Absence

Attendance

Children’s progress in school and success as learners are affected if they are absent so we work closely with families to ensure attendance is as high as possible. The Principal and governors set a target of 96% attendance for the school and monitor this closely for every child.

We ask that parents book appointments for the dentist and doctor wherever possible at times outside the school day. If you have no alternative, please bring your appointment card to school.

It is very unlikely that a request for an absence due to holiday in term time would be authorised. Unauthorised absences of 10 or more sessions must be reported to the Education Welfare Officer. They may issue a fine (£60 per child, per parent).  Absence from school without request is counted as unauthorised absence.

Please help the school maintain our record by ensuring your child is in school on time and avoiding unnecessary absences.

Illness – If your child is ill, please call the school office on 01488 71479  by 9.15am on the morning of their first absence to let us know, and each subsequent day. Once your child returns to school, please let us know in writing (email is fine) the reason for their absence. We are required to keep a record.

Sickness & diarrhoea – If your child has vomited, they should not return to school until 48 hours after their last bout of sickness. This is in line with NHS recommendations and helps prevent the spread of infections through the school community.

Other childhood illnesses: There is a useful document on the Public Health England  website which outlines the number of days a child should be absent for due to illnesses such as Scarlet Fever, Chicken Pox and Impetigo here

Absence requests for a session/particular event – The school’s policy is to follow the West Berks  guidance regarding holidays in term time. Mrs Perkins does not authorise requests for absence unless they are for unavoidable appointments, or for educational purposes such as music/ballet exams or arranged activities off site. An absence request form is available from the school office.

Absence requests for holidays – West Berkshire Council’s statement regarding penalty notices for holidays taken in term time states, that if 10 or more school sessions (either continuous or aggregated) are taken for unauthorised holiday within a period of six months then the Education Welfare Service will issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. If a holiday is taken without informing the school, it is automatically reported to the EWS as unauthorised, however many days are taken. If exceptional circumstances appear to warrant a holiday in term time then applications should be made to the Principal on the Holiday Request form) for consideration.

Why is it important for children to attend school regularly?

Having a good education will help to give your child the best possible start in life. Being on time is also vital. Arriving late at school can be very disruptive for your child, the teacher, and the other children in the class. It is not only the academic work; missing out on the social side of school life, especially at primary school, can affect children’s ability to make and keep friendships, a vital part of growing up.

What about authorised absences?

Of course there may be times when your child has to miss school because she or he is ill. This is to be expected and for the odd day off sick you should follow the school’s procedures for notifying illness.

What is unauthorised absence from school?

Only the Principal can authorise a pupil’s absence from school. Unauthorised absence is when a pupil is absent from school when they should have been in school, or school have not been given a reason for the absence. Principals follow the Department of Education guidance when deciding whether absence is authorised or not – www.education.gov.uk.

Education Welfare Service: 01635 42400, www.westberks.gov.uk

What happens if my child does not attend school regularly?

Your child’s school is responsible by law for reporting poor attendance to the Local Authority. If your child is not attending school regularly, an Education Welfare Officer may visit or write to you. Education Welfare Officers work with parents to address their child’s attendance difficulties. In West Berkshire the Education Welfare Service has the duty to consider legal action regarding unsatisfactory school attendance. It is the duty of a parent of a child of compulsory school age to secure his/her education by regular attendance at school or otherwise. If a parent fails to fulfil this duty imposed by the Education Act 1996, such a person commits a criminal offence.

The Local Education Authority has a duty to consider legal action against parents where their children have unauthorised absence from school. Prosecution in the Magistrate’s Court may be pursued, or the case could be put before the Family Proceedings Court where Education Supervisor Order maybe imposed or both. The maximum financial penalty for a parent of a child of compulsory school age under the Education Act 1996 is currently £2,500. Imprisonment for up to 3 months can also be considered. Some parents may be trying but finding it hard to get their children to attend school. The Education Welfare Service can be contacted during office hours for advice on school attendance.

Education Welfare Service 01635 42400