At Parkside Middle School we take attendance very seriously and we work hard to help our pupils achieve 100% attendance. We discuss the importance of attendance in school with the children, in assemblies and lessons. We recognise that good attendance should be rewarded. Certificates for 100% attendance will be awarded each term and for 100% attendance each year. Rewards can be a strong motivator for students who have made efforts to improve a poor attendance record and individual rewards will be given.
We believe that:
- Regular attendance promotes the effective and continuous learning of all pupils.
- Regular attendance promotes positive friendships and well-being.
- Failing to attend school on a regular basis is a safeguarding matter.
- Good habits of attendance and punctuality will assist in developing self-discipline and responsibility in preparation for future employment.
Our Attendance and Inclusion Officer, Mrs. Askew, works closely with our Attendance team on day-to-day conversations with parents, telephone calls, first day calling and sending letters. The government has recently raised their persistent absence percentage to 90% and all schools/academies must show that they have a robust system in place to track and support any attendance which falls below this level.
Teachers monitor the attendance in their class carefully and any concerns are referred directly to our Attendance Team. If your child is unable to attend school for any reason, you must contact the school on the first day of absence to inform us. Please then remain in contact daily while your child is absent from school.
Reporting an Absence
If your child is unable to attend school, you should:
- Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence, preferably before 9.00am. Please make sure you state your child’s name, form, and the reason for absence.
- Continue to notify the school every day that your child is absent.
If your child is absent, we will:
- Telephone or text you on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you.
- Invite you to discuss the situation with our Attendance and Inclusion Officer if attendance becomes an issue.
- The Attendance and Inclusion Officer may visit you at home to discuss absences and complete a safeguarding check.
- Possibly refer the matter to the Education Investigation Service if attendance falls below 90%.
So that parents can benchmark their child’s attendance the Governing Body agree targets of attendance in line with national policy. These are outlined below:
Children whose attendance is less than 96% are monitored. Those students whose attendance has fallen below 94% are particularly vulnerable to becoming Persistently Absent students, as a result their attendance is monitored.
What does your child's percentage attendance mean? As a school our target attendance percentage is 96%.
Research has shown that 17 days (about 2 and a half weeks) of absence in a year result in a drop of one grade at GCSE
Reasons for absence
Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason and that are permitted under government guidelines like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies, or other unavoidable causes. Medical and Dental appointments, where possible, should be made for after school or during school holidays. Parkside Middle School understands that this is not always possible, however, students should attend school prior to or following a medical/dental appointment and avoid a full day’s absence.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the school and the Education Investigation Service using sanctions and/or legal proceedings.
- Parents/Carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
- truancy before or during the school day
- absences which have never been properly explained
- children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
- shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
- day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed.
- continuing absences with no medical evidence provided
School begins promptly at 8:50 am. If your child arrives after this time, they must report to the school office so we can mark them as present but late on the register. If your child has not arrived at school by 9:20, then a text/phone call will be made to establish why your child is not in school. It may be that they have arrived late and NOT reported to the office, but we still need to establish where they are. If you do not notify the school of the absence the mark given will be unauthorised.
Taking your child out of school during term time could be detrimental to your child’s educational progress. A pupil who takes 10 days absence will only attain 94.7% attendance in the year. They will also miss 50 hours of education.
There is NO entitlement for parents to take their child out of school during term time. There may be a time when you feel that you need to request leave for your child during term time. If this is the case, please contact Mrs. Askew for guidance about whether the circumstances are exceptional.
If the absence is not authorised and the holiday/leave of absence is taken any way, the case will be referred to the Education Investigation Service who may issue a Penalty Notice for £120 (or £60 if paid within 21 days to each parent for each child taken out of school.
An application for leave of absence can be obtained from the school office.
Please find below a link to Worcestershire County Council where you will find further information regarding school absence.
Parents are legally responsible for ensuring their children receive education in accordance with section 7 of the Education Act 1996 and if on a school roll that they regularly attend school.
This means that children must:
- • arrive at school on time
- • attend regularly
- • be suitably clothed
- • and be in a condition to learn.
All children between the ages of 5 and 16 (compulsory school age) are required, by law, to attend the school at which they are registered. Legal action can be taken if it is considered that a parent or carer is not fulfilling their parental responsibility to ensure their child receives a full-time education.
Failure to ensure regular attendance may result in the matter being placed before the Magistrates’ Court under Section 444(1a) of the Education Act 1996. Penalties can include fines up to £2,500 for each parent, consideration of a parenting order or a period of imprisonment.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced penalty notices as an additional sanction to address the problem of poor school attendance. This means that for pupils with unauthorised absence from school (i.e., any absence that the school has not given permission for) their parents or carers may be subject to a fine of up to £60 per parent for each child (increases to £120 if not paid within 21 days).
For more information from the Government please visit the following website:
It is important that you speak with the school at the earliest opportunity if you have any problems securing your child's attendance. The school and the Education Welfare Service will give you advice and support to help you fulfil your responsibility to secure improvement in your child's attendance.
Our School Attendance Policy can be viewed here.