Attendance Policy

Attendance Policy

 

1. Introduction

The Bath Studio School is committed to providing high quality inclusive learning opportunities for all students. We believe that if students are to reach their full potential then excellent attendance is crucial. Any problems that impede full attendance will be identified and addressed as quickly as possible.

The Governing Body, Principal and staff wish to ensure that every child at The Bath Studio School benefits from regular and punctual attendance at school and to ensure continuity in the learning process. To this end parent/carers will be informed of the school policy on attendance and encouraged to understand the importance of good attendance and punctuality. Regular and punctual attendance is the legal responsibility of the parent/carer.

It is the policy of The Bath Studio School to celebrate achievement. Full attendance is a critical factor in ensuring positive educational outcomes for our students. Our school will actively promote and encourage excellent attendance (above 97%) for all our students. We recognise that parents/carers have a vital role to play and that there is a need to establish strong home–school links and communication systems that can be utilised whenever there is concern about attendance.

If there are problems which affect a student’s attendance then we will investigate the matter and attempt to work in partnership with parents/carers, students and Local Authority to resolve those problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. We will adopt a clearly focused approach aimed at returning the student to full attendance at all times.

Students will have expectations regarding attendance and punctuality regularly addressed through the school assemblies and rewards systems so that the importance of good attendance is given a high profile within the school. The aim of this policy is to raise levels of achievement by ensuring high levels of attendance, punctuality and involvement in the school.

 

2. Purpose of this Policy

 To improve the overall percentage of students at school

 To make attendance and punctuality a priority for all those associated with the school including students, parents/carers, teachers and governors

 To develop a framework which defines agreed roles and responsibilities and promotes consistency in carrying out designated tasks

 To provide support, advice and guidance to parents/carers and students

 To develop a systematic approach to gathering and analysing attendance related data

 To further develop positive and consistent communication between home and school

 To promote effective partnerships with the Local Authority, the MAT and with other services and agencies

 To recognise the needs of the individual student when planning reintegration following significant periods of absence

3. Principles

3.1 Regular and full attendance at school is an essential part of being able to deliver a good education to students.

3.2 Parents/carers have a legal duty under The Education Act (1996) to ensure that children of compulsory school age attend school on a regular and full-time basis.

3.3 The school has a legal duty to ensure the registration of students for morning and afternoon sessions of the school. If a student of compulsory school age is absent, every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school, as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. Only the school can authorise the absence, not parents/carers. This is why information about the cause of each absence is always required, preferably in writing.

3.4 The school will not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are “exceptional circumstances”.

3.5 Unauthorised absence from school is an offence and parents/carers can be reported to the Local Authority when there are persistent attendance problems.

3.6 We have a duty to validate absence due to on-going medical issues. This may involve parents/carers meeting with a member of staff and the school nurse. At this meeting we will draw up a medical action plan to ensure that time in school is maximised. We may also discuss with parents/carers regarding our wish to liaise with medical professionals to ensure that absences from school due to medical reasons are reasonable.

3.7 Problems with attendance are best resolved by discussion between the school, parents/carers and the student.

3.8 Tutors, and staff members and the senior team are available to help the school, the parents/carers and students resolve problems with attendance.

4. Promoting Good Attendance

Our policy is to place more emphasis on rewards rather than sanctions although we recognize that in a minority of cases effective sanctions are necessary. We will encourage good attendance by:

 Accurately completing attendance registers at the beginning of each session and within 15 minutes of the start of lessons.

 Following-up absences as part of our safeguarding procedures.

 Undertaking attendance checks at appropriate times.

 Recording attendance on student records.

 Acknowledging individual’s improvements in attendance.

 Providing feedback on individual attendance data to students and where necessary, parents/carers.

 Encouraging good liaison between the school and the Local Authority.

 Welcoming and supporting children returning to school after a long term absence and, where necessary, provide support via our pastoral staff, prior to re-entry to help students keep up to date.

 Identifying children ‘at risk’ as quickly as possible for special monitoring.

 Reward attendance for individual students on an annual basis.

 Send letters home to parents/carers of students where attendance is a concern and set up ‘Attendance Meetings’.

 Recording holidays taken in term time which have not been authorized and writing to parents/carers to express our policy. We will also work with the Local Authority and issue Penalty Notices where appropriate.

5. Roles and Responsibilities

In order for this policy to be successful, every member of staff must make attendance a high priority and convey to the students the importance of the education being provided.

Role Responsibility Governors

 To ensure that the school has in place a whole school attendance policy

 To receive regular reports from the Head teacher in respect of attendance data.

