TO REPORT AN ABSENCE PLEASE CALL 01621 816526 AND PRESS NUMBER 2 AT THE SWITCHBOARD
Thurstable School is committed to providing a full and efficient educational experience to all its students. We believe therefore that if students are to benefit from education, good attendance is crucial. As a school, we organise and do all we can to ensure maximum attendance for all students. Any problems that impede full attendance are identified and addressed as speedily as possible.
Our school gives a high priority to conveying to parents and students the importance of regular and punctual attendance not just for maximising academic attainment, but also for setting a positive pattern which we believe will benefit each individual student when they leave the educational community for the world of work. We recognise that parents have a vital role to play and that there is a need to establish strong home-school links and communication systems that can be utilised whenever there are concerns about attendance.
The School staff set a good example in matters of attendance and punctuality and will promptly investigate all absenteeism and lateness.
We work in partnership with parents and students to resolve issues, which affect attendance or punctuality as quickly as possible and we report students’ attendance at least annually to parents. Students who give cause for concern, owing to persistent absenteeism or lateness will be identified by the Head of Year and concerns will be communicated with home.
Expectations of Students
Students must ensure that they attend school regularly and on time.
Students will attend all lessons punctually.
Students can expect to be welcomed and receive assistance following periods of absence in order to catch up.
Students will be listened to and respected.
Students will have individual records of attendance/punctuality acknowledged by the school via our rewards systems where appropriate.
The role of the parent/carer
Parents/carers are responsible for ensuring their child regularly and punctually attends school properly dressed, equipped and in an appropriate condition to learn.
Parents/carers are responsible for informing the Student Services Office at the school of the reason for any absence by telephone call on the first morning of any absence. This must then be confirmed in writing when their child returns to school by means of a written parental note to be given to the tutor (consideration will be given regarding our procedures where parents have difficulty with the written word, or where English is not the first language).
If attendance problems do develop, the school expects parents to work actively with school staff and the Education Welfare Service, to solve them.
The lead professionals on attendance
The lead professionals in school are the Tutors, Learning Relationships Coordinators, Heads of Year, the Attendance Officer and the Pastoral Head who work in conjunction with the EWO and the LA as directed.
Leave of Absence in term time
Parents do not have a right to take children on holiday in term time. As specified by the LA, any exceptional leave of absence must be granted in advance by the school. Any application will be considered against the student’s attendance record, family circumstances, timing with regard to assessments and examinations and any other extenuating circumstances.
Where no extenuating circumstances are offered as justification, the school reserves the right to refuse any application for leave in view of the impact which any time away from school has on the academic progress of the student concerned.
The Pastoral Head with the authority of the Headteacher will grant or deny any application for Exceptional Leave of Absence.
Exceptional Leave of Absence forms are available from Student reception and have the guidelines for application for leave detailed on them. The completed forms must be presented to the Student Services Office no later than one week prior to the first proposed day of the absence.
Should parents/carers allow students to take unauthorised leave, the parental information warns that a potential fine could be levied.
Tracking of attendance and Reporting
The School has a tiered intervention system for attendance which acknowledges good attendance and also monitors students who are in danger of allowing their attendance record to impede their academic progress.
Gold Tier: Fewer than 5 days absence
Green Tier: Between 5-10 days absence
Amber Tier: Between 10 – 15 days absence
Red Tier: More than 15 days absence (Persistent Absentees)
Students identified as moving in a downward trend between the tiers are reported to, HOY by the school Attendance Officer via a weekly meeting and reported statistics. This therefore helps each year group to track and intervene in line with attendance targets.
After 3 days absence: The attendance officer notifies the HOY that the student concerned is in danger of needing a letter to be sent home.
After 4 days absence A letter is sent, signed by the HOY, detailing the potential implications on the education of the student concerned of the absences.
After 6 days absence: The attendance officer notifies the HOY that the student is in danger of entering “Amber” status.
After 8 days absence A letter is sent, informing of potential meeting if the attendance issues are not clarified/notified/addressed.
After 10 days absence HOY and Pastoral Leader made aware by attendance officer.
After 12 days absence Parent/Carer invited to meet to discuss issues face to face. EWO informed of concerns.
After 20 days absence SAM meeting held with LA EWO. Possible referral.to EWS
Students maintaining a high attendance level are rewarded on a weekly basis by their tutors using rewards appropriate to the school’s reward system.
Parents can expect the school to keep them informed of their child’s attendance/punctuality record whether it is improving or should it be in danger of impeding their child’s academic progress. This is the responsibility of the Head of Year/LRC.
