At Outwood Academy Freeston, excellent attendance and punctuality is our aim for every child. We set an attendance target of 100% as the minimum that we expect for all students.
Evidence shows that those children who attend school regularly make better progress academically and socially. To help a child achieve full attendance, parents and carers play a critical role in helping us promote good attitudes towards attendance.
Together, it is important we ensure that children are present at every opportunity, arriving on time, and not being taken out of the academy without authorisation. A child's attendance is monitored closely, and we will follow up unexplained absences with parents or carers.
Where a child's attendance record reaches a concerning level, we will contact the child's parents or carers to discuss ways in which we can support all parties to help improve the child's attendance.
If a child is too ill to attend School, it is important that the child's parents or carers contact us as soon as possible by telephone on 01924 302560We ask you contact us each day that your child is absent.
We ask that a child's routine medical and other appointments are made out of school time, where possible.
We understand that this is not always possible though and we ask that we are notified in advance. This can be done by telephone, email or a note provided from home or appointment letter/ card to confirm the appointment.
Where possible, the child should attend School before the appointment and return to lessons afterwards.
Amendments came into force in September 2013 and the Education (Pupil Registration)(England) Regulations 2006 now state that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
There is a common misconception that any child is allowed to take 10 days' holiday per year. This is not true and the government strongly urges parents or carers to avoid taking a child out of school for family holidays as this will disrupt their education.
Please note that absence will not be authorised for reasons such as shopping for uniform, birthdays, day trips, weekends away etc.
Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence.
Requests should be made in writing to the attendance team well in advance by parents or carers.
Requests for absence for reasons such as compassionate leave, special family events, sporting or musical competitions, etc. should be made in the same way.
All requests are considered individually, taking into account the circumstances of the request. Other factors will be taken into account, such as:
We will notify parents of our decision either by telephone or in writing.
Where a parental request has been refused, and parents continue to take their child out of school, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised.
We reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
We take our safeguarding responsibility seriously and calls are made daily to the contact numbers of a child's parents or carers if the child is absent, and we have received no reason for absence.
We make calls on a daily basis, even where a child has been absent due to illness on previous days. We cannot assume that a child is still ill if we have not been notified and we would not wish to put a child at risk by failing to contact their parents or carers.
The parents or carers of a child have a legal duty to make sure that child attends school regularly. We can make a referral to the local authority where parents or carers are failing this legal duty.
Persistent Absence is a serious problem for children, as much of the work children miss when they are off school is never made up, leaving them at a considerable disadvantage.
A child will be defined as a 'Persistent Absentee' if they miss 10% or more of school.
The local authority has the power to enforce school attendance where this becomes problematic, including the power to prosecute parents/carers who fail to ensure a child's regular attendance at school. For reference, if found guilty parents or carers could be fined up to £2500 and/or imprisoned for three months.
It is important for parents and carers to note that the government has also strengthened schools' ability to respond by increasing Fixed Penalty Notices to £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 21 and 28 days. These are an alternative to prosecution of parents or carers for failing to ensure a child attends school regularly. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court.
Where a child's attendance continues to fall despite initial contact with the child's parents or carers and the use of appropriate strategies to help improve attendance, we may consider the use of the Fast Track to Attendance process.
The Fast Track Process is a positive measure to support a child's parents or carers to fulfil their legal responsibility to ensure the regular attendance of their child.
A Fast Track Panel meeting will be held and the parents or carers and the child (if appropriate) will be invited to attend.
An action plan will be drawn up at this meeting and the parents or carers will be sent a letter explaining the outcome of the meeting and possible consequences.
Following a monitoring period a review will be held and if insufficient improvement is made, we as an academy will make a decision on the next steps. This could include the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice, referral to the Magistrates Court for prosecution or, in some cases, the Fast Track process may be extended for a further period of time.