Consett Junior School seeks to ensure that all its pupils receive an education which maximises opportunities for each pupil to realise his/her true potential. The school will strive to provide a welcoming, caring environment, whereby each member of the school community feels wanted and secure.
We believe that all students benefit from the education we provide, and therefore from regular attendance. The aim of our attendance policy is to provide a consistent practice that encourages and facilitates the regular attendance of all pupils.
All school staff will work with pupils and their families to support parents in helping them to meet their legal duty; to ensure that their children attend school regularly and on time. A whole school attendance target of 96% has been set for the academic year 2022/2023 and various measures will be put in place to help work towards this.
The school has established an effective system of incentives and rewards which acknowledges the efforts of pupils to improve their attendance and timekeeping and will challenge the behaviour of those pupils and parents who give low priority to attendance and punctuality.
Attendance and Attainment
We recognise that the relationship between attendance and achievement of our students is inextricably linked.
Regular school attendance is crucial to maximise pupil progress and enjoyment of learning, and for this reason the school is dedicated to ensuring its attendance policy is adhered to.
You need to make sure your child attends school regularly and on time. Because parents are responsible for this duty in law, you will be breaking the law if you do not do this and there are no good reasons for missing school.
The School and Local Authority want to help you if you have a problem. If attendance does not get better or you do not accept help and support offered, the Council may issue you with a warning notice, Penalty Notice or ask you to attend an interview to ask you questions about whether you have broken the law.
If you go to court and are found guilty of an offence, you could be fined up to £1,000 for a less serious offence or up to £2,500 if the law breaking is more serious. In very serious cases, the court may involve the probation service or consider up to 3 months in prison.
If a child is ill or is absent for any reason, parents or carers are asked to contact the School Office giving a reason for the child’s absence. If a child is absent from school and there is no phone call or message from home then school will make the necessary attempts to contact the parents/carers to inform them that the child is not in school and enquire about a reason why.
Doctors and dentists appointments should be made outside of school time. If this is not possible, your child should miss the minimum amount of school time necessary. If they are well enough to come back to school following the appointment they need to. Letters of appointments must be provided.
If a child’s absence continues beyond 3 days then parents are requested to notify the school to update them. If a phone call is not received then the school will contact home to verify the absence and will carry out house calls if we are unsuccessful. If school are not successful in speaking with parents/carers after 3 days of absence then a home visit will be completed and if necessary a welfare check requested from the Local Authority attendance team or police.
If the school receives no reason for any absence then an unauthorised absence will be recorded. Continued absenteeism and unauthorised absences could result in further action such as referral to the Attendance Improvement Team to consider enforcement action and possibly a fixed penalty notice (this includes unauthorised absences accrued through leave of absence taken during term time).
If your child is absent from school more than they should be:
At the end of each half term the School Office will use its computer system to analyse absence across the school. As a result of this, some families will receive correspondence to inform them if their child’s absence is lower than it should be if no prior discussion has taken place (unless this is due to frequent hospital appointments and/or long term medical needs).
If you need help with attendance, it is important that you talk to the school about the issues as soon as possible. You may need to attend a meeting in school to talk about the problems and to put a plan in place to help. Sometimes, school may need to involve other services to help.
The school will always try to communicate with you regarding your child’s attendance if it declines. This communication may involve explaining that attendance is a cause for concerns by letter, making telephone calls to you, and inviting you to attend a meeting in school depending on the circumstances. The school will work with you to discuss ways that we can offer support in finding a way to improve the situation.
If, after raising concerns, your child’s absences remain high and no medical evidence is provided, school will not authorise absences which will result in a referral to the Local Authority.
If, following the schools attempts to intervene there is no significant improvement and no good reasons for absences (i.e. absences are not supported by relevant evidence), or you have not co-operated with the school’s attempts to improve the situation the school are required to consider referring the matter to the Local Authority for enforcement action.
The High Court has confirmed that the school’s Head Teacher authorises absences. If your child misses school a lot because of illness, or if school do not know of any serious health issue that would mean your child could miss school a lot, the school may ask to you to provide medical evidence to authorise absences.
We are committed to supporting your child effectively, to ensure that they get the very best education possible and therefore have the best life chances. All challenges made concerning persistent absences, will be handled sensitively and in confidence.
Leave of Absence in Term Time
Head teachers are not able to grant leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. The school will consider each request of absence individually; taking into account the circumstances, such as; the nature of the event for which leave is sought, the pupil’s prior attendance and any important events taking place in school at that time e.g. termly tests.
An application for leave of absence must be made well in advance via a form which is available from the school website or in person from the school office. Where a leave of absence is granted, the head teacher will determine the number of days a pupil can be away from school. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the head teacher’s discretion. As stated in the most recent DFE guidance on attendance, if an application for leave of absence is not made prior to the time of the required absence then the absence will be recorded as unauthorised regardless of circumstances.
Please note that absence will not be authorised under any circumstances during any period of public examinations or internal assessments.
Promoting good attendance and punctuality
In order to promote attendance and punctuality the school will give out a monthly class and monthly year group rewards for the best attendance. Further to this all children will be part of a termly attendance day, which includes an assembly to promote the importance of being in school regularly and on time. All children will be provided with raffle tickets as follows:
Below 96% = 1 ticket; +96% = 2 tickets; +97% = 3 tickets and so on till 100% (6 tickets). There will be a lower and upper school draw in the assembly and the winner will see me the following day to purchase a prize up to the value of £20 on Amazon. This will give the child the time at home to choose something. Last term Orla and Beth won this prize and enjoyed choosing their reward.
Throughout the day ALL children will also be rewarded with treats and refreshments and will have an hour of crafts/movie/music during class time.
Any child can be unwell at anytime during the year, 96% is a reasonable target that takes into consideration that someone can been unwell but still achieve 96%. Sadly, it is not the child’s fault if they are absent, but they can be involved in the process of the importance of coming to school regularly and on time, where they are fit to do so. This day not only promotes good attendance overall but it also promotes much improved attendance of children where we have identified there is concern.
All schools choose their own procedures on rewarding and promoting attendance – most do not reward anything other than 100%.
All children who achieve 100% or above for the year will be invited to celebrate in another way. Any child who achieve 100% for the year will receive special recognition awards and be invited to a restaurant meal. Attendance percentages will be shared with parents on a monthly basis on the school newsletter, at termly parents’ meetings and also annual reports to parents will contain a record of individual pupils’ attendance.
Attendance is also available on the school app and families are encouraged and prompted to check this regularly. Attendance letters are sent home twice a year if attendance causes concern.
Can we take this time to thank our families for supporting our attendance goals and keeping us informed if children are absent. We have recently held spring term attendance meetings, which can be a hard meeting for some families.