if the Headteacher is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional; Leave should only be authorised for this purpose when a Headteacher is satisfied that there is a persuasive reason for holding the wedding during term time and there WILL be an onus on parents to show clear evidence that this absence is absolutely an exceptional circumstance. In difficult family situations the Headteacher may use his/her discretion in granting leave and each case should be addressed on its individual merits, taking into account the overall welfare of the child.
If a request meets the above exceptional circumstances but falls within the following times, the Headteacher must be convinced that absence from school is the only option:
1) The first half term of any academic year (applies to all pupils).
2) Year six transition day (for pupils in year six).
3) Year six SATs week (for pupils in year six).
4) Year two SATS (for pupils in year two).
When considering exceptional term time leave requests, the following factors may help to reach a decision:
- Time of the academic year when the leave has been requested
- Duration of the absence – number of school days being missed
- The child’s current attendance and punctuality rate
- Exceptional Term time leave requested/taken in previous academic years for a similar purpose
- Whether parent/carers have considered limiting the amount of time the child would be absent from school e.g. wrapping around school holiday
- Have alternative care arrangements been considered by the parent/carer to limit the time away from school
- Impact on any interventions, assessments or referrals being undertaken with the child or family e.g. family support, social care assessments, CAMHS, SEN
- The impact that the absence will have on the child.
- Whether it falls within any key stage national tests or exams;
Examples of circumstances NOT considered as exceptional
- Holidays abroad for the purpose of visiting a sick relative, excepting where that person is seriously ill. Medical evidence may be requested.
- Holidays taken in term time due to lower cost/parental work commitments.
What is an unauthorised absence?
Only the school can authorise an absence.
An explanation given by a parent is not, necessarily, sufficient for the school to authorise an absence.
According to guidelines to schools from the Department of Education, an absence may only be authorised if the absence is due to:
- Pupil illness
- The pupil being unable to attend due to unavoidable causes
- Religious observance where applicable
Absences which the school is not able to authorise include:
- Looking after a relative, pet etc.
- A shopping trip, even if this is for buying a school uniform
- Lateness after the register has closed, i.e. after 9:05 am
- Being unable to participate in a school activity, e.g. school trip
- Remaining at home to wait for deliveries, repair men etc.
- Meeting relatives from/taking relatives to the airport
- A birthday or birthday party
What to do if your child needs to be absent from school
- You must telephone school before 9am to inform us of the reason for your child’s absence. There is a voicemail service available using option 1 after dialling the main school number 01785 333400.
- It is then your duty and responsibility to call the school on each subsequent day of absence, unless your child has been advised by their doctor or their reason for absence falls under a specified exclusion period (which school will discuss with you).
- Parents are expected to make arrangements for medical and dental appointments outside of school hours, unless this is an emergency or a hospital appointment that would be difficult to change.
- Proof of all medical appointments are required. Please ensure an appointment card, text confirmation/reminder or hospital letter is shown to a member of the office team.
Holiday or other requested leave of absence
- If you need to take your child out of school for any other reason a Request for Leave of Absence is required to be completed in advance. Holidays will not be authorised unless this is for a military child who’s parent is due to be posted on active service. Please note that a copy of the posting order, or confirmation from the MOD, will be required to authorise your request.
- The Head Teacher will give consideration to the circumstances and your child’s current attendance record into consideration before making a decision on whether the reason for absence can be considered as ‘Exceptional Circumstances’.
- If you need to request an absence please complete our Absence Request Form and hand it to the school office for the Head Teacher’s consideration – Absence Request 2018-19
Please see our Attendance Policy for more information.