Everything we do as a secondary school has to start with excellent attendance. Students can only achieve their potential, develop their abilities and work towards a positive future if they actually attend school. The moment that attendance begins to slide, everything else will follow. Students cannot achieve their full potential if they are absent.
At Shevington High School we are currently looking closely at our attendance procedures, and it is important to remind every student and parent of the expectations that we, like all other schools, have of our students. Our school target is 96%, and we encourage all students to aim towards this over the year. Once students drop below this figure, we need to act quickly to ensure that they can be pulled back above it.
There are a minority of students whose attendance is not satisfactory. The government identifies that students with an attendance of below 90% should be classed as “Persistently Absent” and that students with an attendance of below 50% should be classed as “Severely Absent”. This means that any student who falls below 90% attendance will become a persistent absence student and therefore reported to National and Local Government through the school census.
To put this figure into context – the table below shows what days off do to a student’s overall attendance figure:
|Days absent||Weeks absent||Percentage attendance|
Time off school, like time off work, is only acceptable in extreme cases such as medical emergencies, extreme sickness, bereavement etc… Students that have a cold, headache, sore throat or that are looking after siblings should not be having time off. The priority of every parent is to make sure that their child is in school, and unfortunately, we as a school treat absence very seriously and will be left with no choice other than to prosecute using penalty notices if need be.
Students’ attendance is monitored on a daily basis, and we as a school will react as such – sending letters to alert when attendance has begun to drop to a level where we are concerned. Where there is a clearly identified medical reason why an absence will be prolonged and this has been discussed between school and parents then we would review this on a case-by-case basis. As well as this, we will look at attendance on a half-termly basis to see which students are becoming dangerously close to being persistently absent. Again, to put this into context please see the table below:
|Term||Number of days missed (equal to 10% absence)|
|Term 1||3.5 days|
|Term 1-2||7 days|
|Term 1-3||10 days|
|Term 1-4||12.5 days|
|Term 1-5||15.5 days|
Students whom have attendance that is causing concern will find themselves invited into school with their parents to meet with either their Head of Year and Attendance Mentor or in more persistent cases the SLT lead for Attendance or Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and a Governor. After this, if attendance fails to improve school will be left with no choice other than to follow the route of fixed penalty notices.
We are also aware that students often have very legitimate lengthy periods of absence, or sporadic attendance due to ill health of a serious nature. Please do not worry if your child drops into this category – the key is regular contact with your son/daughter’s Head of Year/Attendance Mentor/SLT lead for Attendance so they are well aware of your personal circumstances. This coupled with detailed medical evidence – such as appointment notes or letters from your child’s GP, will help us to develop a personal approach to yourselves and avoid misunderstanding or miscommunications.
Finally, with regards to “leaves of absence”. Shevington High School is able to grant leaves of absence in exceptional circumstances only. These are considered on a case-by-case basis and a form to apply for this is available from the main office or if you follow this link:
ABSENCE REQUEST FORM
This form must be returned for the attention of Mrs Lavelle. Exceptional circumstances does not include a family holiday, but includes things such as weddings and funerals of close relatives, or special events that cannot be rearranged or rescheduled. When we consider whether to allow an event such as this, we consider your son/daughter’s attendance over their time at school, and we also reserve the right to remove consent if attendance drops following the request but prior to the event.
HOLIDAYS IN TERM TIME
The DFE is asking schools to encourage parents to avoid term-time holidays whenever possible. As I am sure you will appreciate, regular school attendance is essential if your child is to maximise their educational opportunities. Interruptions in school attendance not only disrupt your child’s education it makes it harder to catch up on work missed, and it can also affect their social life within school. It is the school’s responsibility to provide the best education possible. We can only do this if your children attend regularly.
Further information is available on the DFE website and a copy of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 is available on the UK Statute Law Database. Visit the DFE website for more information. Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation. This process was ratified by Governors on 9 July 2009 and will come into effect as from September 2009.