In order to help answer some ‘frequently asked questions’ around attendance to school, we have produce this non-exhaustive list to offer as much information as possible around our expectations for attendance and the support available to families around attendance to school.
What is good attendance?
Attendance percentages are not like examination results: an attendance percentage needs to be in the high nineties before it can be considered ‘good’. Please can I draw your attention to the following examples:
· An attendance record of 90% might seem ‘good’ but is equal to 1 day missed per fortnight. If this continues from Years 7 to 11, a total of six months’ education will be lost!
· An attendance record of 80% might seem acceptable but is equal to 1 day missed per week. If this continues from Years 7 to 11, a total of one years’ education will be lost!
In the last academic year, 139 students achieved 100% attendance records and become members of the Northern Ambition Academies Trust Club 100. This shows this is an achievable target and one that all students should aspire to achieve. In addition, a number of students have achieved this level of attendance in successive years. Airedale Academy expects all our students to achieve a minimum of 95% attendance.
Why is good attendance important?
Good attendance at school is vital for students to achieve their full educational potential. Students with good attendance records benefit in the following ways:
· Continuity of learning which makes progression and retention easier
· Improved performance in coursework tasks
· Enhanced performance in examinations
· Continuity of relationships and friendships
· Good references for further education and/or employment
· Good habits are formed for later life
What can parents/carers do to support their child achieve good attendance levels?
Families play a very important role in ensuring the good attendance records of their children. Below is a list of suggested strategies:
· Encourage 100% attendance
· Stress the importance of attendance to school to your child
· Do not allow your child to have time off for minor complaints or illnesses: if they are well enough to be up and about they are generally well enough to attend the academy
· Monitor your child’s attendance. This can we done via the My Child at School (MCAS) app.
· Take any holiday’s during the school holidays, not during term time
· Try to book any medical or dental appointments out of academy hours or make them towards the very end of the academic day. Please note, the academy will only authorise full-day absence for medical appointments in exceptional circumstances.
· Ensure your child is punctual; students should be in the academy by 8:25am, in order to be ready for form time which starts at 8:30am.
What if a student is absent?
The welfare of our students is paramount and remains and absolute priority for us as an academy. With this in mind, we need to ensure that we receive communication about any child who is unexpectedly absent. Parents/carers should contact Airedale Academy before 9:00am giving the reason for absence. You can do this by either calling 01977 664555 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You need to confirm your child’s name, form and reason for absence. Parents/carers are expected to contact the academy every day their child is absent from the academy.
Please note, we will attempt to make contact every day a student is absent even if we have been informed the child was unwell the previous day. This is to ensure a situation doesn’t occur where a student returning to the academy fails to arrive, with the parents/carers assuming they are safe at the academy and us assuming they are at home unwell. If we do not receive notification of absence, we will follow the procedure as outlined below:
· Student will be marked as unauthorised absent until we receive a valid reason for absence.
· First Day Response (FDR) text message will be sent out to inform parents/carers their child has failed to arrive at school.
· Telephone call will be made to those with parental responsibility for the child in order to gain verbal confirmation that your child is absent with your knowledge.
· If we have not managed to contact you and there has been no communication between home and the academy, then a member of staff (Education Welfare Officer and/or Head of Year) may carry out a home visit.
· In the unlikely event that we cannot gain confirmation that your child is absent with your knowledge, we will then be required to contact the Police for them to make enquiries as to the safety and well-being of your child.
With enhanced and more efficient communication between home and school, we can all be sure that the children in our care are safe and well.
When is absence authorised?
Only the Assistant Principal, acting under instruction from the Principal, can authorise absence. An explanation given by a parent is not, necessarily, sufficient for the academy to authorise an absence.
According to guidance to schools from the Department for Education and Science, an absence may only be authorised if the absence is due to:
· Pupil illness, though we may require medical evidence to support such an absence.
· “Leave” given by the academy (this commonly includes medical appointments, interviews and other similar special circumstances). However, medical appointments should be made outside of academy hours whenever possible. Evidence of medical appointments/interviews will need to be supplied to the academy. This can be sent by email to email@example.com.
