Attendance and punctuality is a key priority at Nansen Primary School.
Education is important. Children should be at school, on time and ready to learn, every day the school is open, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. 90% attendance sounds good to some people but this is ½ day missed every week! Over a school year this is 4 weeks – 100 lessons lost!
Regular attendance and punctuality is essential in the workplace too - children who are used to attending school on time, and on every occasion unless they are really too unwell to attend, will be better prepared for the attendance expectations in the workplace.
We know that children are sometimes ill or anxious about attending school and that families can be dealing with challenges which affect regular school attendance. We want to try and help parents sort these out with us as soon as possible. We want you to talk to us and not to cover up children’s absences or to give in to pressure . This often makes things worse and can make your child think you don’t think school is important.
At Nansen Primary School we will do everything we can to support you with helping your child to achieve full and regular attendance. We will strive to provide a welcoming, caring environment, in which each member of our community feels wanted and secure, helping them to “find their remarkable”.
Why is regular attendance is so important?
Learning: Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence seriously affects their learning. Any child’s absence can disrupt teaching routines and so may affect the learning of others in the same class. Research has shown that children perform significantly less well in exams and assessments if their attendance has been lower than average.
Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is a legal responsibility for a parent and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
Safeguarding: your child may be at risk of harm if they do not attend school regularly. Safeguarding the interests of each child is everyone’s responsibility and failing to attend school on a regular basis may be considered as a safeguarding issue that needs a formal referral to Social Care.
Legislation and Statutory Responsibilities
There are two types of absence:
- Authorised (where the school approves pupil absence eg absence due to sickness, religious observance, funerals);
- Unauthorised (where the school will not approve absence e.g. holidays during term time, taking children out without permission ie birthdays, parents or siblings attending medical appointments).
Only the School can decide whether or not to authorise an absence even if you send in a note or leave a telephone message . This is written down in the Education Registration Regulations 2006. We will let you know if we are not authorising your child’s absence.
Parents are responsible under The Education Act 1996 for ensuring their child’s full and regular attendance at school while they are of compulsory school age.
We can ask the Local Authority to take legal action if we have not authorised your child’s absences from school. Legal action can include prosecution, the issue of a Penalty Notice or an application for an Education Supervision Order in the Family Court . If the Local Authority agrees to a prosecution the maximum fine is £2500 and/or 3 months imprisonment. We will always offer you opportunities to talk to us and will try and help sort things out without going to Court but we will ask for legal action when this is necessary.
The Education Pupil Registration Regulations 2013 removed all reference to “family holidays” . Leave of absence will only be granted by the Headteacher if there are exceptional circumstances and Nansen Primary School will ask the Local Authority to issue you with a Penalty Notice if we do not agree the leave of absence should be authorised. If you receive a Penalty Notice, you will be asked to pay £60 per parent per child for the period of absence (so 2 parents with 2 children could receive 4 Penalty Notices at a cost of £240.) This fine doubles if it is not paid within 21 days and, if it is not paid within 28 days, you can be prosecuted for the absence of your child.
The Department for Education defines any pupil who has less than 90% attendance as a “persistent absentee”. There was a Court Case in the Isle of Wight in 2017 and the Supreme Court said that “[a] child is required to attend in accordance with the normal rules laid down by the school. “The judges also said that the requirement for a child to attend “regularly” means “in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school”. This means that “regularly” is what we decide. Our target attendance for every child is 97%.
We are required to report to the Local Authority any child who we believe might be Missing Education.
We are required to take the register twice a day -once at the start of the day and once in the afternoon
Leave of Absence
As stated above, leave of absence will only be granted by the Headteacher if there are exceptional circumstances and Nansen Primary school will ask the Local Authority to issue you with a Penalty Notice.
We will consider requests for “exceptional leave” on a case by case basis and will respond to you in writing with our decision. Our request for exceptional leave forms are available at Reception and we must have 4 weeks to consider and respond to your requests unless there is an emergency. If this occurs, please contact us to discuss first.