Reporting Trends with Regard Key Minority Groupings
Thurstable School realises that certain students may be prone/vulnerable to poor attendance, with all of the academic difficulties which could ensue. Thurstable School will therefore report on each of the following groups to ensure that equal access and support is being monitored.
Working with the LA Educational Welfare Officer
In addition to the correspondence which is sent to parents/carers of students who are a cause for celebration/concern on a monthly basis, all Heads of Year will liaise with the Educational Welfare Officer appointed to the school on a weekly basis. This will enable the school to identify potential Persistent Absentee (PA) students (students who will have not attended for no more than 32 days over the course of the academic year) and encourage effective liaison with the EWO to ensure that other students who may require further interventions through formal attendance meetings with parents/carers and the EWO are targeted in a proactive, fair and structured manner.
At Thurstable School a lesson-by-lesson electronic registration system is used. We also have a manual ‘back up’ system for morning and afternoon registration. The actual register cases will be returned to the school office at the end of the registration period for safety and are used to communicate notes and hand out letters and posters.
All notes from parents regarding a student’s absence will be stored on the student’s file and retained for one year.
Thurstable School staff will complete accurate registers five minutes after the beginning of each morning and afternoon session and within 15 minutes of the start of each lesson.
Registration begins at 8.35am each school day and registers will be called within 5 minutes. Should a student not be present to answer their name being called they will be marked as being absent by the staff member
If a student arrives after their name has been called they will be marked as having arrived late. Should students not attend the tutor period at all, they must report to student reception and sign the appropriate ‘signing in sheet’. These sheets are colour coded for each year group.
Where students are deemed persistently late to registration, appropriate sanctions will be issued by the Head of Year and future punctuality monitored. Should a student persist in their lateness, the Head of Year will liaise with both the parents/carers of the appropriate student and also inform the Attendance Officer / Pastoral Head (as appropriate) of any developments.
If the above actions do not elicit an explanation for the absence and the absence continues, a further letter will be sent to the parents/carers.
If this letter does not elicit an explanation for the absence, the school’s Education Welfare Officer will be informed and the parent may be invited in to the school for a meeting. This meeting will be to identify and resolve the difficulties which are preventing the student from attending school. The parents/carers will be made aware of the legal requirements regarding school attendance. The Heads of Year in liaison with the Pastoral Head will exercise their professional judgement when deciding to make a referral to the Educational Welfare Service. Each case has it’s own sensitivities and needs and is judged on a case by case basis.
Truancy from school
Staff members must take a register for their teaching groups during the period when they teach each group. Where a register suggests a child should be present but the child has not presented to the lesson, the staff member must send a “student absent” email which will alert medical and pastoral staff that a student is potentially truanting a lesson. Should medical / pastoral staff receive such an email, they can then respond should a student be in their presence. If a student is still unaccounted for, the Attendance officer/LRC will contact home to raise concerns.
Should a student be discovered to have been truanting from a lesson during the school day, that student will be expected to make up the time which they have missed from their studies with the subject teacher whose lesson was truanted. Should a student be found to have truanted a sequence of lessons on any school day, the appropriate LRC, Attendance Officer and/or Pastoral Head will be notified of the absence by the classroom teacher. This may result in a student being placed on an attendance report which will be monitored by the LRC for the relevant year group.
In the event of a student being reported as missing from lesson, the LRC for that year group will be contacted by the member of staff noting the absence of the student. The LRC will ask the Attendance Officer to contact home, having first checked with the school medical room and also the Attendance Officer/ Student Receptionist to see whether there may be a reason for the missing lesson mark. The school understands the importance of contacting the parent/carer in view of the potential safeguarding implications of a child going missing from lessons.
Classifying Absences from school
THE DFEE CIRCULAR NUMBER 10/99 STATES THAT PARENTS MAY NOT AUTHORISE ABSENCE, ONLY SCHOOLS CAN DO THIS.
Absence for the following reasons could be authorised where parents have confirmed the absence in writing on the child’s return to school (consideration should be given to procedures where parents have difficulty with the written word, or where English is not the first language):
Unavoidable medical/dental appointments
Days of religious observance
Exceptional family circumstances i.e. bereavement
If permission for absence has been granted in advance by the Head Teacher
Transport arranged by the LEA has failed to arrive where the student lives beyond statutory walking distance
Absence may be recorded as unauthorised when due to:
Keeping Governors Informed
Attendance data is shared on a termly basis with governors as a part of the “Governor’s Student-Related” meetings, during which whole-school and individual trends are discussed.