ATTENDANCE & PUNCTUALITY POLICY - DOCUMENT DETAILS Authorised by Author Version Status Review Date - Robert Fitzroy Academy

 
ATTENDANCE & PUNCTUALITY
          POLICY

DOCUMENT DETAILS

Authorised by      Local Governing Body

Author             Katie Johnson

Version            3

Status             Reviewed

Review Date        January 2019

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Attendance
All children benefit from regular and punctual school attendance, which is essential to every
child’s academic, social and personal development. Being absent from school means a lost
learning opportunity. Similarly, children who arrive to school late miss out on an important part
of the school day; and disrupt not only their own, but also other pupils’ learning.

      Attendance              Description           Approx. days lost     Approx. weeks lost
                                                        per year              per year
       98-100%                 Excellent                  0-4                Less than 1
        96-98%                   Good                     5-9                    1-2
        95-96%               Satisfactory                10-13                   2-3
        90-95%              Unsatisfactory               14-18                   3-4
      Below 90%           Persistent Absence         More than 19            More than 4
                                                    Equivalent to 38
                                                        sessions

The staff at The Robert Fitzroy Academy is committed, in partnership with the parents/carers,
pupils, Governors and Local Education Authority; to ensure that all children reach their full
learning potential.

School Aims
• To raise pupil achievement.
• To improve pupils’ attendance to 96% or better.
• To reduce all absence-authorised and unauthorized.
• To reduce lateness.
• To clarify procedures and expectations for staff, parents and pupils regarding attendance
  and dealing with absence from school.
• To encourage a genuine ‘partnership’ with parents/carers.

Legal Framework
The Education Act 1996 states that:

• The parent/carer of every child of compulsory school age shall cause them to receive
  efficient full-time education suitable:
   a) to their age, ability and aptitude, and
   b) to any special educational needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school
       or otherwise.

• A child is of a compulsory school age when they reach five.

The Robert Fitzroy Academy is dedicated to complying with attendance laws set out by the legal
framework and has set out this attendance and punctuality policy accordingly.

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Expectations
Academy
The academy will:
• Create a school ethos that pupils want to be part of.
• Meet the legal requirements set out by the Government to ensure efficient and accurate
  registration of pupils.
• Ensure parents/carers are made aware of the schools attendance policy and their roles and
  responsibilities relating to attendance.
• Give a high priority to punctuality and attendance making immediate contact with
  parents/carers if a child fails to attend without a satisfactory explanation.
• Develop procedures that enable the school to identify, follow up and record unauthorised
  absences, patterns of absence and parent condoned absence with effective monitoring and
  intervention.
• Consistently record authorised and unauthorised absences within the guidance of the 1995
  education act.
• Develop a range of effective strategies to follow up intermittent and long-term absenteeism
  and promote good attendance.
• Encourage open communication channels between home and school.
• Develop procedures for the reintegration of long term absentees.
• Develop procedures leading to a formal referral to the EWO.
• Promote and celebrate good attendance and punctuality (including significant improvement)
  with certificates, letters home, etc.

Governing Body
As part of our whole-school approach to maintaining high attendance, the governing body will:
• Ensure that the importance of attendance is made clear by promoting the relevant school
   policies and guidance directed at parents and staff;
• Annually review the school’s attendance policy and ensure that all provisions are in place to
   allow school staff, parents/carers, and children to implement the policy effectively;
• Nominate or identify a member of the governing body who will take the lead role in
   monitoring attendance and punctuality as well as coordinating provision and policies for
   attendance;
• Ensure that all legislation regarding attendance is complied with and that up-to-date
   guidelines are communicated to parents/carers, children, and staff;
• Take time at governor’s meetings to review and discuss attendance issues that have arisen in
   order to stay on top of expected attendance targets for the year;
• Ensure that the school is implementing effective means of recording attendance and
   organising that data.

