St Mary Redcliffe Church of England Primary School

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Attendance

2020 - 21


Term 1

School Attendance Central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential is an assumption so widely understood that it is insufficiently stated – pupils need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. 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 government expects:

• Schools and local authorities to:

          • Promote good attendance and reduce absence, including persistent absence;

          • Ensure every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled; and,

          • act early to address patterns of absence.

• Parents to perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age who are registered at school attend regularly.

• All pupils to be punctual to their lessons.

 

Attendance

Part of being a parent means that we must ensure our children attend regularly at school. From 1 September 2020, we return to usual expectations and arrangements for telling us if your child is absent from school.

 

The government now knows much more about coronavirus (COVID-19) and so in future there will be far fewer children and young people advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of pupils will be able to attend school. You should note however that:

  • a small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19);
  • pupils who have travelled abroad and are subject to quarantine restrictions on return to the UK should not attend school until 14 days has passed;
  • shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding.

 

Reduce the risk of contact with someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)

Parents must ensure that their child does not come into school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or have tested positive in the last 7 days.

We will ensure that anyone developing symptoms during the school day is sent home. If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or high temperature, or has a loss of or change in their normal sense of taste or smell, they will be sent home. We will expect the child to:

  • follow ‘stay at home guidance’
  • self-isolate for at least 10 days
  • take a coronavirus test and report outcome to our admin team (admin@fielding.ealing.sch.uk)
  • other members of household, including siblings to self-isolate for 14 days

If a child is awaiting collection from school, they will be moved to our Welfare Room (which then becomes our Isolation Room):

  • They will be looked after by an adult, who will maintain a distance of 2m or will wear personal, protective equipment. The child will have access to their own bathroom, which will then be cleaned and disinfected before use by others.

 

Use NHS Test and Trace process, as follows:

Parents should:

  • book a test if their child is displaying symptoms. Staff and pupils must not come into the school if they have symptoms, and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit
  • provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace
  • self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.

 

Parents should tell us immediately of the results of a test:

  • if someone tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.
  • if someone tests positive, they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 10-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.

 

We will take swift action when we become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). We will take immediate advice from the DfE and/or local health protection team. This team will also contact schools directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace. The DfE and/or health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.

 

Containing any outbreak

If the school has a confirmed case or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, there may be an outbreak in our school community.

 

In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site, year group or class bubble.

  • Parents are encouraged to have plans in place for childcare just in case class or year group 'bubbles' are closed with very short notice.

 

Where transmission risks are minimised, whole school closure based on cases within the school will not generally be necessary, and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.

 

In consultation with the local Director of Public Health, where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, in line with routine public health outbreak control practice.

 

 

Regular attendance

Regular attendance at school promotes pupils’ well-being, maximises progress in learning and helps pupils reach their potential. The attendance pattern for all children is monitored weekly with the school seeking to work actively with parents to ensure a regular pattern is maintained. One of our basic principles is to celebrate success. Good attendance is fundamental to a successful and fulfilling school experience. It is our duty to promote 100% attendance for all children. For our children to take full advantage of the educational opportunities offered it is vital that our pupils are at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.

 

All children have the right to an education and we have put in place appropriate procedures to support this. We believe that the most important factor in promoting good attendance is development of positive attitudes towards school and learning.

 

Good attendance is important because:

  • statistics show a direct link between under-achievement and absence below 95%
  • regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically
  • regular attenders find school routines, school work and friendships easier to cope with
  • regular attenders find learning more satisfying
  • regular attenders are most successful in transferring between primary school, secondary school, higher education and employment or training

 

The Governing Body and Head teacher, in partnership with parents have a duty to promote full attendance at school.

 

Absence during term time

Background

For term-time pupil absences, the Education (pupil registration) (England) (amendment) Regulations 2013, which came into force on 1 September 2013, removed all references to ‘family holidays’ and ‘extended leave’ as well as the ‘notional threshold of 10 school days’ authorised absence.

 

The 2013 amendments made it clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless ‘exceptional circumstances’ prevail. The regulations also state that head teachers should determine the number of school days a pupil can be away from school in the event that leave is granted for ‘exceptional circumstances’.

 

This information seeks to help clarify the meaning of ‘exceptional circumstances’ and outline some guiding principles to aid the head teacher’s decision-making process while offering parents a consistent and fair approach to requests for any term-time absence.

 

The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional circumstances’ are that they are ‘rare, significant, unavoidable and short’.

