The Government are currently directing Authorities throughout the country to develop a positive attendance culture in schools. In order to achieve this EWO’s (Educational Welfare officers) are empowered to visit schools and obtain attendance information on all children. If your child’s attendance falls below 90% there is a strong possibility that a letter may be sent to you from the EWO. This will occur even if you have informed the school of the reason for the absence. The purpose of the EWO is to support families whose children have poor attendance. It may be that a medical certificate will need to be obtained from your GP or hospital to verify any on-going medical issues to enable us to authorise them. A letter from a parent is not classed as a medical certification.
REQUESTING LEAVE DURING TERM TIME
The school has also been instructed not to authorise leave during term time. Any holiday leave will be classed as unauthorised. Unauthorised absence in these cases could incur a fixed penalty of £60 per parent.
I would also like to draw to your attention that a child will still be marked absent even if the absence is for a medical reason ie hospital, GP, Dentist etc and even if you have informed the school. Children arriving late due to a medical appointment will still be marked as late.
By informing the school of an intended absence the absence will be ‘authorised’ rather than ‘unauthorised’, so it remains very important that you continue to put in writing the reason for absence. Absent letters are still required even if you have told staff directly or by phone.
YOUR CHILD’S ATTENDANCE RECORD
In order for you to keep track of your child’s current attendance we will provided their attendance record at the end of every 1/2 term.
The Government are tightening up on procedures for attendance to which we have to conform to.
Ofsted will now class schools as ‘INADEQUATE’ if school attendance is poor, regardless of how good teaching, learning and attainment is.
Ofsted Handbook for Inspectors states that -
Personal development, behaviour and welfare are likely to be inadequate if …...the following applies.
· Attendance is consistently low for all pupils or groups of pupils and shows little sign of sustained improvement.
If a school is judged ‘inadequate’ in any area then the overall judgement will be ‘inadequate’.
Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their children attend school. These frequently asked questions may help you avoid falling foul of the law
Q Do I need to put in writing the reason for absence-Can’t I just phone school?
A All absences need to be supported by a written letter unless you have notified school through the school App.
Q Will my child receive an attendance mark if I write a letter giving a valid reason for absence?
A No! Any child not in school during registration will be marked absent.
However, a letter/ App notification will enable the absence to be marked as ‘AUTHORISED’
Any absence not covered by a letter /App notification will be classed as ‘UNAUTHORISED’
Q What happens if my child has ‘UNAUTHORISED ‘Absence.
A The school will ask for a written letter. However, if you fail to provide this the EWO may contact you and will require an explanation.
Q What happens if my child’s attendance falls below 90%
A The EWO will probably contact you to verify the absence and offer support to help the attendance improve.
Q What happens if attendance continues to be poor.
A The EWO will issue a penalty notice that could lead to a fine.
Attendance below 95% is regarded as a ‘Persistent Absence’
Q Am I entitled to take my child out of school for our annual family holiday?
A No! only under very special circumstances can a school authorise holidays during term time.
Q What happens if I take annual holiday without authorisation?
A The absence would be classed as ‘UNAUTHORISED’ and may incur a penalty notice and fine by the EWO.