Yew Tree Community School Attendance Policy

This policy should be read with in conjunction with the Safeguarding Policy, Working Together to Safeguard Children DfE, the Equality Policy, LA Admissions Procedures and the Staff Handbook. 

VISION STATEMENT Yew Tree Community School is committed to the promotion of excellence and personal growth by enhancing self esteem and providing educational and life opportunities for our children.

‘EVERY CHILD IS SPECIAL’

“Going to school regularly is important to your child’s future. For example, children who miss school frequently can fall behind with their work and do less well in exams. Good attendance shows potential employers that your child is reliable. Research suggests that children who attend school regularly could also be at less risk of getting involved in antisocial behaviour or crime.” Direct.gov website

Context: At Yew Tree Community School we aim to consistently work towards our goal of 100% attendance for all children. Every opportunity will be used to convey the importance of regular, punctual attendance to pupils, parents and carers. Our school is committed to providing the best possible quality of education to all learners. To help achieve this commitment, regular, punctual school attendance is vital. The following policy sets out the schools aims and systems to ensure that attendance and punctuality is high and all stakeholders are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

Aims: • To ensure every child is safeguarded and their right to education protected. • To ensure the school attendance target is achieved through rewards and incentives for good attendance and punctuality. • To raise standards and ensure every child reaches their full educational potential through a high level of school attendance and punctuality. • To ensure all the stakeholders, governors, parents, pupils and staff receive regular communication about the importance of good attendance and punctuality. • To keep accurate, up-to-date records and have a robust and rigorous system for analysing attendance. • To identify causes of low attendance/punctuality with individuals and groups and address them. • To work with external agencies in order to address barriers to attendance and overcome them.

Roles and Responsibilities

Head Teacher • To be responsible for the overall management and implementation of the policy. • To deal with parental requests for extended leave in line with Local Authority policies and procedures. • To consider the use of Penalty Notices in line with Local Authority policies and procedures.

Assistant Head Teacher (AHT) with responsibility for attendance • To support the Attendance and Admissions Officer in delivering the policy on a day-today basis. • To meet with the Attendance and Admissions Officer regularly to monitor the systems and structures, ensuring they are having an impact on pupil attendance and punctuality. • To liaise with external agencies such as the Education Welfare and make referrals where necessary.

• To ensure that rewards and incentives for attendance and punctuality are being used. • Work with the SLT and teachers to plan for the reintegration of pupils after long term absence. • To ensure that termly Local Authority Returns are accurate. • To revise and amend the policy in consultation with the head teacher and other senior leaders. • To meet with parents whose children's attendance is giving course for concern. • To implement the Leave in Term Time programme in line with Local Authority policies and procedures. • To implement the Spotlight for Attendance programme in line with LA policies and procedures. • To liaise with and report to outside agencies such as the Education Welfare Service.

 Year Group Leaders • To address attendance and punctuality issues in Year Group Meetings. • To ensure their staff are promoting good attendance and punctuality and liaising with parents. • To ensure staff are following the systems and structures in this policy. • To maintain clear communication with SLT regarding attendance and punctuality.

Staff • To ensure quality first teaching every day; with lessons that are well planned and resourced so that they challenge, inspire and meet their learner’s needs. • To keep accurate and up-to-date daily records of pupil attendance through the register system. • To regularly remind children and parents about the importance of good attendance. • To feed back to parents about pupil attendance & punctuality regularly and at Parents' Evenings. • To communicate effectively with relevant staff regarding pupils’ absence.

Learning Mentor (with responsibility for Attendance and Home/School Liaison) • To liaise with the Assistant Head Teacher (with responsibility for attendance) and the Office Manager about attendance and admissions issues as required. • To collate and record information from parents/carers about pupil absence. • To record reasons for absence and update class registers accordingly. • To record the names of and the reasons for pupils arriving late. • To implement the daily checking of registers after the morning and afternoon registration sessions. • To anticipate absence before the start of school (from 8 am), by phoning parents of targeted children or children in targeted year groups, to check that they will be attending or what actions need to be taken if not. • To carry out and record the outcome of first day calls when a child doesn’t arrive at school when no reason has been received. • To contact parents/carers by letter if percentage attendance falls below 96%. • To maintain Attendance records in line with this policy. • To report to the Local Authority as requested. • To liaise with other staff, as required with regards to pupil attendance and punctuality. • To make home visits, on the direction of SLT, with an additional member of staff if further • To meet the criteria set out in the Job Description for their role.

