Updated: 15/02/2024 289 KB

St. Stephen’s CE Primary School seeks to ensure that all its pupils receive an education which maximises opportunities for each pupil to realise his/her true potential. The school will strive to provide a welcoming, caring environment, whereby each member of the school community feels wanted and secure. We believe that all students benefit from the education we provide, and therefore from regular attendance. The aim of our attendance policy is to provide a consistent practice that encourages and facilitates the regular attendance of all pupils.

We are committed to meeting our obligations with regards to school attendance by:

  • Promoting good attendance and reducing absence, including persistent absence
  • Ensuring every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled
  • Acting early to address patterns of absence
  • Ensuring every pupil has access to full time education to which they are entitled
  • Acting early to address patterns of absence

Working together to improve attendance

The most vital part of encouraging good attendance is to ensure that the school is a place to which the children want to come: a place where they are treated with respect and feel valued; a place where their needs are recognised and are being addressed; a place where all children can experience success within a rich, relevant and diversified curriculum.

Successfully treating the root causes of absence and removing barriers to attendance, at home, in school or more broadly requires schools and local partners to work collaboratively with, not against families.

Pupil arrival and registration

Pupils can enter school from 8.35am and registration time is at 8.45am.

Members of staff will welcome children into school at the main gates and they will then proceed to their class.  Pupil are encouraged to arrive in good time to allow them to get to their classroom before 8.45am.

At 8.45am the pupil entry gates will be locked and any late pupils must then request access via the security gate. A member of staff will record the pupil’s time of arrival before they then proceed to class.

It is vitally important for all children to be on time, as missing the first few minutes of any lesson can be disruptive and unsettling, both for children and for the rest of the class.

  • If a child arrives late, between 8.45am and 9.00am, a late mark will be recorded in the register (L).
  • If a child arrives after 9.00am, their attendance will be recorded as (U) which is a late after registers close mark and this is classed as an unauthorised absence (a number of these marks can also contribute to a fixed penalty notice being issued).

The charts below outline the actions which we are required to take to tackle attendance issues and the effect which attendance has on a child’s attainment.

Holidays during Term Time

There have been significant changes in the law concerning term time leave of absence and Head Teachers are not able to grant any leave of absence during term time unless they feel that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. The dictionary definition of ‘exceptional’ is ‘unusual’ or ‘rare’.

Where leave is granted, Head Teachers must decide the number of school days they can authorise for a child to be away from school however this can be no more than 7 days. Schools are legally bound to refer any unauthorised absence of more than 7 days to the Local Authority as this is the trigger point for Fixed Penalty Notice action.

Head Teachers must look at each case on its individual merits and we use the following guidance to make our decision as to whether we deem the circumstances to be ‘exceptional’:

  • Compassionate circumstances (significant family illness, bereavement, funeral, family crisis). Such cases will be assessed on an individual basis.
  • Other ‘one off’ unusual circumstances / events (wedding, christening, graduation).

The following circumstances that are not considered ‘exceptional’:

  • Availability of cheap holidays and cheap travel arrangements.
  • Days overlapping with the beginning or end of term.
  • Birthday of pupil or family member.
  • Poor weather experienced in school holiday periods.

Parents should be aware that if you take leave of absence during term time without making a prior application to the school, or if you make an application but your requested leave of absence is not authorised and you still take the child out of school, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. Similarly, if you keep your child away from school for longer than agreed/authorised, the excess absence will be recorded as unauthorised.

Current procedures dictate that if a child has more than 14 sessions (7 school days) of ‘unauthorised’ absence then they will be referred to the Local Authority Attendance Improvement Team and may receive a Fixed Penalty Notice. NB: Unauthorised absences also include any other ‘non-holiday’ days when a child may have been absent without reason.

If you wish to make an application for your child’s term time leave of absence, you must fill out an application form, which can be requested from school office. The application form asks you to outline the reasons why you feel your application for leave of absence during term time should be regarded as ‘exceptional.’ Following the submission of your application, you will be notified as soon as possible of the School’s decision.

We are required by law to report unauthorised absences to the Local Authority, who will issue a Fixed Penalty Notice, which means a parent may be fined by the Education Welfare Service. The regulations do stipulate that fixed penalty fines will be issued and parents must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. (NB: fines are issued by the Local Authority and school does not receive any monies from this process)

We must also make parents aware that due to equalities legislation, fixed penalty notices will now be issued to all parents who have parental responsibility and whom can be traced. This means that both the Father and Mother of a child will receive separate fines, under the new regulations, and that each parent will incur a fine for each child.