Attendance

At Brierley Primary School, it is our culture to support our families in all the ways we can. Working as a team, we aim to provide each child every opportunity to achieve their full potential. In order to do this it is essential that all pupils attend school regularly, and on time. To achieve our aims, it is, therefore, our duty to ensure that all parents and guardians understand the importance of regular attendance, the sort of absences we will and will not authorise and the procedures if your child needs to be absent from school.

It is proven that poor attendance is often linked to poor performance in the classroom. This can result in your child struggling with their relationships with their peers, developing low self-confidence and experiencing a disrupted pattern to their education; all of which can be damaging in the long run.

Parental Responsibility

The responsibility for ensuring children attend school regularly and punctually rests with parents. It is the parents’ responsibility to contact the school whenever the child is absent and on the first day of absence before 9am.

The Role of the Teacher

Each class teacher completes a register at the beginning of each morning and afternoon session. They should identify unauthorised absences and bring them to the attention of Miss Campbell as soon as possible.

Frequent absence is also a cause for concern. Persistent absence will be investigated by school and the Education Welfare Service.

It is the school who authorises absence, not the parent/carer.

At Brierley Primary School pupils are expected to arrive by 8.45 am.

All pupils arriving after close of registration at 9.00am should report to the School Reception where parents will need to provide an explanation as to why they are late.

Any pupils arriving after 9.30am will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and this may result in the issuing of a Penalty Notice.

Authorised/Non Authorised Absence

  • The legal responsibility for ensuring pupils attend school regularly and punctually rests with parents/carers.
  • It is essential that parents/carers should be the first line of contact whenever the pupil is absent from school.
  • It is the responsibility of the parents/carers to contact the school whenever a pupil is absent and on the first day of absence.
  • It is the school who authorises the absence, not the parent/carer.
  • Absence is either authorised, such as in the case of illness or of religious observance, or unauthorised, when there is no reason given for such absence or when it is considered that the explanation is unjustified or unreasonable.

Authorised Absences

An authorised absence (one which the school agrees is a reasonable one) will only be granted for:-

1. Child illness.
2. Medical appointments.
3. External Examinations (eg. Music or dancing exams, entrance exams).
4. Educational assessments conducted by approved agencies.
5. Religious observances (eg. Funerals, major feast days in religions other than
Christianity).
6. Education activity at an alternative site (eg. Participation in a county sports event).
7. Visits to prospective new schools.
8. Very special family circumstances.

Unauthorised Absences

An unauthorised absence – absences which the school would not consider reasonable, include:-

1. A trip to the theatre.
2. Shopping for new shoes.
3. Your child staying at home because a parent or sibling is ill.
4. Having a haircut.
5. Family holidays.

All such absences need to be avoided in the interest of ensuring that your child develops a good habit of attending school regularly, allowing them to fulfil their potential academically, socially and emotionally.

Procedures

On the first day of and any further absence

If your child is ill or is absent for any reason, please phone or email the School Office for every day of absence, giving your reason for keeping them at home.

If you need to request a period of authorised absence.

Holidays in term time will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Brierley Primary School, as with all schools in Cheshire East will consider each request for holiday absence individually but will only grant such requests in exceptional circumstances. It is important to note that a child who is authorised to take 10 days holiday during an academic year can only attain 94.7% attendance. Any request for more than 10 days holiday absence in any one academic year will not be granted

If you need to make a request to Mrs McIntosh for a period of authorised absence, you can pick up a form from the School Office. Please submit your request to Mrs McIntosh as early as possible, so that there is time for the request to be considered and for approval to be given if appropriate (Minimum of 21 days notice). You will then be asked to attend a meeting with Mrs McIntosh when the holiday will be discussed and approval granted/not granted.

Although each request will be considered individually, we will never normally authorise holidays in term time under the following circumstances:

  • At the beginning or end of school terms
  • Where the child is persistently late resulting in a substantial period of lost classroom time
  • Where the child is persistently absent, including because of ill health (25 days absence in the previous year or where there have already been 10 or more days absence in the current year)

Absence will not be authorised during any period of public examinations or internal assessments.

  • All requests for holiday leave will be considered individually and such factors as existing attendance record will be considered in making the decision whether to grant holiday leave e.g. absence will not be authorised if it takes a pupils absence record below 90%.
  • Holiday taken without the school’s permission, or failure to return on the agreed date, will mean that the absence is unauthorised (truancy). The deliberate taking of holiday in term time without or against school permission (where it can be clearly demonstrated that the parent/carer understood that permission had not or would not be given) and where this has created a period of unauthorised absence in the current term of at least 10 sessions, may result in parents being liable to a penalty notice.
  • If a pupil fails to return within ten school days of the agreed return date, and there is not good reason for this absence, the school, in discussion with the Education Welfare Officer, may remove the pupil’s name from the school roll.

Penalty Notices

Cheshire East will consider issuing Penalty Notices in the following circumstances:

(a) Parentally-condoned absences
(b) Excessive holidays in term time
(c) Excessive delayed return from extended holidays without prior school agreement
(d) Persistent late arrival at school (after the register has closed)

If your child is absent from school more than they should be:

At the end of each half term the School Office will use its computer system to analyse absence across the school. As a result of this, some families will receive letters to inform them if their child’s absence is lower than it should be if no prior discussion has taken place.

We send letters for the following reasons:-

Attendance below 90% for the first time – Letter sent to parents to say their child’s attendance is causing some concern. An appointment with Mrs McIntosh will be offered to discuss ways that the school can offer support in finding a way improve this.

Attendance falls below 90% over a second term, with no identifiable reason –

Letter sent with a specific appointment given to meet with Mrs McIntosh and begin to address any issues which may be behind this pattern of poor attendance.

If, following stages 1 and 2, there has been no significant improvement – Panel Interview arranged with Miss Baker / Mrs McIntosh and Educational Welfare Officer to plan together for improvements.

In the unlikely event of there still being no improvement – The School will inform you that they are not able to authorise any absences without seeing medical evidence that there has been the need for a Doctor’s appointment or a prescription has been issued.

The Educational Welfare Officer has access to attendance figures and unauthorised absence data. If they are unhappy that attendance is not being improved in these extreme cases the Local Authority is likely to take action against families where persistent absence is a problem.
We are committed to supporting your child effectively, to ensure that they get the very best education possible and therefore have the best life chances. All challenges made concerning persistent absences, will be handled sensitively and in confidence.

Lateness

School opens at 8.45am; school registers close at 9.00am. It is so important for all children to be on time, as missing the first few minutes of any lesson can be disruptive and unsettling, both for your child and for the rest of the class.

A guide to punctuality:

  • Pupils are expected to be in school by 8.45 am any pupil arriving after 9.00am will be marked as late.
  • The Register will officially close at 9.00 am.
  • Pupils arriving after 9.00am should report to the school reception.
  • Miss Campbell will record the name of the pupil and the reason for being late in the late book.
  • Monitoring of this book will take place regularly and letters will be sent by the school where appropriate.
  • If lateness is a persistent problem a meeting will be arranged at school with the parent, Miss Campbell, and Education Welfare Officer.
  • A second letter will be sent for further lateness warning that the school is concerned and will be referring the matter to the Education Welfare Officer (EWO).