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The Howard Partnership Trust is a growing family of 13 schools in the South East of England. Our family includes Primary, Secondary and Special Schools and welcomes any school that shares our values and commitment to Bringing out the Best in each and every one of our children and young people. Visit website

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West Hill School

Attendance

We expect children to attend school regularly as we believe good attendance contributes directly to the standards the children achieve.

Inline with our policy, we will be not authorising any absence during term time unless deemed exceptional circumstances by the Principal. Parents are asked to consider very carefully the implications for their own child and others before making a decision to remove their child from the education that is provided in school in term time. Applications for leave of absence for exceptional circumstances must be made in advance by using the request for leave form (Appendix 2).

Why is attendance important?

  • School ensures that children have the best start in life.
  • Good attendance gives them more chance of succeeding in life both academically and socially.
  • If your child’s attendance is 90% then they are absent for the equivalent of half a day every week.
  • 90% attendance means your child misses four weeks of school.
  • If attendance continues at only 90% then over their time in primary school your child will miss the equivalent of half a year of education.

Parent/Carer responsibilities

  • To ensure that your child arrives punctually and prepared for the school day.
  • To ensure that your child attends school on as many days as possible, hopefully every day. For guidance on common illnesses in children, please click here.
  • To inform the school of your child's absence each day using the Studybugs app.
  • To complete a request for absence in exceptional circumstances form (Appendix 2) when you want to take your child out of school during term time, giving at least two weeks’ notice.
  • Provide medical appointment evidence whenever possible.

Class Teacher responsibilities

  • To keep parents/carers regularly informed of pupils’ attendance records.
  • To support parents/carers in achieving maximum possible attendance for our pupils.
  • To recognise and reward over-target or improved attendance.

Vice Principal responsibilities

  • To invite parents/carers into school to discuss any persistent absence issues.
  • To send letters home stating concerns if attendance levels are unacceptable.

Office responsibilities

  • If we have not heard from parent/carers by 10:00am each day, to call to ask why your child is not in school.
  • To respond promptly to a child’s or parent’s concerns about the school or other pupils.
  • To inform parents/carers in writing of irregular attendance, arrange meetings if necessary and refer to the Education Welfare Service as required.
  • To follow up all absences and obtain notes/medical evidence for these absences.

Inclusion Officer role

  • To work alongside the Vice Principal monitoring attendance levels; in conjunction with the Vice Principal, to make decisions about issuing penalty notices (Section 444 Education Act 1996) if a pupil is taken out of school for five days or more without prior authority of the Vice Principal.

If there are ever any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us to look at ways we can support you further. In addition there are lots of resources you can access here.

From 1 September 2013, a change to government legislation means that schools are no longer allowed to authorise requests for children to be taken out of school for a holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. These circumstances will be determined by your child's headteacher, including the number of school days your child can be away from school if leave is granted. You must allow enough time for the headteacher to consider your request before leave is taken. It is possible that the headteacher may refuse permission. Parents can be given a penalty notice or prosecuted for periods of unauthorised holidays.

We consider attendance rates for each child and monitor these carefully and frequently.  In cases where a pupil’s attendance drops below 95% or a pattern of absence begins to develop, the school will initiate the following stages. It is our aim to support and work effectively alongside families at all stages to ensure an improvement in attendance.

  • Initial - a letter to parents/carers alerting that we are closely monitoring their child's attendance.
  • Wave 1 – first formal letter of attendance will be sent to the parents/carers of a pupil where attendance has become a concern. The letter will outline the school’s expectation that there is an immediate improvement in attendance whilst providing an offer of support to any parent/carer who may require it. A three week period of close monitoring will take place from the day of the letter.
  • Wave 2 – Where no improvement is forthcoming at the end of the three week monitoring period, a second formal letter will be sent to the parents/carers. This letter will register our continued concerns and inform the parents/carers that no authorised absence will be considered without medical evidence being provided. With immediate improvement expected, another three week monitoring period will begin.
  • Wave 3 – If there remains no improvement in attendance, the school will send a third and final formal letter informing the parents/carers that a meeting at the school is required with a member of the leadership team to discuss the continual poor attendance and to agree on an action plan. Upon an action plan being agreed, a final three week monitoring period will begin.
  • Wave 4 – Following this final three week monitoring period, if attendance has not adequately improved the school will make an immediate referral to the Inclusion Officer (IO) requesting their intervention.