How will absences from school affect my child’s progress at school?
- Attainment levels – the quality of school work and qualifications gained will be significantly lower if attendance is lower. This has been shown by data analysis and research both in Wigan and nationally.
- School routine – your child’s learning and that of other pupils could be disrupted by the missing of vital class/coursework.
- The chances of children and young people being involved in anti-social behaviour may increase as attendance at school decreases.
- A child or young person’s general well-being and long term life opportunities may be adversely affected by the missing of positive experiences associated with school and learning.
What is acceptable attendance?
- The School expects all pupils to aim for 100% attendance.
- 98% attendance is regarded as good and should be achieved with an average amount of illness.
- Any attendance level that creates a cause for concern would initiate intervention by the school. This could be as simple as a ‘chat’ with the form teacher or may, in more severe circumstances, lead to the involvement of agencies outside of the school.
What does the school do to promote excellent attendance?
- Rewards – Excellent pupil attendance is celebrated on a weekly and termly basis in assemblies.
- Group work can be beneficial for pupils. The group may focus on attendance issues, punctuality or the link between school attendance and future attainment.
- Counselling is available for pupils. This is a confidential service and is delivered by an independent counsellor from Wigan Family Welfare.
- A school based Local Authority Attendance Officer Karen Ralph works alongside staff to support and promote excellent school attendance.
How does the school record absence?
- The school uses an electronic system of attendance registration that is updated within each lesson by the form teacher or subject teacher.
- The system records whether the child is present or absent.
- Absence is categorized as being authorised (agreed and accepted by the school as being appropriate) or unauthorised.
- Examples of authorised absence would be genuine illness, medical appointments etc.
- Examples of unauthorised absence would be truancy, parentally condoned absence without appropriate reason, and unauthorised holidays in term time.
- The codes used are standard codes as issued by the government.
What should I do if my child is ill?
- Firstly, decide if you child is too ill to attend school. Each day the school is attended by a number of pupils who feel under the weather or ‘a bit sick’. The majority of these pupils improve during the day and have no problems as a result of their attending.
- If your child is too ill to attend, please ring the school on the first day, and on each subsequent day your child is unwell (01942 767040).
- On return to school, your child should bring a letter explaining the illness.
If my child is absent from school, what can I expect to happen?
- Parents are responsible for contacting school on the first day of absence, however if you fail to do this truancy call will be made. If you do not respond to this then the absence will be marked as unauthorised.
- If your child’s absences are more frequent, you should expect to receive a letter informing you of your child’s attendance level.
- If your child’s absence is unacceptable or at a significantly low level you would be asked to attend a meeting in school to discuss support appropriate to your child.
- If attendance fails to improve the matter will be referred to our Local Authority Attendance Officer.
Can a pupil take a holiday in term time?
- Term time holidays and extended leave are not allowed as a rule and parents/carers are discouraged from arranging holidays or extended leave of absence during term time.
- The school will only grant leave of absence for family holidays in special circumstances. Taking a holiday during school term because it would be cheaper, better weather or tagging it on to the beginning or end of a school break is not in the DfCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) view considered to be a ‘special circumstance.’
- Parents/carers must write an absence request letter to school in good time (at least 6 weeks before a trip) for permission to take their child out of school during term time.
- If the request is denied school will inform the parent/carer of the reason by letter. If the parents/carers choose to continue with the planned holiday it will be taken as an unauthorised absence.
- In the rare circumstance when the Head Teacher is satisfied that there are genuine reasons for the holiday/extended leave in term time, he/she will agree up to 10 consecutive days in any one school year. This will be an authorised absence.
- Parents are reminded that taking a holiday in term time will result in an Education Penalty Notice fine.
If my child has an unacceptable level of unauthorised absence, what can I expect to happen?
- You will be contacted by the school, either by telephone, letter and/or visit to your home in order that the level of, and reasons for, your child’s absence can be discussed with you.
- A plan of action will be compiled that is aimed at helping you improve your child’s school attendance.
- A failure to comply with any such plan without valid reason will, if your child’s school attendance does not improve, result in a referral being made to the Education Welfare Service who will aim to support you in ensuring your child attends school regularly.
- Further poor school attendance by your child may result in legal action being taken against you by the local authority.
- You may initially be issued with an Education Penalty Notice (fine) after first being given a warning letter by school.
- See the information provided below with regard to the Educational Penalty Notice.
What is an Education Penalty Notice?
An Education Penalty Notice is a fine issued to parents or carers and can be either £60 per parent or carer (if the payment is made within 21 days of receipt) or £120 per parent or carer (if paid after this, but within 28 days). Education Penalty Notices are issued by first class post to your home and will explain how and where to send your payment. You must pay the whole of the amount owing in one payment. You cannot pay in instalments or part of the amount. If payment is not received within 28 days, the Local Authority will consider prosecution for the unauthorised absence to which the Education Penalty Notice relates.
How will I know when I am going to receive an Education Penalty Notice?
Before Education Penalty Notices are issued, you will receive a written warning which will explain the extent of your child’s non-attendance and the possibility of your receiving a Penalty Notice if their attendance does not improve in 15 days. During this period, your child must not have any further unauthorised absences from school. There is no limit to the number of times a formal warning of a possible Education Penalty Notice issue may be made in any particular case.
What kind of unauthorised absences result in the issuing of an Education Penalty Notice?
- Where pupils are openly truanting (This includes pupils found during truancy sweeps by Education Welfare Officers and the police.)
- Absences from school of which parents or carers are aware, but that are not authorised by the school.
- Holidays taken in term time which the head teacher has not authorised.
- An unacceptable delayed return from an extended holiday if the parents or carers have not received permission beforehand from the school
- Regular late arrival at school (after the register has closed).
- For more information on Education Penalty Notices please visit the links below.
Where can I find information, advice & assistance from regarding my child’s school attendance?
Sam is in Year 8. His attendance rate is always around 90%. He thinks this is pretty good! So what does an attendance rate of 90% look like?
90% attendance means that he is absent from lessons for the equivalent of one half day every week.
In Year 7, Sam’s 90% attendance rate means that he has missed the equivalent of four whole weeks of lessons in the school year.
If Sam continues to attend for only 90% of the time, then over five years he will miss the equivalent of about one half of a school year.
How do you think 90% attendance rate will affect Sam’s chances of doing well in school?
Research suggests that 17 days missed from school equates to a GCSE grade.