School Leadership Team
As part of our whole-school approach to maintaining high attendance, the school leadership
team will:

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• Be active in their approach to promoting good attendance to pupils and their parents/carers,
  which includes forming positive relationships with families;
• Ensure that the school’s teaching and learning experiences encourage regular attendance
  and that pupils are taught the value of high attendance for their own progression and
  achievement;
• Coordinate with the governing body to monitor the implementation of the attendance policy
  and its effectiveness, with an annual full policy review;
• Ensure that all staff are up to date with the school’s attendance policy and government
  legislation, and that staff are fully trained to recognise and deal with attendance issues;
• Ensure that government legislation on attendance is complied with and that they (the
  leadership team) are up to date with any legislation changes and how to implement them;
• Nominate or appoint a senior manager to take the responsibility of overseeing and
  monitoring attendance provision;
• Report to the governing body at least (if not more) every other term and the lead governor
  for attendance every term on attendance records, data and provision;
• Ensure that systems to record and report attendance data are in place and working
  effectively;
• Develop multi-agency relationships to help with poor attendance and support families who
  are having difficulties getting their child to attend;
• Document any specific interventions or steps taken to work with families to improve their
  child’s attendance in case of future legal proceedings;
• The SLT member with responsibility for attendance and punctuality will attend any relevant
  meetings to find out up to date local and national information

Teachers and Support Staff
As part of our whole-school approach to maintaining high attendance, the school’s teachers
and support staff will:
• Be active in their approach to promoting good attendance to pupils and their parents/carers,
   which includes forming positive relationships with families;
• Ensure that the school’s teaching and learning experiences encourage regular attendance
   and that pupils are taught the value of high attendance for their own personal progression
   and achievement;
• Ensure that they are fully aware and up to date with the school’s attendance policy and
   government legislation and that they will speak to another member of staff or seek support
   if they are unsure how to deal with an attendance issue;
• Ensure that they are following the correct systems for recording attendance and that
   attendance is taken twice daily;
• Contribute to strategy meetings and interventions where they are needed;
• Hold meetings individually (or with other professionals) to discuss attendance with
   parents/carers – both planned and unplanned.
• Share pupil’s attendance figures at parents events and on end of year reports

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Attendance Officer
As part of our whole-school approach to maintaining high attendance, the school has a
designated Attendance Officer (AO) who has responsibility for the monitoring of pupil
absences. The Attendance Officer will:
• Ensure attendance and lateness records are up to date;
• Ensure the appropriate attendance code is entered into the register (National Attendance
   Codes).
• Look into/chase reasons for absence daily;
• Meet regularly with the SLT member designated for Attendance and Punctuality.
• Meet with the Education Welfare Officer and Family Liaison Officer regarding
   children’s/families’ needs in order to offer support;
• Attend relevant meetings to find out up to date local and national information
• Track each child’s attendance and punctuality (alongside the SLT member designated for
   Attendance and Punctuality); following procedures for when absence and punctuality
   declines;
• Update the Education Welfare Officer with documents to aid legal proceedings as requested
• Communicate with parents regarding class and whole school attendance and punctuality
   figures via the school’s attendance news and the website
• Co-ordinate the school’s attendance and punctuality rewards including: points, badges,
   teddy bears, certificates and organising parent prizes
• Follow safeguarding procedures when no contact with families has been made on first day
   calling.

Family Liaison Officer
The family liaison officer will ensure:
• To build relationships with parents/carers to support them in ensuring attendance and
  punctuality remain above national averages
• To support members of staff with parent meetings (including the Education Welfare Officer)
• To meet with the Attendance Officer at least twice a term to discuss any concerns regarding
  families or children
• Follow up all referrals made by the school by contacting the families concerned

Education Welfare Officer
The school has a designated Education Welfare Officer who is responsible for working with the
school to ensure that all children are attending school regularly and on time. The EWO will:
• Have regular meetings with the SLT member designated for Attendance and Punctuality
• Liaise with the school regarding concerns about attendance percentages
• Collate evidence of continued persistent absences or lateness
• Monitor closely the attendance and punctuality of pupils who are persistently absent (below
   90%) and put appropriate actions/support in place
• Make home visits where necessary
• Follow up all referrals made by the school by contacting the families concerned

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• Follow the Local Authority policy in monitoring attendance and punctuality

At The Robert Fitzroy Academy we expect pupils to attend every day and to arrive on time so
that they do not miss registration and valuable learning time. We also expect parents/carers to
let staff know if there is any problem that might prevent them from attending school.