Parents

• To ensure that their children receive a suitable full-time education from the age of 5. • To be responsible for making sure their children attend school regularly. • To ensure that their children arrive on time for school every day. • To contact the school if their child is unable to attend. • To ensure that the school has up-to-date contact details. • To work in partnership with the school and external agencies to promote good attendance and punctuality. • To complete request forms for Leave in Term Time and discuss with AHT before booking tickets.

Promoting and Rewarding Good Attendance

Aims: • To ensure good attendance and punctuality (above 96%) is regularly promoted and supported and remains high profile across school.  • To achieve high levels of attendance and punctuality (above 96%) through rewarding good attendance and punctuality.

Promoting and Supporting Good Attendance and Punctuality

Passport for Success Assemblies If children attend school every day and on time, this target on their Passport to Success is marked as being met.  This is checked by their class teacher every Friday.  If they meet this target, along with others on their Passport, they are given a raffle ticket which goes into a prize draw.  Prize tickets are drawn at our Passport to Success Assembly which takes place every half term. During this assembly, children who have achieved 100% attendance in that half-term are given a certificate.  Children who have ongoing high attendance are also recognised. Children who have achieved 100% for a whole year are awarded a prize.

School Letters Regular letters highlight the importance of good attendance and punctuality, reminding parents of our school attendance target and what that means in terms of number of days absent. We include information about any initiatives which the school is using to promote attendance and punctuality.

School Website The School Website includes information about school timings, attendance information and details of how parents can support the school by improving their child’s attendance and punctuality.

Breakfast Club Daily Breakfast Club is provided free of charge every day to all children in years 5 and 6 and some pupils in year 4 who attend extra reading sessions.  For other children, it is heavily subsidised.  This supports parents by allowing them to drop children off from 7.50am, ensuring they are on time for school. It is supervised by Learning Mentors, Breakfast Club Assistants and overseen by a member of the SLT.

The School Learning Environment and School Ethos A welcoming, organised learning environment that supports and celebrates its learners are key factors in ensuring children enjoy school and attend regularly. All staff ensure that their learning environments and classroom ethos support the values of the School in promoting good attendance and punctuality.

8:45am Children in all year groups are allowed to come in to school 10 minutes before school starts at 8:55am and go straight to classes. During this time children can select books to read from the classroom library.

The curriculum We have an exciting and engaging curriculum which ensures that children are enthusiastic about their learning and enjoy coming to school every day.

Pupil Leadership  ‘Pupil Leadership,’ in the form of school councillors, promote good attendance and punctuality through leading by example and by playing an active role in deciding the rewards the school offers.

Monitoring and Recording Attendance & Punctuality

Class Registers Class registers are recorded electronically. The system ensures that no children are missed and that pupil information can be shared quickly and securely. Registers are the only way of recording pupil attendance and must be completed accurately. This is the responsibility of whichever member of staff has been directed to take the register for that session. Registers can be re-submitted in the case of a mistake or a pupil arriving after submission, but registers must be accurate and submitted at key times (see below).  

Morning Register Class registers remain open until 9:05am, by which time they must be submitted.  If any child arrives in school after this time they must enter via the main entrance, collect a late slip from the office and present this to their teacher so that they know they have been registered as present. The children’s names and classes are recorded by the office on the ‘Absence and Lateness sheet’.  This is shared with the Learning Mentor responsible for attendance. This is to ensure that no children are missed on the register due to arriving in school late.   The Learning Mentor with responsibility for supporting attendance is available at this time to talk to parents about the reasons for late arrivals.  Lateness is monitored by the Learning Mentor and discussions are held to support with improving punctuality.

Afternoon Register Registers must be submitted by teaching staff straight after lunch before afternoon lessons commence. These should be done within 5 minutes of the children arriving back in class.

Monitoring First Day Absence If a child is absent from school and the school has not received a phone call or other message from the parent/carer a first day absence call will be made.  If there is no response from calls to parent’s phones, other contact names will be called or a home visit will be made, if the AHT decides it is necessary.  Reasons for absence are recorded on the register.

Attendance Meetings The AHT and the Learning Mentor discuss, on a daily basis, issues with attendance and decide on any necessary course of action to address these.  Children with attendance below 96% are a particularly focus for monitoring.  As well as individuals, classes, year groups and different ethnic groups are closely monitored to identify patterns and trends in absence and punctuality. A particularly close eye is kept on the attendance of disadvantage pupils. The systems and structures are then followed to improve attendance for these individuals or groups. Letters are sent out to parents whose children’s attendance is below 96% and parents who are concerned about their child’s attendance are invited to school to work in partnership for the child’s benefit. The school is always willing to share attendance with parents who are authorised to see it.

Systems and Structures to Tackle Attendance and Punctuality Issues

When children’s attendance and punctuality is a concern to the school the following systems and structures are followed.

