This policy applies to the Main School, EYFS and the Westward Out of School Care provision
At Westward School, we see education as a partnership between the family and the school.
All children, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to a full time education which is suitable for their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have.
A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect.
Regular attendance at school is essential to ensure uninterrupted progress and to enable children to extend their potential.
The attendance pattern for all children at Westward is monitored weekly by the Headteacher and office staff, with the school seeking to work actively with parents to ensure a regular pattern is maintained.
At Westward we have appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures in place to deal with children who go missing from education, especially on repeat occasions.
All staff are alert to the signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns.
All pupils are required to be in school by the time the bell rings in the playground at 8.45am.
The school day ends at 3.30pm (3.00pm for Nursery, 3.15pm for Reception and 3.20pm for Years 1 & 2), although many pupils remain later to take part in extra-curricular activities under the supervision of a member of staff. Pupils are normally expected to leave by 6pm.
Pupils are not allowed to leave the site during the school day, unless accompanied by a member of staff, for a trip or sporting fixture, the dates of which will be notified to parents in advance.
Non-attendance is an important issue that is treated seriously. However each case is different and the school acknowledges that no one standard response will be appropriate in every case.
Consideration is given to all the factors affecting attendance before deciding what intervention strategy to apply.
In every case, early intervention is essential to prevent the problem from worsening. It is essential that parents keep the school informed of any matters that may affect their child’s attendance; they are reminded of this duty in the Home School Agreement.
We send parents the term dates in advance so they can arrange their holidays without disrupting their child’s education.
Throughout this policy the term ‘parent’ represents one parent, both parents, or carer with whom the child resides.
Parents are informed of their responsibility to ensure their children attend regularly in the Home School Agreement which they sign every term.
Punctuality is also stressed as lateness impacts on learning not only for the individual, but the class as a whole.
Parents have a legal obligation to ensure their child/ren receive a full time education. For the Lower School, full time means 21 hours. For the Upper School children, full time means 23.5 hours per week.
This is only achieved by regular attendance.
If your child is absent from school, please email or telephone the school before 8.45am on the first day of absence.
Parents must give the school a reason for absence at the earliest opportunity.
If parents have not made contact on the first day by 10.15am to explain an absence the school will attempt to make contact via the following methods:
- Firstly by telephone using the parental contact numbers supplied
- Then by email
- If no contact is made then the two emergency phone numbers held on file for the child will be called.
- If there is still no contact made then our safeguarding procedures will be followed; A police welfare check will be requested and contact will be made with Surrey Children's Services.
Every school is required by law to maintain two separate registers for its pupils:
- An admissions register, known as the “School Roll”, and
- An attendance register
Where school attendance problems occur, the school will endeavour to work with parents in the interests of the child to achieve a resolution.
The office staff hold the responsibility of keeping the Admissions Register up to date.
The name of the pupil will be included in the register from the beginning of the first day on which the school has agreed, or has been notified, that the pupil will attend the school.
For most pupils this will be the first day of the school year.
The School will inform the Local Authority within five days of registering a new pupil.
For each pupil the admission register will contain:
- i) name in full;
- ii) sex;
iii) name and address of every person known to the proprietor to be a parent of the pupil (and an indication of the parent with whom the pupil normally resides and which parent holds parental responsibility as defined by Section 3 Children Act 1989);
(address of any new or additional places of residence of the child, the full name of the parent with whom the child will normally live in future and the date from which the child will normally live there will be added if required.)
- iv) at least one telephone number at which the parent can be contacted in an emergency;
- v) day, month and year of birth;
- vi) name and address of the school last attended, if any;
vii) day, month and year of admission or re-admission to the school;
viii) expected start date;
(If a child does not arrive on the expected start date then the Local Authority will be contacted at the earliest opportunity.)
Westward School has a legal duty to report the following attendance issues to the local authority.
The local authority will be informed when a child is to be deleted from the school roll in the following circumstances;
When a child ceases to attend and is to be home educated; has moved out of the area; has been certified as medically unable to continue attending; is detained under a court order; or has been permanently excluded.
When a child is deleted from the school roll at both non transition and transition times the name of the pupil's new school and expected start date will be added to the admissions register.
This information will also be sent via a secure system to the local authority to ensure all parties are aware of pupil's whereabouts.
Where a pupil is registered at more than one school, his /her name may only be deleted from the admissions register of a school which he/she has ceased to attend where the proprietor of any or every other school at which the pupil is registered gives his/her consent, (except where the pupil has died, been permanently excluded or of no fixed abode).
Deleting a pupil's name from the admissions register on the ground that he/she has not returned for 10 days after an authorised absence, is not believed to be unwell, and neither the school nor the local authority knows where the child is. The school and local authority will work cooperatively to investigate.
The period after which a pupil's name may be deleted from the admissions register on the ground that the pupil has been continuously absent without authorisation is 20 school days and additionally the proprietor must not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend school by reason of sickness or unavoidable cause.
The name of the pupil who is detained in pursuance of a final court order of recall may now only be deleted from the register where that order is for a period of not less that four months and where the Proprietor does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil will return to school at the end of that period.
It is a statutory duty for class teachers to call and maintain accurate registers; these are legal documents, and may be called for as evidence by the court. Class teachers are legally responsible for marking their class attendance registers twice daily at the start of the morning and afternoon session.
It must show whether the pupil is;
- i) present;
- ii) absent;
iii) attending an approved educational activity outside school;
- iv) unable to attend through exceptional circumstances;
- v) taking authorised absence;
- vi) taking unauthorised
The following recording system should be adhered to:
- Present children to be recorded with a red (/) in the morning and a red (\) in the afternoon.
- Mark (L) in black for children arriving after 9am.
- Absentees should be marked with the appropriate absence code using black ink.
- (All absentee notes and forms should be kept at the back of the register for the school year)
- The total number of children present for each session should be written in black ink at the bottom of the appropriate column.
Registers must be returned to the school office after each morning and afternoon registration.
Registers will be retained for three years after the end of the school year in question.
The Headteacher, not parents, authorises absence; Westward School adhere to the DfE guidelines in authorising absence. Absence for any reason during term time is discouraged.
Absences known to be for the following reasons would be authorised:
- Religious observance
- Attendance at medical appointments which can’t be made outside school hours.
Calls and emails from parents regarding absences are logged by the school office onto the Daily Absence sheet which is shown to each class teacher after 9.30am by a member of office staff so they are aware of daily absences and the reason for the absence.
Family Holidays During Term Time
Holidays during term time are strongly discouraged due to the inevitable disruption to learning. Parents do not have an automatic right to withdraw pupils from school for a holiday and in law, have to apply for permission in advance.
Permission forms for a holiday during term time can be obtained from the school office.
When an application is made for authorised absence during term time, the Headteacher gives consideration to;
- The age of the child
- The nature of the parent's wishes
- The timing of the proposed absence
- The attendance pattern in the present and previous academic years
- The attendance percentage
- The child's progress
Parents will be informed by the school office if their request has been authorised.
A record of authorised absences are kept in the school office.
Your child's annual % attendance will be recorded on their end of year report.
100% attendance is celebrated in our end of year assembly.
At our end of term assembly the Headteacher awards the 'Attendance and Punctuality Cups' to the class/es with the best attendance record for that term.