· The pupil being unable to attend due to unavoidable causes – authorised at the discretion of the academy.
· Religious observance where applicable.
Absences that the academy is not able to authorise include:
· Looking after a relative, pet etc.
· A shopping trip, even if this is for uniform
· Day trips
· Lateness after form time has ended (8:55am onwards)
· Remaining at home for wait for deliveries, repairmen etc.
Can I go on holiday during term time?
Any absence, including absence for holidays, interrupts the continuity of students’ learning. Parents/carers are strongly urged not to take students out of school for holidays during term time. Government legislation now states that holidays during term time, regardless of length, cannot be authorised except in exceptional circumstances. For more details, please see the Attendance policy.
What are the Penalties?
If a child is persistently absent, Airedale Academy will refer the case to Wakefield Council’s Education Welfare Service (EWS). The EWS will then make a decision on whether to issue an Education Penalty Notice. If an Education Penalty Notice is issued, the penalty is £60 per parent per child when payment is made within 21 days. If payment is not made within 21 days, the penalty amount will double to £120 per parent per child and must be paid by the 28th day of issue.
Failure to pay within 28 days will result in a summons to appear before the Magistrates Court because you have failed to secure your child’s regular attendance at school. If the case progresses to Court, you may receive a fine up to £2500.
What are the Statutory Requirements, with the Law and the Local Authority?
Registers are legal documents; regulatory requirements placed on schools regarding the keeping of registers can be found in the Education Regulations 2006.
In addition, Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that parents/carers are responsible to ensure their child receives a suitable education.
Under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996, a parent who fails to ensure their child attends the school at which they are registered, is guilty of an offence.
Airedale Academy works together with the Local Authority to ensure that parents/carers fulfill their responsibility. There are a range of legal sanctions that may be imposed for dealing with unauthorised absence: Education Penalty Notices, Parenting Contracts and Orders, Education Supervision Orders or referral to the Magistrates Court which can recommend fines (up to £2500) or up to 3 months in prison.
What if my child is classed as ‘persistently absent’?
A student becomes a Persistent Absentee when they miss 10% of their schooling across the academic year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents’/carers’ full support and co-operation to tackle this.
What can I do if my child start missing school?
Children can show their worries and concerns in a number of different ways, e.g. a reluctance to go to school, feigning illness, failure to attend school even though the child is sent or internally truanting. If a problem seems to be emerging, parents/carers should:
· Talk to the child to try to asecetain if there are any problems or worries at the academy, on the journey to or from the academy or at home.
· Contact the academy as soon as possible – either Mrs. Parker (Education Welfare Officer) or your child’s Head of Year will be more than happy to speak to you.
Will Airedale Academy listen to and help me?
Yes! Being proactive and working in partnership are key in ensuring all students have excellent attendance. If you are concerned about your child’s school attendance, it is always best to talk to us before noticeable patterns emerge and their progress becomes negatively affected. Airedale Academy has a dedicated Attendance Officer, Mrs. S. Robinson as well as each student having a Head of Year and Form Tutor. If you would like further help and advice on how to improve your child’s attendance, you can also contact our Education Welfare Officer, Mrs. S. Parker who works in the academy under instruction from Wakefield Council’s EWS.
Did you know?
· Airedale Academy expects 100% attendance
· 90% attendance means missing on average one ½ day EVERY week!
· 90% attendance means the equivalent of missing 4 whole weeks in one school year! Over 5 years, this is the equivalent of HALF a school year!
· Missing just 17 days in one year can mean dropping a full grade at GCSE.
· Only 10% of persistently absent students achieve 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above
· Historically, 5 or more good GCSE passes can increase wages by over 40%
· 75% of pupils with 95+% attendance achieve 5 or more GCSEs at grade 4 or above
· 25% of pupils with under 90% attendance achieve 5 or more GCSEs at grade 4 or above
· Airedale Academy is open 195 days a year. That still leaves 170 other days for leisure activities.
· A child being on holiday for 2 weeks during term time with miss 50 on hour lessons. Some never catch up!
· Being 10 minutes late each day for one year is equivalent to missing over a week of school!