The Governors and staff at Rossett School are committed to providing a full and effective education for all students to ensure they achieve their potential in all that they do.
To this end, we will do all we can to ensure that all students attend regularly and that any problems which impede this are identified and acted upon as soon as possible.
The legal framework
Under The Education Act 1999, parents are responsible for ensuring that children of compulsory school age receive full-time education. Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their child’s regular attendance at the school where they are registered.
If a child of compulsory school age who is registered at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, the parent is guilty of an offence under this Act.
At Rossett we firmly believe that all students benefit from regular school attendance. The aim of this guidance is to minimise the amount of time lost due to absence in order to maximise the educational potential of every student. This can be achieved with the support of parents by ensuring absence, including holidays, is not taken during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’*.
At Rossett, in order for an attendance record to be deemed good, it must be 96% or above:
- 100% Excellent Attendance
- 98% Very Good Attendance
- 96% Good Attendance
Each year, a number of students from every year group achieve 100% attendance, emphasising that it is an achievable target. Some achieve this level of attendance year upon year.
Absence during term time, for any reason, interrupts a student’s education and risks disrupting their educational progress.
Government figures show:
- 93%+ attendance will give students a 73% chance of achieving 5+A*-C GCSEs, whatever their ability
- Below 90% attendance will give students only a 27% chance of achieving 5+A*-C GCSEs, whatever their ability
- 90% attendance sounds quite good but…..one day off in ten over five years equals 95 days which is 19 weeks and equates to half a school year.
In November 2015 the DfE announced that secondary schools were shown to have an average attendance of 94.8%; at Rossett School we strive for excellence and, as a result, our attendance overall was 96% for 2015-16 and 96% for 2016-17.
Rossett School, in line with the DfE guidelines (2015), recognises that any student with an attendance level of 90% or less will be classed as a ‘Persistent Absentee’ – this level of absence will trigger intervention by our Attendance Officer.
By law parents have a duty to educate their children by ensuring regular attendance at school or otherwise.
In order to facilitate this process, parents with children at Rossett are expected to:
- inform school by telephone (01423 564444) on the first morning of any absence before 9.30am
- provide a note to cover the absence on the child’s return to school
- ensure that their child gets to school on time
- ensure that their child catches up on missed work to avoid ‘gaps’ in their knowledge.
- not take family holidays during term time
Only the Headteacher may authorise such absences. Absences without permission from school will be registered as unauthorised (equivalent to truancy).
* ’Exceptional Circumstances’ include:
- illness of student (School may request that medical evidence be provided eg medical appointment cards, prescriptions or medicines) in order to class this as ‘authorised absence’. Our designated First Aid & Health Officer is also available for advice and guidance on illness if parents are unsure whether to send their child to school.
- representative event (for example sport, music or school)
- religious observance
- family bereavement (immediate family)
- family crisis
- employer/further education/school interview
Any other ‘exceptional circumstances’ will be at the discretion of the Headteacher and a student’s attendance record will be taken into account when deciding whether or not to grant permission for absence.
‘Exceptional Circumstances’ DO NOT include:
- looking after siblings
- birthday or other celebrations
- attendance at local events eg Great Yorkshire Show
The school will:
- contact parents on the first day if there is unexplained absence
- consult parents if it is felt that absence is affecting progress
- encourage punctuality and good attendance through the merit system
- discuss with parents any problems with attendance and punctuality
- liaise with the LA over specific attendance issues where necessary
- instigate intervention for ‘Persistent Absentees’ – this level of absence will trigger intervention by our Attendance Officer. Attendance intervention will include monitoring and setting targets for students, contacting parents and inviting parents into school for meetings.
In cases where a student’s attendance is consistently poor despite the above, the school may decide to initiate ‘fast track’ proceedings which may result in parent prosecution.
Attendance records will be taken into account when considering a student’s participation in extra-curricular activities, including school trips. Attendance records are also used when writing references for future employers, colleges or universities.
ABSENCE IN TERM TIME
Regulations and Guidance
The Department for Education has issued new advice regarding absence from school and prosecution. Previously the Headteacher was allowed to grant permission for holidays in term time but recent amendments (in force from 1 September 2013) make it clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. If leave is granted the Headteacher can also determine the number of school days a child can be away from school.
The school will therefore consider requests for absence during term time if there are exceptional circumstances. Each request will be judged on a case by case basis taking into account individual circumstances, such as a particular family situation, the child’s attainment, previous attendance, ability to catch up on missed schooling and proximity of key dates for tests and examinations.
Requests for absence in term time must be made six weeks prior to the event and in writing on the request form which is available from the school. ‘Unauthorised absence’ is the equivalent of truancy.
Parents may be required to attend an interview to discuss their request for term time absence. A student’s progress will be considered as part of this process.
Parents will be notified of the decision for an absence in term time within ten school days of the date of the application.
The Headteacher may grant, in ‘exceptional circumstances’, one period of absence per academic year for holidays in term time. For example:
- for service personnel who are prevented from taking holidays outside term time
- the student’s attendance has been below 95% for the previous twenty school weeks.
- the student already has unauthorised absence.
- the period of leave requested coincides with the first two weeks of the start of term, or exams, or other significant events in the school calendar.
With respect to any leave of absence taken in term time:
- if this is authorised it will be recorded as such on the school attendance registers.
- if the Headteacher does not authorise leave of absence and the parents take their child on holiday this will be recorded as unauthorised absence ie truancy.
Should a student fail to return to school within ten school days of the agreed return date and there is no communication from parents the school may remove the student from the school roll.