Turnditch Primary School is extremely committed to helping children make the best possible progress with their education. To do this, they need to attend school regularly and punctually. It is the parent’s legal responsibility to ensure that this happens. It is recognised that for illness or other exceptional reasons, children may occasionally have to be absent from school, but it needs to be made clear that in the interests of their education, they should only be kept off school if it is essential.
Keeping School Informed
It is considered reasonable that parents or guardians should be expected to inform the school if a child is absent. This should be done by telephoning the school, before school starts if possible. The school reserves the right to request written confirmation of any absence upon the pupil’s return. If it is known in advance that the child is going to be absent, it would be helpful if the class teacher could be notified beforehand.
Authorised absences are understood to be one of the following:
- Genuine sickness for up to 10 days (continuous or intermittent), after which the school may contact parents to discuss the situation if this has not already been done.
- “Unavoidable causes”, which covers unexpected crises in the child’s circumstances e.g. fire, sudden death of relatives, major domestic upsets, severe weather conditions which make travel impossible.
- Religious observance, which will cover involvement in the significant festivals of their faith.
- School beyond walking distance (i.e. 2 miles) and no transport provided.
- Advance permission of the school for:
- Approved public performance
- Exceptional family reasons (e.g. hospital visits, funeral of close relative)
- Interview at another school
Unauthorised absences are understood to be those which could:
- Jeopardise a child’s educational welfare
- Be done outside school hours. This would include non-essential events such as shopping or having a haircut and also any non-urgent medical appointments such as eye-checks or dental check-ups that could be made out of school hours.
A parental note or other notification does not in itself provide a justification for absence. Obviously, the school will treat each case individually, and will be sympathetic to lateness or absence due to ‘unavoidable causes’, however such reasons as shopping, haircuts, child minding will not be authorised. Absences of pupils without a valid reason will all be treated as unauthorised.
If the school feels that the reason for absence does not comply with the standard criteria for authorised absence, it will be recorded in the register as unauthorised, with an explanation to parents.
The school reserves the right to follow up any unauthorised absence by contacting the Educational Welfare Service. This could result in visits from the Educational Welfare Officer and further action by the local authority.
Lateness after school closes the register (i.e. one hour into the session) will be regarded as ‘unauthorised’ absence. The school will contact the home at this time to inform parents that the child is not at school.
All individual absences will be placed on the pupil’s yearly report, with spaces for authorised and unauthorised absence. The school’s figures for unauthorised absences for each year group will be published annually in the School Profile.
Where a child falls below the threshold of 95% attendance in any 2 term period (old full term) a letter will be sent to parents informing them of this. Attendance of 95% for the whole year is an additional 10 days absence of a child’s educational provision.