Every School Day Counts
At Hawbush Primary School, we prioritise and promote good attendance. Regular attendance is an important part of providing your child with the best possible start in life, as we know that there is a direct relationship between attendance and the academic attainment of individuals. The greater the attendance, the greater the achievement.
We strongly believe that going to school consistently will enable children to access further learning opportunities and gain better job prospects. As well as this going to school helps to develop:
- Social skills
- Team values
- Life skills
- Cultural awareness
If a pupil does not attend school regularly, it will have a detrimental impact on their progress and attainment. Our whole school attendance target is 96%, therefore pupils with attendance above this level are expected to make the best progress.
Not only does every school day count, but every minute of education counts too. Pupils who arrive late are developing poor habits and routines. Being late not only disrupts the teacher’s lesson and their peer’s learning, they miss the start of the lesson which may hinder their progress.
The school site opens at 8:35am. Any arrivals after the official closing of the morning register at 8.45am will be recorded as a late mark. Pupils arriving without good reason after 9:00am will be marked as a ‘U’ which counts as a legal absence.
For any pupils where punctuality continues to be a problem, parents/carers are invited in to meet with Mr Stanier or Mrs Hammond.
Attendance and COVID-19
We recognise the impact that the pandemic has had and is continuing to have on our attendance and on pupil’s education and, although attendance levels have recently been largely driven by COVID-19, both the government in their latest School Bill (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1074513/School_attendance_-_Schools_Bill.pdf) and ourselves are determined to address the wider and longer-term underlying causes of children not being in school because it is the best place for their development and wellbeing.
It is therefore more important than ever that we work together to secure the regular attendance of pupils and minimise unnecessary absence as much as possible.
It is the responsibility and legal duty of parents and/or carers to ensure that their child attends school and receives a full-time education. We seek to work alongside parents and develop a partnership with our families to remove any barriers and encourage good attendance and punctuality. When families require additional support, external agencies may be used to support the parents and children.
Procedure to inform the school if your child is absent
We understand that there may be times when there is a genuine reason why your child cannot attend school. However, it is very important to inform the school on the first day of your child’s absence with the reason and expected length of absence, you must telephone the school number which is (01384) 816930 or inform us in person at the school office. This must be done by 9:30am. Please maintain contact with school daily. If a family has an allocated Social Worker, he/she will be notified of the absence (as per LA guidance).
If we do not hear from you, we will:
- Telephone you to establish the reason for your child’s absence.
- Send a text if contact cannot be made.
- Call secondary contacts.
Following this, if no response is received from a parent/carer, we may:
- Conduct a safe and well check by making a home visit.
- For children with an allocated Social Worker, we may request that they visit the home.
For continuing absence, we will:
- Telephone you on a daily basis to check your child’s well-being
- Children considered vulnerable or if we have safe guarding concerns for, we may conduct a safe and well check on day 2 of the absence.
- For all other absences, a home visit may be made on day 4.
We reserve the right, as part of our safeguarding responsibilities, to make a home visit if a child's absence is causing concern and no contact has been made with the school.
In order to reduce disruption and maximise learning, we strongly request that medical appointments are booked outside of school hours, however on the occasions when a child needs to leave the premises during school hours (proof of appointment must be shown to the office staff), it is imperative that you provide prior notice to the class teacher. Please note that children are never released from school unaccompanied for appointments during the school day and you will be required to sign them out when collecting them.
Other Legal Responsibilities
The school has a legal duty to record absence of registered pupils in compliance with the regulations. Within school, attendance is monitored by Mr Stanier, Mrs Hammond, Mrs Turley, Mrs Evans and the Governors. The Governors are required to report on the number of unauthorised absences each year. It is therefore, very important to keep the school informed of the reasons for all absences. Mrs Turley monitors attendance closely on behalf of the Governing Body.
The Local Authority has a legal duty to ensure that parents/carers carry out their responsibility to ensure their child attends school.
If your child does not attend regularly, and where support is not successful, not engaged with or not appropriate, legal intervention remains an important part of the Local Authorities’ powers to protect every child’s right to a full-time education, therefore you could get fined or prosecuted.
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Strategies at Hawbush to Promote Attendance
We understand the importance of children achieving high levels of attendance and punctuality and we have set a school attendance target of 96%.
We regularly reinforce this to the children and implement a variety of strategies to promote attendance, including:
- Class Attendance Certificates which are presented during our weekly celebration assembly when a class achieves a weekly attendance rate of 96% or above.
- The Class with the highest attendance achieves a reward for example additional playtime or a movie treat.
- Individual Attendance Certificates are presented at the end of each half-term.
- Children whose attendance is over 96% for the duration of the half-term are awarded a special certificate.
- Children who have achieved 100% for the duration of the half-term are awarded a special certificate and a prize (we have 6 levels of prizes to recognise children who achieve 100% attendance).
Attendance levels at Hawbush Primary are monitored and for any student identified as having attendance below 96%, further action is taken.
Once this trigger has been hit, the process followed is:
- A letter is sent to the parents/carers providing attendance levels and concerns relating to the learning hours lost.
- If the absence continues a further letter is sent giving concerns on attendance.
- An invitation to attend a meeting to discuss the situation with our Attendance Officers and a member of the senior management team.
- If attendance does not improve then a home visit will be made.
- Following this, an ‘Early Help’ offer is provided.
- Should parents/carers fail to co-operate and attendance deteriorate further, the decision not to authorise any further absence without receipt of supporting medical evidence is made and therefore any absence will be marked as unauthorised on the schools register. Evidence can include a GP note, appointment card or medical letter. Should parents/carers provide evidence from a medical practitioner advising that the period of absence was necessary, the absence for the evidenced period will be authorised.
- As a last resort, the matter is referred to the Local Authority and a pre-referral notice is sent to parents/carers.
Please note, there may be times when some steps are omitted, dependant on the escalation of absence levels.
A Very Important Message for all Parents
Please note that the 2013 amendment to The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, means that Head Teachers may no longer authorise leave during term time except where the circumstances are exceptional. This is also in accordance with Dudley Local Authority’s ‘Leave in Term Time Guidance’. If your child takes leave that has not been authorised by the Head Teacher, it will result in the absence being recorded as unauthorised. Please understand that this may lead to the issuing of a penalty notice and legal action being taken or your child losing their school place. If you are issued with a penalty notice, each parent will be fined a minimum of £60 (if paid within 21 days) or £120 (if paid within 28 days). If the fine is not paid within this period, you may be required to attend Court and this could result in a fine for each parent of up to £1000 per child. Being taken to court could result in you having a criminal record.
Family emergencies need careful consideration. It is not always appropriate or in the best interests of the child to miss school for emergencies which are being dealt with by adult family members. Being at school, friendship with peers and support from staff can provide children with stability. The routine of school offers a safe and familiar background during times of uncertainty.
If you believe there is an exceptional and urgent reason for your child to take leave during term time, please complete a Request for Term Time Holiday form. It is the Head Teacher who will then make a decision on whether or not the leave can be authorised.For example:
- Death of parent/carer or sibling of the pupil.
- Life threatening or critical illness of parent or sibling of the pupil.