1. Purpose

1.1 At Park Community School we aim to ensure that all children receive a full-time education, which maximises opportunities for each child to realise his or her true potential.

1.2 We will provide a welcoming, loving environment where we will support all children to thrive. All Park staff will work with children to and families to ensure each child attends school regularly and punctually. We aim to have 95% or better attendance. Punctuality is also a priority for Park and we will work to ensure that 97% of children arrive on time and ready to learn each day.

1.3 To meet these objectives, Park Community School will establish effective systems to:

  • Communicate with children, their parents and carers and appropriate agencies to provide mutual information, advice and support.
  • Praise, incentivise and reward the efforts that children and their parents and carers make to improve their attendance and timekeeping.
  • Work with those parents and carers whose children have low attendance and punctuality to identify strategies to improve.

2. Statutory Duties

2.1 The Education Act 1996 requires parents and carers to ensure their children receive full time education by regular attendance at a school or by other arrangements. Parents and carers have the responsibility for making sure their children attend school and on time.

2.2 Park Community School is responsible for recording child attendance twice a day, once at the start of the morning sessions and once during the afternoon sessions.

3. Aims

  • To promote excellent attendance and punctuality through creative means.
  • To ensure the overall percentage of children’s attendance is 95%.
  • To make attendance and punctuality a priority for all those associated with Park Community School including children, parents and carers, teachers, support staff 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 and children.
  • To develop a systematic approach to gathering and analysing attendance related data.
  • To further develop positive and consistent communication between home and school.
  • To implement a system of rewards and sanctions.
  • To work in an effective partnership with the Attendance and Engagement Service and with other services and agencies.

4. Roles and responsibilities regarding attendance

4.1 Children

4.1.1 Children should arrive at Park Community School ready to learn on time.

4.2 Parents

4.2.1 It is a legal responsibility of parents/carers to ensure that their children attend Park Community School. The school expects parents/carers to ensure their child attends every day, on time and ready to learn.

4.2.2 Parents/carers are expected to know what absences are acceptable, (see Appendix 1). Any absence will only be authorised at the discretion of the Executive Principal. Parents should be aware of the legal consequences of non-attendance, (see Appendix 2).

4.2.3 Parents/carers should be aware that poor punctuality may result in an unauthorised absence being recorded which could lead to intervention by the Attendance and Engagement Service.

4.2.4 Parents/carers are asked to inform Park Community School of any barriers to their child attending school.

4.2.5 Park Community School asks that all parents/carers inform the Executive Principal (i.e., the school office) on their child’s first day of absence. If contact is not before the child returns to school, a note should be provided. Medical evidence may be requested by the school if non-attendance is due to illness.

4.3 Staff Roles and Responsibilities

4.3.1 Park Community School expects all staff to support the regular attendance of their children by addressing any barriers that may prevent their good attendance.

4.4 Role of the Class teacher

4.4.1 It is the responsibility of all class teachers at Park Community School to formally take their class register accurately and within five minutes of the start of the morning and afternoon sessions. Children’s absence letters must be passed, promptly, to the school office.

4.4.2 Teachers are expected to act on attendance data provided by the Attendance Officer to monitor the attendance of their children and report any concerns to the Assistant Principal and parents.

4.4.3 Park Community Schools expects all class teachers to encourage punctuality through the appropriate positive meeting and greeting of children. All lateness to sessions must be recorded in the register and challenged appropriately. Class teachers should support children who are returning to Park following an absence by ensuring that adequate resources are provided for their positive re-integration.

4.4.4 Class teachers are expected to monitor their class attendance and identify patterns and report any concerns to the Assistant Principal.

4.5 Role of the Senior Leadership Team

4.5.1 Attendance should appear as an item on the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) meeting agendas as and when this is necessary and the link between attendance and attainment should be promoted. Assessment data will be analysed according to pupils above and below 90% attendance (the current RaiseOnline descriptor for low attendance).

4.5.2 It is the responsibility of the SLT to have an overview of attendance within their related groups and act upon any concerns raised by class teachers. SLT will receive, fortnightly from the Attendance Officer, analysed data identifying attendance concerns.

4.6 Role of the Attendance Officer

4.6.1 It is the responsibility of the School’s Attendance Officer to maintain the day to day running of attendance procedures. When no explanation for making contact with parents/carers to confirm the nature of the absence.

4.6.2 The Attendance Officer should analyse attendance data to identify any patterns of concern and liaise with the relevant parties, e.g., Class Teacher, Assistant Principal or Executive Principal. The Attendance Officer will support the school in raising the profile of attendance through the use of notice boards and in other aspects of family and community development.

4.6.3 The Executive Principal is the named Attendance Office for Park Community School until the appointment of the Family Community Liaison.

4.7 Role of the Assistant Principal (Community Development and Inclusion)

4.7.1 It is the responsibility of the Assistant Principal to oversee the school’s attendance strategy, policy and practice (see Appendix 4). In collaboration with the SLT, the Assistant Principal will monitor, evaluate and review the policy and its impact annually.