 

Guiding principles

  1. Term times are for education.  This is the priority.  Children and families have 175 days off school to spend time together, including weekends and school holidays. The head teacher will rightly prioritise attendance.  The default school policy is that absences will not be granted during term time and will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances.
  2. The decision to authorise a pupil’s absence is wholly at the head teacher’s discretion based on their assessment and merits of each request.
  3. If an event can be reasonably scheduled outside of term time then it would not be normal to authorise absence for such an event, for example: 
    1. holidays or other travel, including as a result of parental work commitments, are therefore not considered ‘exceptional circumstances’;
    2. leave which is taken because of the availability of cheaper fares or other costs are not regarded as exceptional circumstances;
    3. claims of illness as a reason for a delayed return, particularly after normal school holidays will not be considered unless accompanied by travel tickets dated before the school opens or other agreed dates.  Medical documentation from abroad will not normally be accepted unless accompanied by travel documents indicating travel dates prior to school reopening.
  4. Absences to visit seriously-ill relatives or for a bereavement of a close family member are usually considered to amount to ‘exceptional circumstances’, but for the funeral service and travelling time only, not for extended leave.  Absence will only be authorised if the head teacher is satisfied that the circumstances are truly exceptional.
  5. Absences to attend a wedding may be exceptional if the head teacher is satisfied that there is a persuasive reason for holding the wedding during term time and there will be an onus on parents to show clear evidence that this absence is absolutely an exceptional circumstance. In difficult family situations the head teacher may use his discretion in granting leave and each case should be addressed on its individual merits, taking into account the overall welfare of the child.
  6. Absences for important religious observances are often taken into account, but only for the ceremony and travelling time, again, not for extended leave. This is intended for one-off situations rather than regular or recurring events.
  7. The needs of the families of service personnel will be taken into account if they are returning from long operational tours that prevent contact during scheduled holiday time.
  8. Reasonable adjustments for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities will be made and may result in a leave being grated as an exceptional circumstance.
  9. Families may need time together to recover from a trauma or crisis, including where an absence from school is recommended by a health professional as part of a parent or child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue.
  10. When making absence-related decisions, the head teacher will consider:
    1. a pupil’s record of attendance for the current and previous academic years;
    2. time of absence being taken in the school year.  If the request is made to extend the beginning or end of a school holiday period, it is unlikely to be considered exceptional.
  11. The head teacher can determine the length of the authorised absence as well as whether a particular absence is authorised.

 

The following factors may also help the head teacher to reach a decision:

  • number of school days being missed;
  • any exceptional term-time leave requested and/or taken in previous academic years for a similar purpose;
  • whether alternative care arrangements been considered by the parent to limit the time away from school;
  • impact on any interventions, assessments or referrals being undertaken with the child or family, for example, family support, social care assessments, CAMHS, SEN;
  • the potential impact that the absence will have on the child;
  • whether the absence falls within any key stage national tests or exams.

 

Procedures

  • A parent should complete an application form for term-time leave in good time.  The parent with whom the pupil normally resides must make the application.   
  • Leave may only be granted where proper procedures have been followed and the permission given.  
  • Tickets and/or other travel arrangements should not be booked prior to discussion with and agreement of the school.
  • Parents should not confuse telling the school with having permission.
  • Where the school and the parents fail to reach an agreement and the child is then absent from school the absence will be marked as unauthorised. Unauthorised absences are an offence and can be liable to legal action or a fixed penalty fine.  
  • Extended absences may put your child’s school place at risk.
  • In the event of an emergency when you have to take leave urgently, taking children, then you should inform the school or have the school informed immediately.  Leave of absence cannot be granted retrospectively and evidence other than your word may be asked for.
  • Parents are warned that if they take their child out of school without permission the Local Authority has the power to issue Fixed-Penalty Notices in respect of unauthorised absences.
  • Penalty notices can be issued to each parent and for each child.  The Penalty is £120 payable within 28 days but reducing to £60 if paid within 21 days.  (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2004).

The impact of children arriving in school on time

School attendance: Is your child missing out?
 

 

 

In a week means missing …….

 

Over a year means missing ……….

 

Over the seven years of primary school means missing………

 

100% attendance

No days

No weeks

No learning at all!

 

90% attendance

½ a day

Almost 4 weeks

Over 4 terms

 

80% attendance

1 day

Over 7 weeks

1 school year and 2 terms

 

70% attendance

1 ½ days

11 weeks

More than 2 years

 

60% attendance

2 days

Over 15 weeks

2 years and 4 terms

 

50% attendance

2 ½ days

Almost 20 weeks

3 ½ years

 

Gates open at 8.45am. School starts at 9am though teachers are in class from 8.45am and there are learning activities from then.

 

SMRP Attendance Policy

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