Guidance to support parents
The following information and links below are there to give as much information and guidance on the importance of positive attendance for you child(ren).
We make attendance count!
At Weeke Primary School, we have a strong ethos and emphasis on attendance and punctuality. We know from experience and research that ensuring a child's attendance is kept high supports their education, well-being and future success. In order for this to be successful it relies on a positive relationship with parents and carers. The information within our website helps to support this with the facts and figures around attendance; the actions we carry out in school with our children and the actions taken if the school is unable to work with families in improving attendance.
If you wish to speak to anyone in school regarding your child's attendance, please contact the school office at email@example.com or our Family Support Worker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is attendance so important?
It is not always easy managing young children and their attendance. As a parent you are faced with many challenges around their medical health, emotional health and general well-being. The best course of action if you are concerned is to contact the school and arrange a meeting with your child's class teacher or a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
The information below highlights why it is so important to enable your child to attend school as regularly as they can. The impact of not attending school can be very challenging for the child's well-being, current education and future.
Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school. The Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999 require all maintained schools to open to educate their pupils for at least 190 days (380 sessions) in each school year. Table 1 puts absence in the context of the days children miss at school based on a school being opened for 190 days per year and Table 2 puts absence in the context of the days children miss at school over a six week period.
Traffic Light Approach
We follow a traffic light system which we share both with parents and children. It is important that everyone involved in the child's education and schooling is aware of our approach. Where attendance drops below 96% we work more closely with families. This in time, if it has not improved, could lead to support from other services such as Chidlren's Services and/or legal action.
Through our regular communication with the whole school community and initiaves we use in school we hope that children's attendance doesn't drop below 96%.
Initiatives in School that support attendance
As part of our 'whole curriculum' experience we want the children to understand the importance of coming to school regularly and being on time. These routines and inter-personal skills that are develop form an early age will support them as they go through future education and beyond. Alongisde this our school value of responsibility is used to support attendance.
At Weeke Primary School we have many approaches through our curriculum and throughout the school week:
1. We have a dedicated member of staff (Jacqui Pyatt) who leads up on attendance and punctuality. Jacqui works two days a week and is our Family Support Worker.
2. Every week we celebrate and share the success of attendance in classes through our 'attendance cup'. This is awarded to the class(es) that achieve the highest weekly percentage.
3. The 'In the News' newsletter and website share the weekly success' of the classes to show the improvements in attendance.
As a school we are currently working with parents and children to identify further initiatives to support. These include:
1. Attendance contracts that families sign up to and consider the actions they need to take to improve a childs attendance.
2. Attendance charts that are visible in school and can be used at home to support the children.
3. School attendance competitions and rewards for consistently positive attendance or dramatic improvements in attendance.
4. 100 Club for those children who have 100% attendance for a specified period of time, for instance, half termly or termly.
We want the improvement of attendance to be both a positive one and memorable in order to instil the importance of good attendance and pucntuality. If you have any sugesstions, please contact the school office.
What happens if my child's attendance doesn't improve?
Interventions that support the family
Hampshire county council currently works closely with schools where attendance has significantly dropped and is causing a concern to the school. After school has implemented and work closely witht the family, if unsuccessful they will refer to the Attendance Project. Parents will be expected to contribute and support the approach in order to improve their child's attendance.
If unsuccessful the school and Hampshire County Council will be move towards a more formal and legal approach.
Penalty Notices and the Education Act 1996
Section 444A of the Act gives powers to the local authority, and headteachers to issue Penalty Notices in circumstances where it is believed that a person has committed an offence under Section 444(1); that is, where a child fails to attend regularly at their registered school.
What is a Penalty Notice?
A Penalty Notice is a fine which may be issued as an alternative to prosecution. If it is paid it does not require a court appearance and does not result in a criminal record.
Who can be issued with a Penalty Notice?
Where absence warrants the issuing of a Penalty Notice, anyone with Parental Responsibility, or having day to day care of the child can be issued with one Penalty Notice for each of the children with unauthorised absence. If two parents have two children this may result in four Penalty Notices, 2 Penalty Notices per parent.
What if my child has further unauthorised absence from school?
If you pay the Penalty Notice and your child has further unauthorised absences additional legal action may be taken. For example, in the event that a Penalty Notice has previously been served to you due to unauthorised holiday, should your child have any future unauthorised leave this may result in further legal action for you, such as prosecution or an Education Supervision Order.
How is a Penalty Notice issued and how much is the fine?
Penalty Notices are either posted to your home or delivered to you by hand. Each Penalty Notice fine is £60 if paid within 21 days of the date of posting and £120 if paid after this but within 28 days of the date of posting.
When are they issued?
As set down by the Department for Education, Penalty Notices can be issued for unauthorised absence. In Hampshire, Penalty Notices are issued when a pupil has had 10 or more half-day sessions (equivalent to five school days) of unauthorised absence, in the last 10 school week period.
Unauthorised absence is absence not approved by the school and will be coded on your child’s attendance record as one of the following:
O – unauthorised absence
U – late after close of registration
G – non-approved leave of absence (holiday).
Persistent Lateness (L) code which reaches the threshold may result in the issuing of a Penalty Notice.
Is a warning given?
If your child has an ongoing pattern of unauthorised absence then you will normally receive a written warning of the possibility of a Penalty Notice being issued. This warning will advise you about the extent of your child’s absence and warn you that if your child’s attendance does not show a significant improvement and if this improvement is not maintained thereafter, a Penalty Notice may be issued without further warning.
Further support, advice and guidance is available from:
- The Department for Education www.gov.uk/school-attendance-absence/overview
- Hampshire County Council https://www.hants.gov.uk/educationandlearning/behaviour-attendance-parents
Is there an appeal process?
There is no statutory right of appeal. Once a Penalty Notice has been issued, it can only be withdrawn if it can be shown that it was issued in error.
How do I pay?
Details of payment arrangements are included in the Penalty Notice. You must ensure that you include your Penalty Notice reference number on any payment method so the payment can be tracked. Failure to do so may result in the Penalty Notice being recorded as unpaid. Full payment is required within prescribed timescales - see ‘What Happens If I Do Not Pay?’ below . Payment in part or by instalments is not possible. Late payments will not under any circumstances discharge criminal liability for the offence and you may be liable for prosecution. Any late payments received will be refunded.
What happens if I do not pay?
From the date of posting you have up to 21 days to pay £60 or failing that a further 7 days to pay £120. If you fail to make any payment with the 28 days provided the local authority will consider commencing proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court for the original offence of failing to ensure regular attendance under s444 Education Act 1996.
If convicted there are a number of possible sentences, including a fine of up to £1,000 (in the case of a prosecution under section 444(1)) or a fine of up to £2,500 and/or a period of up to three months’ imprisonment (in the case of a prosecution under section 444(1A)).
Can I get help if my child is not attending school?
Yes. The school is available to provide advice and support and signpost you to other support agencies in the locality.