Attendance Truancy and Absence Policy
Section 444 of the Education Act (1996) states that where children of compulsory school age (5-16) are registered at a School they must attend School regularly. The Governing Body believes that high levels of school attendance are vital if our pupils at Aberbargoed Primary School are to benefit fully form the opportunities we are able to offer them.
Evidence strongly suggests that persistent truants are particularly at risk of educational failure.
“Those who leave full time education with no or low qualifications are at risk of subsequent failure in the job market. The White Paper “Building Excellent Schools Together” recognises that raising educational standards and tackling under-achievement is at the heart of Government policy. BEST also makes it clear that the commitment to raising standards applies to all children including those who are socially excluded or are in danger of becoming so.”
Pupil Support And Inclusion, Circular 3/99, Welsh Assembly Government
Parents, schools and the Local Authority (LA) share legal responsibility in respect of school attendance.
- Parents of children of compulsory age must ensure that they receive an efficient and suitable full time education at school or otherwise;
- The LA must ensure that parents are fulfilling their statutory obligations as to their children’s education including, where necessary by Action through the Courts;
- At Aberbargoed Primary School teaching staff will take an attendance register at the beginning of each session. Please refer to the policy on Marking Registers. Attendance data will be compiled and published for parents and the Governing Body in the School Prospectus, Annual Report of the Governing Body To Parents and in the Headteacher’s Reports to The Governing Body.
- We will give a high priority to attendance and ensure this commitment is underpinned by having an effective management system whereby:-
- We convey a clear message to parents and pupils that regular attendance is vital and unauthorised absences will not be tolerated. A written/telephone explanation must accompany all absences. Where this is not forthcoming a proforma letter should be sent home seeking an explanation for the absence. We operate a first day of absence calling system. The school telephones the homes of pupils who fail to arrive in school;
- Teachers will report pupils who are consistently late to the Headteacher, who will handle the situation sensitively recognising that it may not be the child’s fault. The Headteacher will notify parents and remind them of their responsibilities to establish full time daily attendance and avoid the risk of slipping into a pattern of poor attendance;
- School office staff will contact parents of pupils who are absent without explanation on the first day of absence;
- The governors will monitor attendance via termly reports and the Annual report to parents;
- Registration is a key factor in helping to monitor attendance and must be completed promptly at the start of the morning and afternoon session;
- We ensure that attendance is sustained during the day and monitor pupils who go home at lunchtime and return for the afternoon session. The Headteacher must be informed if a child does not return after lunch. The parents/guardians and Police (if appropriate) will be contacted to ascertain the whereabouts of the absent pupil;
- Parents will be encouraged to arrange appointments outside school hours. A maximum of ten school days will be allowed for annual holidays. Only in exceptional circumstances will this be extended;
- We will establish and sustain effective links with parents by having contact telephone numbers. Such links provide a sound basis for securing improvements when a child begins to go absent without authorisation. Gaining parental co-operation should bring about a prompt and sustained improvement in the child’s attendance;
- The Headteacher will liaise with the LA through the Educational Welfare Officer and other agencies in assessing a non-attendee’s problems in the wider family context. Issues may include:-
- a pattern of irregular attendance is either continuing or worsening;
- parents do not accept their responsibilities for ensuring the child attends school and are refusing to discuss ways of improving attendance with the school;
- condoned unjustified absence is increasingly a problem;
- or the parents ask for excessive unauthorised absence.
- Attendance certificates will be presented to pupils at the end of each term for full attendance. An appropriate reward will be given to pupils achieving full attendance for the full academic year.
- The school will reward 100% attendance through the year and each month with the opportunity of being entered in to two prize draws – one for full attendance for the month and one for full attendance for the year to date. This gives an incentive for those pupils who have been ill etc for a day or two, but who still have very good attendance for the rest of the year.
- A weekly treat may also be given to the class with the highest attendance for the week;
- Classes may also be rewarded as a whole if punctuality of the class/individuals etc improves;
The Role Of The Educational Welfare Service
In cases of poor attendance or punctuality the School will seek to involve the Local Authority in supporting its objective of regular attendance. This will be done through the Educational Welfare Service based at Ty Penallta. The Educational Welfare Officer attached to our school can normally be contacted at Heolddu Comprehensive School. Contact is also possible via email and mobile telephone.
The Legal Framework
- Section 444 of the Education Act (1996) sets out the requirement for regular full time attendance for children aged 5-16;
- Sections 437-443 of the Education Act (1996) requires that the LA must serve a School Attendance Order (SAO) on the parent of a child of compulsory school age who fails to prove that the child is receiving suitable education and where the authority is of the opinion that the child should attend school. (See also Education (School Attendance Order) Regulations 1995);Where there is irregular attendance the LA should consider prosecution under Section 444 Education Act 1996 or applying for an Education Supervision Order (ESO);
- Education Supervision Orders (section 36, Children’s Act 1989: Section 447 Education Act 1996.