Parents and Carers
As part of our whole-school approach to maintaining high attendance, we request that
parent/carers:
• Ensure that where possible their children attend school on time, every day.
• Engage with their children’s education – support their learning and take an interest in what
   they have been doing at school;
• Promote the value of good education and the importance of regular school attendance at
   home;
• Encourage and support their children’s aspirations;
• Follow the set school procedure for reporting the absence of their child from school;
• Do everything they can to prevent unnecessary school absences, such as by arranging
   medical and dental appointments outside of school hours;
• Use the school as a support when they or their child are having difficulties, and work to form
   a positive relationship with the school so that there is easy communication when a problem
   arises;
• Keep the school informed of any circumstances which may affect their child’s attendance;
• Enforce a regular routine at home in terms of homework, bedtime, etc. so that the child is
   used to consistency and the school day becomes part of that routine. It is vital that the child
   receives the same message at home as they do at school about the importance of
   attendance;
• Do not take their children out of school during term time. Parents/carers may request term
   time leave in writing, using the appropriate form, but the Headteacher will authorise time
   off in only the most exceptional circumstances.
• Sign the Home School Agreement agreeing to the above.

Pupils
As part of our whole-school approach to maintaining high attendance, we request that pupils:
• Be aware of the school’s attendance policy and when they are required to attend. This will
   be communicated to them through the school staff, parents/carers, and the school
   timetable;
• Speak to their class teacher or another member of staff if they are experiencing any
   difficulties at school or at home which may impact on their attendance;
• Be ready to learn, with the appropriate learning tools required and on time for all classes.
• Follow the correct set school procedure if they arrive late. Pupils are held responsible for
   this and it is made clear to all pupils what this procedure is by their class teachers. This will

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help the school to monitor attendance and keep accurate records for the child’s individual
   attendance, and is also vital for health and safety in the event of a school evacuation.

Registration Procedures
The Academy has a statutory responsibility to record and monitor the punctuality and
attendance of pupils for both the morning and afternoon sessions. A register of attendance has
to be taken once at the start of the morning session and once during the afternoon session. The
register has to record whether a pupil is present, engaged in an approved educational activity
offsite or absent. If a pupil is absent, the register must record whether the absence was
authorised or unauthorised.

The registers will be completed by the class teacher at 8.50am. This is done electronically. If a
pupil is not present when his/her name is called, an absence is recorded. If the child then
arrives after registration, the time of arrival is noted and the child can be credited with an (L)
attendance and counted as present.

The school register closes at 9.05am. If a student arrives after the close of the register, they are
given an attendance mark (U) for health and safety reasons, but are regarded in law as being
absent until a reason is provided.

If a child persistently attends schools after the close of the register consideration will be given
to (a) the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice in the sum of £60.00 or (b) a referral to our EWO for a
prosecution. Lateness not only affects the learning of the student in question, but also affects
the learning of others.

Absence
Contact on the first day of absence is the central part of our attendance policy.

A text is sent to all parents/carers reminding them that an unauthorised absence has been
recorded in relation to their child and that they must explain this absence. This is done before
10am to make parents aware that their child has not arrived at school.

Unauthorised absences are followed-up by a telephone call.

It is the responsibility of the Headteacher to authorise any child’s absence from school.
Therefore, absences will be treated as unauthorised until the school is satisfied that I should be
authorised. Parents/carers cannot authorise absences and should be aware that while calling
the school or providing a note for an absence complies with safeguarding procedures, it does
not automatically mean an absence will be authorised.

An “authorised” absence will be considered if the parents/carers provide an acceptable
explanation by telephone, email, letter or in person. The specific reason for an absence will be

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recorded on the on-line register alongside the child’s name (for example, “unwell” is not
specific enough).