 To monitor the effectiveness of the whole school policy.

 To oversee the whole policy.

 To have particular regard to the qualities aspects of the policy.

as they pertain to gender and ethnicity and to those students looked after by the Local Authority

 To report to Governors on attendance issues on a termly basis.

 These tasks maybe delegated to the Director of Learning or other member of SLT.

 To oversee the collation and analysis of attendance data.

 To produce an attendance profile for the whole school.

 To report to the school’s SLT on attendance matters and trends.

 To ensure liaison with our Attendance Officer.

 To collate attendance data for each tutor group.

 To oversee the registration process and ensure that registers are completed accurately and on time.

 To ensure a tracking process is in place for vulnerable students.

 To ensure that reasons for absence are coded in the register and follow-up any unexplained non-attendance.

 To reinforce good practice at meetings.

 To raise the profile of attendance at appropriate times (e.g. assemblies).

 Meet with and inform Parent/Carers regarding attendance and punctuality matters.

 Meet regularly with Attendance Officer on matters of problematic attendance.

 To organize the reintegration of long-term absentees.

 Reward students who have excellent attendance (97%+).

Attendance Officer

 Liaise with tutors and Senior Team absences that do not warrant authorising or any absence that is cause for concern.

 Where the school is concerned regarding a student’s attendance rate letters will be sent to Parent/Carers who have not contacted school informing of the absence of their child on the day of absence.

 Provide an accurate and up to date record of attendance across the school.

 Liaise with Director of Learning in the early identification of problematic attendance and punctuality issues.

 To Liaise with the Tutors / Teachers on a weekly basis.

 Keep an accurate record of Tutor group attendance by marking the register accurately for each lesson and Tutor session.

 Place all notes from Parent/Carers explaining child’s absence in register for attention by Attendance Clerk.

 Monitor patterns of attendance in tutor group and inform tutors and managers of any problem areas of attendance.

 Following up non attendance as part of our Safeguarding Procedures.

 

Parents/Carers

 Ensure that children leave for school on time.

 Ensure children attend school regularly and punctually.

 Contact the school on the first day of absence.

 Notify school of duration of, or every day of absence.

 Provide a written letter of explanation to school for all absence. Ensure this letter is returned to school on first day child returns after absence.

 Endeavour, where possible, to make appointments for child out of school hours.

 Support the school in all matters to ensure a punctual and regular attendance. Attendance Officer.

 Meet regularly with Director of Learning on matters of problematic attendance.

 Meet with and inform Parent/Carers regarding attendance and punctuality matters.

 To instigate formal action such as Attendance Planning Meetings, Penalty Notices and Court action in the event of persistent and continually poor attendance.

6. Performance

Interim Attendance targets will be set 3 times a year and tracked by Director of Learning. Rewards will be issued to the tutor group with the best record.

 Attendance data for individual students, tutor groups and the school as a whole.

 Has the school been successful in raising the profile of attendance both within the school and the community?

 How well informed are new students about the importance of attendance and the policy and procedures operating within the school?

 Have attendance issues been included as topics in school assemblies, PSHEE or as a theme for any other curricular lessons?

We will strive to raise the profile of attendance through the issue of individual certificates for 100% attendance and improved attendance and through the monitoring of tutor group attendance.

The Bath Studio School believes that it is essential to keep this policy “alive”. Consultation and communication are key factors that will ensure that the Policy has impact in raising attendance. Vigilance is essential if we are to maintain and improve our attendance figures.

7. PROCEDURE FOR REGISTERING STUDENTS AT THE BATH STUDIO SCHOOL

i. Our Legal Morning Registration is Lesson 1.

Registration will take place at the start of each lesson and immediately after the lunch break using the school’s recognised method of registration.

ii. Marking the register in lesson 1 and Tutor Period.

Procedure for Registration and the Duty of Tutors.

These are the procedures and routines which The Bath Studio School employs to monitor and improve attendance and the responsibilities of key staff in the recording and monitoring of attendance. Tutors play a major role in attempting to promote good attendance, but will only be successful with the support of all the teaching staff following procedures and identifying concerns. Not only is accurate monitoring of attendance a legal responsibility it is also one of the most important child protection procedures that we carry out on a daily basis.

Students have to value and see the purpose of coming to our school. Whole school issues such as the learning environment, lunchtime arrangements, how we deal with bullying, teacher student relationships, teaching styles, rewards and sanctions play a most crucial role in determining whether students attend school. The support of Parents/Carers is extremely important to ensure their children attend school every day.

iii Daily procedures and routine for registering student attendance in the morning.

