An individual attendance rate of 95% and above is expected from all students not experiencing a major medical condition.
For safeguarding reasons we would ask you to report your child as absent from school every day that they are off school. Please call 01227 710392 or email the attendance team firstname.lastname@example.org by 9.00am on every day of absence. If your child is off school due to an illness we would ask that you give details of the nature of the illness so that consideration can be given as to whether or not the absence will be authorised. Illness absences reported as a child being ‘unwell’ may not be automatically authorised without further clarification.
If no reason for an absence has been received on the first and subsequent days of absence, a text message will be sent or contact by telephone will be made. If the Academy still receives no response, the absence will be marked as unauthorised. In some circumstances a home visit will be carried out.
What the law says about school attendance
The Education Act 1996 clearly states that: ‘If any child of compulsory School age, who is a registered pupil at a school, fails to attend regularly, the parents of that child shall be guilty of an offence.’ The Local Authority can now issue fixed Penalty Notices for unauthorised absences. A Penalty Notice is a fine of £60 which increases to £120 if not paid within the first 21 days. If the penalty remains unpaid after 28 days the Local Education Authority may instigate legal proceedings which could result in a fine of £1000.
Penalty Notices for Unauthorised Absence
The Academy is required to comply with Kent County Councils Code of Conduct on the provision of penalty notices to address poor attendance at school.
The following circumstances will be considered as appropriate reasons for the issuing of Penalty Notices:
- A Penalty Notice can only be issued in cases of unauthorised absence
- Use of Penalty Notices will be restricted to one per pupil per academic year. As with prosecutions under Section 44 of the Education Act 1996, a Penalty Notice may be issued to EACH parent/carer liable for the offence/offences.
- In cases where families contain more than one poor-attendance student, multiple issues may occur but this will be subject to careful consideration and co-ordination
- There will be no restriction on the number of times a parent/carer may receive a formal warning of a possible issue of a Penalty Notice.
The issuing of a Penalty Notice is considered appropriate in the following circumstances:
- Exclusion: being seen in a public place during normal school hours.
- Overt truancy (including student caught on truancy sweeps).
- Parentally-condoned absences
- Unauthorised leave of absence for holidays
- Delayed return from leave of absence without prior school agreement
- Persistent late arrival at school (after the Register has closed).
To ensure consistent delivery of Penalty Notices the following criteria will apply:
- At Least 10 sessions (5 school days) lost to unauthorised absence by the student within the last 100 sessions
- Other than in specific circumstances* the liable parent/carer will receive a formal warning of the possibility of a Penalty Notice being issued and given a maximum of 15 school days to effect an improvement.
*the deliberate taking of a holiday in term time without/against school permission (where it can be clearly demonstrated that the parent/carer understood that permission had not been/would not be given) and where this has created a period of unauthorized absence within the last 100 sessions of at least 10 sessions
Holidays in Term Time
Leave of absence will only be authorised by the Principal of the Academy in exceptional circumstances.
Parents are reminded that they cannot expect the Academy to agree to a holiday during term time. Requests for exceptional leave of absence must be made in writing prior to the leave/holiday being planned. If leave is not authorised by the school but is taken a penalty notice may be issued.
The Department of Education allows a headteacher the discretion to consider authorising leave in term time only in ‘exceptional circumstances’.