System for Absence On the first day of absence Parents are called to enquire about a child’s wellbeing and to establish when the child will return. An  ‘I’ is entered for illness or ‘M’ for medical appointment on the register. If no contact can be made, emergency contacts are called. If contact cannot be made or acceptable reason cannot be established, absence is recorded as ‘U’ unauthorised.

On the fourth day of absence in any school year (authorised or unauthorised and not necessarily consecutive days) An ‘Attendance Concerns’ letter is sent out stating that medical proof will be needed to authorise any future absence.

After 3 more days of unauthorised absence following the ‘Attendance Concerns’ letter  An ‘Attendance Meeting’ letter is sent out stating that the parent must come in to school for a meeting with the AHT to address concerns.

If there are 20 sessions of unauthorised absence or attendance drops below 85% The Spotlight for Attendance programme is commenced, which may result in Penalty Notices being issues if attendance does not improve.

System for Extended Leave During Term Time

In line with Local Authority policy, leave for pupils during term time is not authorised except under exceptional circumstances. The school recognises that taking children out of school may constitute a safeguarding risk and will make necessary enquiries in order to be satisfied that the child is not at risk.

The school may contact outside agencies in order to ensure that a visit is legitimate and safe for the child/children.

School receives information that a pupil may be taking extended leave. (Could be via parent, pupil or teacher) Parents fill in ‘Leave in Term Time Request Form’. AHT meets with parents to establish details and ensure that there are no safeguarding concerns.   Consequences of taking children are explained and opportunities for changing travel arrangements are discussed.  Local authority policies are explained.  Parents are informed that the absence is unlikely to unauthorised.  The Local Authority Leave in Term Time procedures are then followed.

Other Systems for Tackling Attendance and Punctuality

‘Spotlight on Attendance’ Spotlight on Attendance is a Local Authority initiative that targets pupils with more than 20 instances of unauthorised absence. Parents are sent warning letters from the EWS informing them that they face penalty notices if attendance does not improve. The pupil’s attendance is then monitored by the school. Parents are called for formal meetings at the school if attendance does not improve. Following the meeting, if improvement in attendance does not occur the parents are prosecuted and face fines or, in extreme cases, custodial sentences.

Long Term Medical Absence  In some cases a pupil may be absent from school long term due to an illness or injury. The school liaises with families in order to ensure children return to school quickly and that there are no safeguarding concerns.  Where possible, care plans are put in place to allow children to return to school as quickly as possible.

On occasions where this is not possible the school will make a referral to the James Brindley School, which provides educational opportunities for pupils who are unable to attend their regular school.

Sanctions for Persistent Absence or Lateness If parents fail to send their children to school regularly and that absence from school is unauthorised parents can be prosecuted or may be made liable to a penalty notice for failing to ensure their children attend regularly at a school where they are registered pupils.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, Section 23 gives the Local Authority the power to issue Penalty Notices. These may be issued when parents fail to ensure their child attends schools without good reason, as defined by the law.

Fines are set at £100 per parent, per child, per offence. This will be reduced to £50 if the fine is paid within 28 days. If the fine is not paid by the end of a 42 day period parents will be taken to court under section 444 of the Education Act 1996.

In Birmingham, Penalty Notices are used to ensure parents fulfil their parental responsibility in making sure their children go to school. They are issued in accordance with the Birmingham Code of Conduct, which is available from Education Welfare Services.

 Education Supervision Order

A young person can be made the subject of an Education Supervision Order for persistent failure to attend school. This order empowers the supervising officer to make 'reasonable directions'. The Education Supervision Order will be superseded by a Criminal Supervision Order.

 In order for an Education Supervision Order to be made, the Education Welfare Service have to show that parents will co-operate with the conditions of the order.

School Attendance Orders This order names the school, which the Local Authority requires the young person to attend, in cases where the parent has failed to secure a school place. If the parent does not comply with the order, a fine may be imposed in the Magistrates Court.

Parenting Orders These orders may be made against parents or guardians to help them address the young person's offending behaviour or failure to attend school. Parents may be obliged to attend counselling or guidance sessions for up to 3 months, or to exercise particular controls over their children. Breach of the order is a criminal offence.

Anti-Social Behaviour Order This order can be applied for by the Police or Local Authority against an individual, aged 10 or over, or several individuals (including a family), whose behaviour is anti-social; i.e.: causes alarm, distress or harassment to one or more people. The orders are preventative and incorporate the use of prohibitions to prevent further acts. Breaches carry a penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment. Schools, seeing a possible need for this order, should liaise with the Police.