For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly and your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Indeed, any pupil’s absence disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class. Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution. It is very important therefore that you make sure that your child attends regularly.
Promoting Regular Attendance
Helping to create a pattern of regular attendance is everybody’s responsibility – parents, pupils and all members of school staff.
We will encourage good attendance by:
- making school a lively and interesting place to be
- cultivating a positive learning environment for all pupils
- creating a positive environment where children feel safe and secure
- improving the quality of play in the playground
- being sympathetic and supportive to pupils who experience problems in school
- emphasising the importance of regular school attendance to enable pupils to benefit fully from their schooling
- monitoring attendance data in a systematic manner
- developing a system of rewards for good attendance
- reminding parents on a regular basis of their responsibilities regarding attendance and punctuality
- offering help and advice to resolve any difficulties the pupil or parent/carer may have in fulfilling these responsibilities
Understanding Types of Absence
Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required. Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable causes.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Education Welfare Service using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. Unauthorised absences include:
- parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
- absences which have never been properly explained
- shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
- children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
- day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed
- truancy before or during the school day truancy before or during the school day
Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child straight away.
If your child is ill, you must contact the school on the first day of absence as well as send in a letter confirming the reason for non-attendance when they return to school. You may be asked to provide medical evidence if your child has sustained absence or a number of single days of absence due to illness.
If your child is ill directly before or after a school break, it is likely that you will be asked to provide medical evidence.
Click here for Attendance Policy for more information