Registration should be amongst the first events of lesson one and in each subsequent lesson. It sets the tone for the rest of the lesson and the learning that will follow. It is vital that registration is conducted punctually, and in a positive, purposeful and business-like climate.

Teachers/Tutors will take the register using SIMS Lesson Monitor/Smile, either on a handheld device or desktop computer in the teaching room/space. Students are marked present (/) or absent (N) on the screen. If students arrive after being marked absent then the teacher should change the mark to late (L). If a student is late, the tutor should also enter the number of minutes late by using the ‘minutes late’ facility. As soon as the register has been taken the Teacher/Tutor should ensure that the register is saved so that the data is stored.

 Students arriving after 8.50am in the morning will be marked as L.

 Supply teachers will be given login details for SIMS and will use the Lesson Monitor system to take the register in every lesson they teach.

 Students who fail to be punctual for registration of lessons on a regular basis will be placed on punctuality or lateness report to be monitored by attendance reports which will be signed daily by Parents/Carers. Tutors can run detentions during the week and can place students who are regularly late in this detention.

 As letters are received from Parents/Carers Tutors need to code absences on Lesson Monitor. If after a week a student fails to provide notes for absence then tutors must contact the Attendance Clerk with relevant details. The Attendance Clerk will then contact home.

 If no contact can be made or reason given is unacceptable then students will be given an unauthorized absence.

 Tutors will be asked to follow up absences promptly so that records are kept up to date.

 Parents/Carers are reminded regularly through the newsletter of the importance of informing the tutor of any reason for absence and are encouraged to telephone the school so that messages can be passed onto the tutors.

iv) Marking the register in lessons 1,2,3 and 4

 All students present at registration periods should be marked ‘present’ using the appropriate DfE code.

 Any student absent when the register is called should be marked ‘absent’ using the appropriate DfE code.

 If a child marked absent subsequently arrives during the tutor period then that student should be marked as ‘Late’.

 Under NO circumstances should any student not be given a mark on the register.

Please email the students attending enrichment to attendance clerk so that enrichment can be carefully monitored.

v) Late after registration closes.

Any student who is late after the registration period has closed should register with the student reception. Any student whose lateness does not carry an acceptable reason in the judgement of the Attendance Clerk will have their attendance will be recorded as U – ‘unauthorised’.

Students who are late, for no acceptable reason, will have a detention set as a sanction. Parent/Carers may also be informed of the reason for this detention and asked to support the school in re-enforcing the need for punctuality.

8. Absences from School (First Day)

Parent/Carers should notify the school every day their child is absent. This should be done in advance of the school day, if possible, using the school’s answering machine service. Where a student’s absence is a cause for concern the school’s Attendance Clerk may contact the Parent/Carers of that student after 9.30am to receive an explanation for the absence on that day of absence. On return from absence, all absence must be explained by a letter from Parent/Carers.

9. Authorising absence

If a Tutor has a suspicion regarding a note explaining an absence then it should be referred to the Director of Support and Guidance who will make enquiries. The Director of Learning may choose to liaise with the Director of Learning or Principal who will decide on any subsequent action.

10. Holidays

From the 1st September 2013 Head teachers will not, by law, be able to grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are “exceptional circumstances”. Taking pupils out of school during term time for the purpose of holidays is not deemed as an “exceptional circumstance” and will not be authorised.

11. Appointments

The school asks that Parent/Carers try to make medical/dental appointments out of school hours but understands that sometimes this is impossible. Preferably a student will come to school. Students should report to school with a note from their Parent/Carer on the day of the appointment and sign in/out as appropriate at Student Reception.

12. Improving attendance

In cases where student’s attendance causes the school concern, The Bath Studio School will undertake a series of steps to ensure that the situation is rectified:

1. Student will be placed on attendance report to monitor their attendance.

2. Initial contact with Parent/Carer informing them of the school’s concern.

3. Standard letter of concern regarding poor level of attendance.

4. Meeting with SLT or Support and Guidance tutor to discuss how best to deal with problematic attendance.

5. Intervention to support student to improve attendance.

In cases where there is no improvement and attendance continues to cause concern the school, with the Local Authority, will seek action to be taken under legal powers to ensure that Parent/Carers fulfil their legal responsibility.

13. Note on Unauthorised absence.

An unauthorised absence is when parents/Carers do not provide a reason that the school believes to be justifiable.

