At Oldbrook First School, we recognise the importance of regular school attendance and believe that children can only learn effectively if they attend school regularly. It is also vitally important that children arrive and leave school on time.
Irregular attendance seriously disrupts continuity of learning, undermines the educational process and leads to underachievement and low attainment.
Communication with Pupils
At Oldbrook we believe that children need to develop an awareness of the importance of good attendance and punctuality. Attendance is celebrated regularly in the following ways to support this:
- Weekly Attendance Teddy awarded to the class with the highest attendance.
- Attendance display in the school hall to celebrate achievements.
- Termly certificates and badges awarded to children who achieve an excellent level of attendance. (98+% attendance)
- School newsletter identifies the class and individual children’s achievements each term.
Responsibilities of Parents
There are legal obligations on parents to secure education for their children of compulsory school age, whether at school or otherwise, and to send them to school regularly once they are on the school roll.
If the school is to achieve its attendance targets, parents must see themselves as partners with the school in their children's education, and support the school in the following ways:
- ensure the fullest possible attendance of their child by keeping requests for their children to be absent from school to a minimum;
- when an absence is unavoidable, provide a note of explanation, preferably on the first day of absence or when the child returns to school or contact the school by telephone
- when absence continues for more than a day, contact the school by ‘phone or letter;
- ensure that their child arrives at school on time.
Notification of Absence
All parents are asked to contact school if their child is absent, giving a reason for the absence. This can be done by:
- Telephone: the School Business Manager / Administrator will then pass the message to the class teacher and enter the reason for absence directly onto the computer;
- Letter: the class teacher will place the letter in the register and the School Business Manager / Administrator will enter the reason for absence onto the computer;
- In person: an explanation may be given personally to either the class teacher or the School Business Manager / Administrator when the child returns to school.
If no notification is received about a child’s absence, the computer will generate a letter to be sent to parents.
School Responses to Absence
Authorised and Unauthorised Absence
Where a child is absent at the time of registration, the law requires schools to indicate on their attendance register whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised.
Authorised absence means that the school has either given approval in advance for the child to be away or that an explanation offered afterwards has been accepted. The law requires that absences not agreed in advance are recorded as unauthorised, unless (and until) a satisfactory explanation is given.
The school will:
- investigate all unexplained absences;
- contact parents on the first day of absence for an explanation if no message is received.
- contact parents if it has any concerns over attendance;
- involve the Senior Attendance Officer if parents fail to support the school in ensuring the fullest possible attendance of their children (Attendance below 85%).
By law, only the school can approve absence, not parents. The school need not accept a parental explanation for a child's absence if it doubts the explanation. If the school is satisfied that the circumstances are both genuine and exceptional, the absence may be authorised. Where parentally condoned and/or unjustified absence appears to be a problem, the school will involve the S.A.O. at the earliest opportunity.
Excessive amounts of authorised absence can disrupt continuity of learning. The school will, therefore, watch for emerging patterns of authorised absence by individual children.
Examples of Unauthorised Absence
The school cannot accept any of the following:
- Shopping during school hours;
- Special occasions, e.g. birthdays;
- No uniform, shoes, etc.;
- Sham illnesses;
- At home due to family illness.
- Children arriving at school after the register has closed (Arriving after 9:30)
- Family Holidays
- Routine dental appointments