4.7.2 Working with the Family Community Liaison, the Assistant Principal will record all attendance related action in the school’s termly report for SLT review. She or he will also produce an annual report to Local Academy Board on matters of attendance.

4.7.3 The Assistant Principal will meet with parents and carers, class teachers, the Family Community Liaison and AEO to address persistent attendance issues, and monitor the progress made towards the meeting of agreed attendance targets.

4.8 Role of the Governing Body

4.8.1 Local Academy Board will monitor and evaluate attendance and ensure the policy is carried out.

4.9 Role of the Chapel St Community Schools Trust

4.9.1 The Trust’s Board of Directors will be ultimately responsible for overall policy setting and therefore has ultimate responsibility for attendance and punctuality at Park Community School.

4.10 Role of the Attendance and Engagement Officer (AEO)

4.10.1 Park Community School will seek to work with a Local Authority Attendance and Engagement Officer in cases where appropriate.

5. Punctuality

5.1 Every child is expected to be at school by the time teachers pick up their children on the playground at 8.25 am to walk them to their classroom. 8.30 am is Registration. Class teachers are expected to be in their teaching spaces for 8.00 am. Children are encouraged to be on the playground from 8.15 am onwards.

5.2 A record of latecomers and reason for lateness will be kept and discussed weekly by the Assistant Principal and Family and Community Liaison.

5.3 The administrator will record lateness in SIMS. A letter will be sent home to inform parents if a child is late more than once per term.

6. Encouraging Excellent Attendance

6.1 Park Community School proactively encourages children to come to school both through specific initiatives, such as our breakfast club, ensuring that our educational offer is engaging to motivate children to want to attend.

6.2 Our guiding principles for the curriculum include ensuring children have a role in planning what they want to learn with topics to be based on children’s interests and units of work will incorporate ‘hands-on’ learning. This focus on developing a love of learning will be an aim of the school, for the staff as much as the children.

6.3 Individual and class achievement will be celebrated using a variety of activities and strategies, which we will continually be developing. In addition to verbal praise, an example of celebrating individual achievement includes writing with the child a note home praising persistence in a lesson, improved times table, or even demonstrating great behaviour for learning in a time interval.

7. Definitions

7.1 Authorised and unauthorised absence

7.1.1 It is the Executive Principal’s decision whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised.

7.1.2 A telephone call on the first day of absence followed by a letter on return from parents/carers does not in itself authorise an absence; only Park Community School’s acceptance of the explanation authorises the absence. The following examples should clarify:

7.2 Authorised Absence

  • Sickness
  • Unavoidable medical/dental appointment (half day maximum)
  • Days of religious observance such as main religious days of Eid (agreed with the Executive Principal beforehand)
  • Exceptional family circumstances, such as bereavement
  • Going to other schools for visits, interviews or examination

7.3 Unauthorised Absence

  • Looking after brothers, sisters and others
  • Shopping
  • Celebrating a birthday
  • Sleeping in
  • One child is ill, so all are kept off
  • Minor ailments such as tummy ache or headache
  • Because it is the end of the week or the term

7.4 Children arriving after the close of registration without a valid reason risk that session being recorded as unauthorised.

7.5 Holidays in term time will not be authorised. As of September 2013, government regulations state that Headteachers/Principals may not grant any leave of absence during term time. If children are taken out of school without permission, their absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents will be liable for prosecution.

8. Exceptional Circumstances

8.1 ‘Exceptional circumstances’ will be interpreted as:
… being of unique and significant emotional, educational or spiritual value to the child which outweighs the loss of teaching time.

A parent or grandparent is seriously/terminally ill and the holiday is likely to be the last such holiday (e.g., close relative).

A family holiday that needs to be taken during term time due to either parent being allocated leave by their employee at this time and no flexibility of leave is allowed for . (NB in these circumstances additional evidence will be sought from the parent in the form of an official document from their employer)

There has recently been a death or other significant trauma in the family and it is felt that an immediate holiday might help the child concerned better deal with the situation.

9. The legal consequences of non-attendance

9.1 Legal proceedings and Penalty Notices have been introduced to try and ensure the regular attendance of children in education.

10. Legal Proceedings

10.1 Legal proceedings will be considered after the school and AEO have tried to engage with, and offer support to, a family of a child who has attendance issues.

10.2 If the poor/non-attendance of a child is not resolved, Park Community School may decide to take legal action against the parents or responsible adult of the child. If found guilty by a Magistrate a parent/responsible adult could be fined up to £1,000, or a Parenting Order could be issued, which lasts for up to a year.

11. Penalty Notices

11.1 Park Community School can request the Attendance and Engagement Service issue a notice for a child who has a minimum of five days, or ten sessions, unauthorised absence (see definitions above). A warning letter is sent to the family home and if there are no more unauthorised absences in the next 15 school days, no further action will be taken.
11.2 If there are further unauthorised absences in this period then a Penalty Notice will be issued.

12. Cost of Notice

12.1 If paid within 28 days, the penalty is £50. If paid after 28 days, but within 42 days, the penalty is £100.

12.2 If the Penalty Notice is not paid, prosecution through the courts will be initiated.

Escalation of Interventions:

escalation of interventions