14. Re-integrating students who have been absent for a significant length of time.

Students who have been absent for a period of time for no justifiable reason will have a re-integration programme designed by the support and guidance team and Director of Learning in liaison with other agencies, as appropriate. This will be designed to meet their needs and allow a smooth re-integration into school.

15. Exceptional Circumstances.

From the 1st September 2013 Headteachers will not, by law, be able to grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are “exceptional circumstances”.

“Exceptional” circumstances might include:

 The funeral of a very close relative.

 The wedding of a very close relative.

 Participation in a national event or awards ceremony.

 Traveller children.

 Young Carers.

 Other circumstances deemed ‘exceptional’ by the school.

 Parents may of course choose to take their children out of school without permission but the repercussions of any unauthorised absences include the potential issuing of fines under a penalty notice.

16. Penalty Notices (see appendix 1)

Accumulated unauthorised absences may result in a Penalty Notice being issued by Bath & North East Somerset Council. These fines are £60 (per parent, per student) if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid by 28. If the penalty is not paid and the notice is not withdrawn the parent/carer will be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court for the offence of failing to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school.

Penalty Notices will only be issued after a series of strategies have been tried and no improvement seen. The decision to issue a Penalty Notice is taken by the Local Authority following a request from the school. Copies of paperwork sent by the LA to parents/carers are also issued to the school and kept on student files.

Appendix 1: Penalty Notices

Information for Carers.

What is a Penalty Notice?

Under existing legislation, Parents/Carers commit an offence if a child fails to attend regularly and the absences are classed as unauthorised (those for which the school cannot or has not given permission). Depending on circumstances such cases may result in prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced the Penalty Notice as an alternative to prosecution. A Penalty Notice does not require an appearance in Court but still aims to secure an improvement in attendance.

Why is it being introduced?

Reducing absence from school is a key priority nationally and locally because missing school damages a pupil’s attainment levels, disrupts school routines and the learning of others and can leave a pupil vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and youth crime.

Above all, missing school seriously affects children’s longer term life opportunities.

How much will it be?

£60 - If payment is made within 21 days. £120 - if paid after this but within 28 days.

How will they be issued?

By post, to the Parents/Carers home address.

When will they used?

Penalty Notices may be used in to tackle unauthorised absence in the following circumstances:

 Where the Parent/Carer has chosen to take their child on holiday during term time without authorisation, especially where the absence will lead to the child missing public examinations i.e. GCSEs.

 Where following a truancy sweep, enquiries show that the school has recorded the pupil's absence for that session as unauthorised.

 In cases where pupils are persistently late for school after the register has closed.

 In cases where a pupil’s Parents/Carers fail to work with the school to improve attendance.

Penalty notices may be issued to any or all parents/carers as defined by section 576 of the Education Act 1996.

Parents/Carers will not be issued with more than 2 separate penalty notices per child in any twelve-month period.

The Bath Studio School does not take the decision to instigate legal action lightly and would far rather work with Parents/Carers to improve attendance without having to resort to its enforcement powers. Attendance is of such importance to all of us however that these powers will be used if this will help in securing a child’s education.

Is a Warning Given?

Normally yes. You should receive a written warning of the possibility of a Notice being issued, which will tell you the extent of your child’s absences and give you 15 school days in which to effect an improvement. In that time your child must have no unauthorised absences from school. In some circumstances a penalty notice may be issued without a warning being issued.

There is no limit to the number of times formal warning of possible Penalty Notice issue may be made in any particular case.

Is there an appeal process?

There is no statutory right of appeal once a notice has been issued, but on receipt of a warning you can make representation should you wish.

How do I pay?

Details of payment arrangements will be included on the Penalty Notice. You need to be aware that payment in part or by instalment is not an option with Penalty Notices.

What happens if I do not pay?

You have up to 28 days from receipt to pay the Penalty Notice in full. If full payment is not received within this timescale the Authority is required under the Act to commence proceedings in the Magistrates court for the original offence of poor attendance by your child.

If proven, this can result in fines of up to £2,500 and/or a range of disposals such as Caring Orders, Community Sentences or imprisonment depending upon circumstances.

Can I be prosecuted if I pay the Penalty Notice but my child is still missing school?

Not for the period included in the Penalty Notice – payment discharges your liability in this respect. However it may be the case that a prosecution might be considered for further periods of poor attendance not covered by the Notice, depending upon the circumstances. If this is an issue, it is vital that you work closely with your child’s school and support agencies.

Can I get help if my child is not attending regularly?

Yes, your child’s school will give you advice and support if you need help with your child’s attendance. It is very important that you speak with the school at the earliest opportunity if you have any worries at all about securing your child’s attendance.