At Higher Openshaw Community School we are committed to providing quality education for all our pupils. This can only be achieved with full attendance and the school will do its best to ensure maximum possible attendance, so that any problems that arise with good attendance are identified and remedied as soon as possible.
For your child to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly, on time and every day that the school is open. Pupils should only be absent if it is completely unavoidable.
Why Regular Attendance is so important:
Learning: Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence seriously affects their learning. Any pupil’s absence disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class. Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at the school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from the school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
Safeguarding: Your child may be at risk of harm if they do not attend the school regularly. Safeguarding the interests of each child is everyone’s responsibility and within the context of this school, promoting the welfare and life opportunities for your child encompasses:
- Behaviour Management
- Health and Safety
- Access to the Curriculum
- Anti- bullying
Failing to attend the school on a regular basis will be considered as a safeguarding matter
We expect the following from all pupils:
- That they will attend the school every day it is open, achieving a minimum of 97% or above attendance, unless they are genuinely ill.
- That they will be appropriately prepared for the day.
- That parents will inform school of any problems which affect attendance or punctuality.
We expect the following from parents/carers in supporting the Home/School agreement with regards to attendance and punctuality:
- To ensure pupils attend the school regularly, on time and be aware of their legal responsibilities.
- To ensure they contact the school immediately whenever their child is unable to attend stating the reason. Medical eveidance must be provided where children have significnt periods of absence for illness related reasons.
- To ensure that pupils who have mild illness ailments attend school and understand that should their child be absent this will be unauthorised.
- To ensure that their child is appropriately prepared for the day.
- To contact the school in confidence whenever they have a problem concerning attendance or punctuality.
- Not to arrange a holiday in term time.
- To respond to the appropriate person regarding letters of concern immediately.
- To make every effort to arrange dental and medical appointments out of the school day.
- That a minimum of 3 different telephone contact numbers are available and if changed, the school is informed immediately.
Parents can expect the following from School:
- Regular, efficient and accurate recording of attendance.
- Early contact from the school when a pupil fails to attend the school without providing good reason or when a pupil is truanting.
- Prompt response to problems notified to us.
- Support when there is a problem of long term illness.
- Follow up procedures from the Headteacher and Family Support.
- These are instigated when:
- a) Attendance drops below 97%.
- b) There are obvious patterns of repeated absence or lateness.
- c) When lateness is an issue.
The Law relating to attendance
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that ‘the parent’ of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him / her to receive efficient full time education suitable:-
(a) To age, ability and aptitude and
(b) To any special educational needs he/ she may have Either by regular attendance at school or otherwise’
Furthermore, the Education Act 1996 and subsequent amendments to legislation give schools and local authorities the powers to take legal action against parents to enforce attendance at the school they are registered to attend.
The Law relating to safeguarding
Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities and governing bodies to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State with regard to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and students under the age of 18.
Morning registration will take place at the start of school at 8:40am. The registers will remain open for 30 minutes. Any pupil arriving up to 20 minutes after his time will be late and anytime after 20 minutes will be marked as having an unauthorised absence unless there is an acceptable explanation.
Pupils who are constantly late are disrupting not only their own education, but also that of others. Where persistent lateness gives cause for concern, a meeting with the Head, Family Support or Education Welfare officer will be arranged to discuss how this can be improved.
Pupils arriving after the start of school before the end of the registration period will be treated for statistical purposes as present but will be coded as late before registration closed.
- If your child feels ill in the morning please provide them with appropriate pain relief/medication and send them to school.
- Any medication should be handed in to the school office who will administer it providing it is required 4 times a day and a parent/carer has completed the school Medication Consent Form. Your child should be in school if they have a minor illness such as a headache, cold, sore throat or period pains.
- If your child is ill i.e. to the extent that they cannot get out of bed, then please ring the school to notify them of their absence. Please ensure that your child returns to the school as soon as possible, even if they are not 100%.
- If your child is absent from the school for 3 days or longer please provide medical evidence, i.e. an appointment card, prescription boxes/bottles.
A full day’s absence will not be authorised for a medical appointment unless for exceptional circumstances. Please arrange all appointments outside the school day.
If the appointment is unavoidable, your child must come to school before and after the appointment.
Requests for absence during term-time
The law gives no entitlement to parents to take their child on out of school during term time. Any application for leave must only be in exceptional circumstances and the Head Teacher must be satisfied that the circumstances are exceptional and warrant the granting of leave. Head Teachers would not be expected to class any tem time holiday as exceptional.
If the request is denied school will inform the parent/carer of the reason by letter. If the parent/carer chooses to continue with the planned holiday it will be taken as an unauthorised absence.
A Penalty Notice may be issued by the Local Authority following your child's absence. Penalty notices are issued at £60 per parent* (if paid within 21 days) and £120 (if paid within 28 days) for each child. A Holiday Notification form is available on our website or school office. If you do not notify us but we have evidence that your child has been on holiday, a fixed penalty fine may still be issued.
Responding to non attendance
Where we have had no contact from a parent/carer the School will respond in the following manner
- First day telephone contact/text will be implemented for all pupils after 9.30am, further attempts at communication may also be made. If no response this can lead to the police being notified of the absence. On different days throughout the week, the designated safeguarding Lead and /or a member of the Senior Leadership Team may visit any child who is absent from school. These staff members may be accompanied by a member of the Policing Team during these visits.
- With continued non-attendance the case will be brought to the attention of the Attendance Officer. Further action may include participation in attendance improvement initiatives, home visits and/or meetings between the school, parents/carers and pupils and, if appropriate, other agencies in an attempt to identify and solve the problems which are preventing the pupil from attending the school. In cases where attendance does not improve appropriate action will be taken.
Understanding types of absence:
Every half-day absence from the school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of an absence is always required, preferably in writing. Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from the school for a good reason like genuine illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause. Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave" has been given. This type of absence can lead to the School and or the Local authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings.
- Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily.
- Absences which have never been properly explained.
- Children who arrive at school too late to get a mark.
Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular non-attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child. If your child is reluctant to attend, excusing them from attending makes the situation worse as it gives the impression that attendance does not matter. Please refer to our School Attendance policy for full details. Copies can be provided on request.
Moving to a new setting
It is important that if families decide to send the child/children in their care to a different school they must inform us as soon as possible. Your child/children must continue their education with the School until their start date at the new school. Schools may be reluctant to take a child onto roll where attendance is low and so it is imperative that they continue to attend.
A pupil will not be removed from the school’s roll until we have received confirmation that they have started at the new school and the following information has been received and investigated.
- The date the pupil is leaving this school and starting a new school.
- The address of the new school, and confirmation from that school that the pupil has been admitted.
- The new home address.
The pupils’ school record will then be sent on to the new school as soon as possible. In the case of movement abroad records will be provided for the pupil to take with them.
In the event that the school has not been informed of the above information, the family will be referred to the Local Authority as a ‘Child Missing Education’. The school will complete a ‘Common Transfer File’ (CTF) for all pupils leaving the school for another school.