Absences that may be authorised, providing the school is satisfied with the reason given
includes:
• Illness - You may be required to provide medical evidence if your child/ren are absent and/or
   ill frequently; or for long periods of time.
• Medical, doctor, dentist, optician, hospital appointment, psychologist - These appointments
   are not absences unless the child misses the whole session. A child who registers as normal
   and is then collected for an appointment will be credited as having attended for the whole
   session. If however the appointment is at the beginning of the day or afternoon and the child
   misses registration, then providing the parent has provided an appointment card an
   authorised absence will be recorded.
• Excluded by school
• Religious Observance - must be supported by a letter from the parent/carer and needs to be
   authorised by the Academy.
• Special circumstances for absence will be considered at the discretion of the Headteacher
   (e.g. death in the family, moving house, etc.) for families in exceptional circumstances of
   need.

The following reasons are examples of absence that will not be authorised:
• Persistent nonspecific illness e.g. poorly/unwell
• Absence of siblings if one child is ill, or caring for younger siblings or other relatives
• Attending appointments with relatives
• Oversleeping
• Inadequate clothing/uniform
• Confusion over school dates
• Activities such as shopping, visits to relatives, birthday celebrations
• Holidays which should be arranged outside of term times

The Attendance Officer and Education Welfare Officer will review the registers informally on a
week basis looking for persistent absences and trends. If a child is developing a pattern of
lateness, a letter will be sent to parents/carers and the Academy may invite the parents/carers
in to discuss what support can be offered. If the parents/carers fail to respond to the
Academy’s requests to improve a pupil’s lateness, the Academy will refer the matter to
Education Welfare Officer.

The Education Welfare Officer will formally review the registers each week in order to:
• To pick up patterns of absence and lateness
• To ensure procedures are being followed
• To monitor the major causes of unauthorised absence
• To monitor the percentages of authorised and unauthorised attendance
• To investigate and pupils whose attendance is below 90% over a reasonable period of time

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• To provide interventions/support for the families of pupils whose attendance is below 90%
  (alongside the family liaison officer)

The Robert Fitzroy Academy recognises that poor attendance can be an indication of child
protection concerns therefore special attention is paid to children identified within the
Academy to be a child protection risk. Obtaining a clear and precise reason for any absence is
an important element of identifying child protection concerns. If a child who is on the child
protection register is absent for two days then Social Care will be notified.

Persistent Absence (PA)
A pupil becomes a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the
school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any
child’s educational prospects and we need parents’ fullest support and co-operation to tackle
this.

We monitor all absence thoroughly. Any case that is seen to have reached the PA mark or is at
risk of moving towards that mark is given priority and parents will be informed of this
immediately.

Term Time Leave
Taking holidays during term-time is not acceptable. On the rare occasions when a request for a
child to be absent from school because of important/serious family matters (e.g. a funeral) is
authorised, the child will be set a programme of work to complete whilst they are away which
will be marked upon their return. Requests for absence during term-time must be put in
writing to the Headteacher. If parents decide to take their child out of school during term-time
without permission and for over 10 days then the Academy may seek advice from the EWO
regarding taking the pupil off roll.

We will not agree any absence during term time under the following circumstances:
• Immediately before and during assessment periods (SATS) for year 2/6 pupils
• Immediately before and during assessment periods (phonics screening check) for year 1
  pupils
• When a pupil’s attendance record already includes any level of unauthorised absence
• Any period of leave taken without the agreement of the school (this will be classed as
  unauthorised and may attract sanctions such as a Fixed Penalty Notice).

Supporting evidence
Please note that where a request is made and is authorised, it will only be on the understanding
that the following evidence will be requested and is provided:
• Any required trip abroad – proof of flight details, including a proposed date of return. If
   flights have to be changed by an airline which directly affect the return date, then proof of
   this will also be required.
• Funeral – a copy of an order of service.

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• Attendance at an event – proof of this, either a ticket or programme that includes a list of
  attendees.

The Head Teacher on behalf of the Governing Body, will only authorise leave in exceptional
circumstances, if an attendance rate of 96% or above has been achieved in the previous 12
months. Only one period of leave will be granted in any school year and this will generally not
exceed 10 days. If leave is taken without authority then consideration will be given to issuing a
Fixed Penalty Notice in the sum of £60.00 to each parent.

