Attendance and Punctuality

As I am sure you are aware, attendance and attainment are very closely linked.

At Horizon Primary Academy we are very grateful for the support of all parents and carers who ensure that their children attend school regularly and punctually. This allows teachers the best possible opportunity to support our pupils to reach their full potential.

 

Horizon Primary Academy

Attendance Policy

Horizon Primary Academy is committed to providing a first class educational experience for all children. If children are to fully benefit, regular attendance is vital. As a school we will do all we can to ensure maximum attendance for all children. Wherever possible we will support families to ensure children are able to access their education every day. Any problems that impede full attendance will be identified and addressed as speedily as possible.

Our school will give a high priority to conveying to parents and children the importance of regular and punctual attendance. We recognise that parents have a vital role to play as well as a legal responsibility. We will endeavour to establish and maintain strong home-school links and communication systems that we can utilise whenever there is a concern about attendance.  We will work in partnership with parents, carers, children and other agencies to resolve problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Procedures:

  1. Teachers complete accurate registers at the beginning of each morning and afternoon session
  2. A first day calling system is operated. Parents are contacted by telephone if their children are absent without explanation. Any reasons for absence will be recorded
  3. Any children arriving after the register closes at 9:00am will be marked late
  4. Children arriving after this time are recorded on the school's signing-in system as they arrive at the main school entrance
  5. If a satisfactory explanation has not been gained or received then the absence is marked as unauthorised.

Monitoring Absence:

• The attendance of all children is monitored daily by the head teacher and attendance officer

• Children with less than 94% attendance are monitored by the school's attendance team on  bi-weekly basis

• The attendance officer, pastoral leader and headteacher meet regularly to monitor children with attendance below 94%, to decide on letters and referrals, and on which children to refer to the EWS.

Stage 1:

Parents of children whose attendance is below 94% receive a letter from the school, indicating that attendance is unsatisfactory. They will be offered voluntary attendance to a 'Stage 1' attendance surgery to discuss any barriers that might exist, hindering attendance at school. If attendance fails to improve or declines further towards 90% (persisent absence), parents/carers will be asked to attend a 'Stage 2' attendance meeting

Stage 2 Meeting:

If a child's attendance fails to improve within a 4 week period after being issued a Stage 1 attendance letter and/or attending a Stage 1 attendance surgery, the process will move to a Stage 2 meeting. At this meeting the following will take place:

  • A discussion about the barriers to attendance, school concerns and parent concerns;
  • Discussion about any suitable signposting to other agencies to reduce/remove barriers;
  • The creation of an action plan to improve attendance at school - this will be in place for 6 weeks

Stage 3 meeting:

If attendance has not been 97% or more during the 6-week action plan period (minus signficant illness or medical appointments, with evidence), the attendance prodecure will move to stage 3 and a stage 3 meeting will take place. 

Stage 3 will also commence for the parents/carers of any child with attendance at or below 90% as this is classed as persistent absence.

At a stage 3 meeting, the following will take place:

  • Parents/carers will be informed of the school's intentions to refer to the local authority, via the digital front door - this will include our intentions to recommend a fine or prosecution as appropriate
  • The LA Education Welfare Officer or school Governor will attend the meeting 

Please note that the school is committed to ensuring that all children attend school every day. In order to fufil this duty, Horizon Primary Academy is fully committed to seeking fines and prosecutions where necessary. 

In order to ensure a swift return to acceptable levels of attendance at Horizon Primary Academy, the timeline for the stages of our attendance procedure are as follows:

Stage 1 - commences as soon as a child's attendance dips below 94%

Stage 2 - If attendance does not increase to above 94% within 4 weeks

Stage 3 - Commences if attendance has not been at least 97% for the 6-week period. 

In addition to these actions, parents or carers may be asked to attend a meeting with the pastoral leader and attendance officer officer to offer support for children and families to improve attendance.

 

Punctuality:

  • Children are recorded as late if they arrive after 9:00 am; they sign in at the office before going into class
  • Children arriving after 9.30am, unless for a notified reason (e.g. doctor’s appointment), will be recorded as having an unauthorised absence.
  • If they are late due to a dental/hospital appointment then an appointment card or confirmation from the parent/carer is needed.
  • Lateness is monitored regularly.
  • Discussions are held with parents/carers whose children are late on a regular basis.
  • Punctuality is monitored by the attendance. They will send a letter to all parents whose children are persistently late, if this doesn’t improve punctuality the parent will be invited in to the school for a meeting with the pastoral leader and attendance officer
  • The EWS also conduct random register swoops in school. All those children who are late or absent that day will get a call from the EWO. If they are unable to make contact with the parent and the parent has not informed the school for the reason of absence the EWO will conduct a home visit.

 

Holidays:

In line with the current DFE (Department for Education) guidance, holidays in term time cannot be authorised. Leave of absence during term time can only be granted for exceptional circumstances by the head teacher.

Parents must formally write in to the head teacher to request the holiday, they will look at each individual case before writing back with a response.

Where a holiday causes the pupil to be absent for 3 or more consecutive days the Local Authority can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice.

If the absence causes the attendance to fall to 90% or below this would place the pupil in the persistent absentee category as outlined by the DFE. In this instance the LA can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. Alternatively, a formal referral maybe required to the EWS to address the holiday in the wider context of persistent absenteeism.

 

Long-term absence:

• Where a child is off sick for more than 5 consecutive school days then medical evidence may be requested (e.g. a copy of the prescription).

• If no proof of illness is provided then the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and could lead to a referral to the Education Welfare Service.

• Where there is extended absence due to illness the school provides work for the child to do at home.

 

Missing in Education:

If a child is absent for 10 consecutive days then the school has the responsibility to report this to the local authority in line with the Department for Education guidelines.

 

Registers:

An accurate and consistent registration system is crucial if poor attendance and punctuality within the school is to be tackled. It is vital that children are aware that registration is a significant part of the school day.

All staff involved with the registration process should be aware that the law is very specific regarding the keeping of registers. Marking and keeping the register is of utmost importance. Particular attention should be paid to accurate registration and preservation and security of the register.

 

Reviewing Attendance Levels:

Termly and annual attendance figures are analysed by the head teacher and reported to governors through the head teacher’s report. Accurate reports about school attendance are contained in the school’s SEF.

 

Celebrating Attendance

  • Attendance and punctuality are celebrated each week at Horizon.
  • Whole school attendance is displayed and updated weekly in the school corridor celebrating the overall class results.
  •   Weekly attendance is shared in the school newsletters.
  •   Class attendance is celebrated as part of the achievement assembly each week, where the winning class receives ‘Attendance Ted’ and ‘Punctuality Pup’ for their achievement that week. Any class with 100% attendance also receive a certificate to be displayed in class.
  • At the end of each term children who have achieved 100% attendance for the whole term receive a certificate a medal relative to the term: Bronze for 1 term, Silver for 2 and Gold for 3
  • A raffle draw for a gift voucher at the end of each term also takes place. All children with 100% attendance are entered into the draw.

 

Safeguarding:

If a child on the child protection register is absent, the school must inform social services the same day.

If children are expected to be absent for long periods of time due to medical conditions, referrals to the Medical Needs Unit can be made.

 

The Ofsted expected minimum attendance rate for primary school children is 96%. If pupils have more than 7 days absence from school during the academic year they will not be able to achieve this. We have a strong expectation at Horizon Primary Academy that our pupils aim for 100% attendance so that they have access to all learning opportunities. I am very pleased to note that most of our pupils have excellent attendance and punctuality.