Why Good Attendance is Important
For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Indeed, any pupil’s absence disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class. Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution. It is very important therefore that you make sure that your child attends regularly.
Promoting Regular Attendance
Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility - parents, pupils and all members of school staff.
We will encourage good attendance by:
Understanding Types of Absence
Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required. Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable causes.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave" has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Education Welfare Service using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. Unauthorised absences include:
Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child straight away. They must be collected from the school office for visits to the doctor, dentist etc.
The Education Welfare Service
Parents are expected to work with the staff in resolving any attendance problems together. This is nearly always successful. However, if difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the Education Welfare Service. This service will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve your child’s attendance have failed and unauthorised absences persist, this service can use sanctions such as Fixed Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court. Alternatively, parents may wish to contact the Education Welfare Service themselves to ask for help or information. They are independent of the school and will give impartial advice.
Poor punctuality is not acceptable in the workplace so we want our pupils to get into good habits whilst at school. If your child misses the start of the day, they can miss learning and do not spend time with their class teacher getting vital information and news for the day. Late arriving pupils also disrupt lessons, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence. Consequently, we expect all pupils to arrive at school for the start of the day (8:55 am).
Attendance and Punctuality in the Early Years
Establishing good habits from the start will help your child to settle more quickly and build good habits for later life. Coming to school on time, every day helps to develop confidence. Research has shown that, even at the earliest age, children with poor attendance and punctuality are at a disadvantage later in life. They generally find it harder to make and maintain friendships, they achieve less and they often suffer from poor self-esteem. Even if your child only has a part time pre-school place, regular attendance is vitally important.