Supporting Non-Attendance
• Where persistent non-attendance exists and a child’s percentage attendance falls below
  95%, a letter will be sent to parents/carers. This informs parents of their child’s current
  attendance % and explains that they will be closely monitored to ensure this increases and is
  in line with our school target.
• If there is persistent absence that is authorised through sickness and that absence is
  affecting the pupil’s progress the school will invite the parents/carers into the Academy to
  discuss what support can be offered.
• The Academy will investigate the pupil’s circumstances and identify any school based
  difficulties that may be affecting the child’s attendance, e.g. bullying, or to investigate and
  establish if inappropriate parenting is the reason. Support may be offered to the
  parent/carer if this is the case.
• If parents fail to respond to the Academy’s requests to discuss a pupil’s absence the
  Academy will refer the matter to EWO.
• If the Academy has not received an explanation for an absence even though the child has
  now returned, the Academy will continue to follow-up the matter by telephone or letter as
  appropriate. If no explanation is forthcoming or the explanation given is not considered to
  be acceptable, the absence will be recorded in the register as “unauthorised”. This may
  result in the matter being referred to the EWS.
• If there is no contact or explanation on the first day of absence and the child continues to be
  absent for a further 2 days without contact with, or notification from, the parents, the
  Academy will refer the matter to the EWO as this may be a Child Protection issue.
• If a child fails to return on the agreed day (the day the Academy has agreed with the
  parents/carer in light of the nature child’s illness), the office will contact the parent/carer to
  find out the continued reason for absence. If no explanation is forthcoming or the
  explanation given is not considered to be acceptable, the absence will be recorded in the
  register as “unauthorised”. This may result in the matter being referred to the EWS.
• Every half term, class teachers identify two case study children whose attendance they will
  track and monitor closely. An initial meeting will take place with parents in order to raise the
  concerns with regards to their child’s attendance. Parents have the opportunity to share any
  reasons which may be impacting on their attendance and together with the class teacher
  plan subsequent actions for the half term.

Punctuality

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The registers will be completed by the class teacher between 8.50am and 9:00am. This is done
electronically. If a pupil is not present when his/her name is called, an absence is recorded. If
the child arrives after the time set aside for registration, the time of arrival is noted and the
child can be credited with an (L) attendance and counted as present.

The school register closes at 9.05am. If a student arrives after the close of the register, they are
given an attendance mark (U) for health and safety reasons, but are regarded in law as being
absent until a reason is provided.

Being frequently late for school adds up to lost learning:
• Arriving 5 minutes late every day adds up to over 3 days lost each year.
• Arriving 15 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 2 weeks a year.
• Arriving 30 minutes late every day is the same as being absent for 19 days a year.

19 days lost a year through being late = 90% attendance = Persistent Absence.

Strategies to support improving punctuality
Night time routines
              • Encourage children to pack their school bag before going to bed, ready for the
                 next day.
              • Getting to bed earlier.
              • Setting a time for a television, iPad, computer, mobile phone and other
                 devices to be turned off.

Morning routines
             • Setting the alarm for a time that allows all morning routines to be carried out
                without making them late for school.
             • Having breakfast before leaving home, so there is no need to call in at the
                shop on the way to school.
             • Encourage them to leave home at least five minutes earlier than they think
                they needs to.
             • Meeting a reliable friend to walk to school with.
             • Coming to school for breakfast club if available.
Rewarding Good Attendance and Punctuality
To encourage good attendance and punctuality, a number of key strategies have been put in
place:
    • Points mean prizes – each week classes collect points based on their attendance figures
       which they can cash in for a range of different prizes.
    • Pupils who have 100% attendance at the end of every term are awarded with a
       certificate and book from our ‘Book Shop’.
    • At the end of the year bronze (96-97%), silver (97-98%) and gold (100%) attendance
       certificates/badges are awarded to pupils. At the start of the new academic year an

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attendance trip takes place for those children who had 100% attendance for the
          pervious academic year.
   •      Attendance figures for the week are displayed in the classroom and shared with parents
          in our weekly newsletter and via Twitter.
   •      A raffle will be held for parents/carers of pupils whose attendance was at or above 96%
          for the academic year. Prizes may include a restaurant or day out voucher.

Signed:

Date:

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