Attendance Information, Absence and Holidays

Parents and Carers

We want the very best for all our atudents and aim to create a welcoming and inclusive academy that encourages students to sttend every day. We expect that every student should aim for 100% attendance and achieves no less than 97%. our experience shows that with support from their family, this level of attendance is achievable for the vast majority of pupils. 

Why is good attendance important? 

Through regular attendance your child can:

  • Build and maintain friendships
  • progress with their learning
  • Participate in social activities
  • Develop life skills, increase their confidence and boost their self esteem

 

Where there are exceptional circumstances that may affect attendance, for example, long-term illness supported by medical evidence, school will set bespoke targets and work with parents to maximise attendance. We do this by recognising the unique challenges an individual student may face.

We have a large network of support services that we can signpost families to, so that the right support can be provided at the right time. 

Working together, we can give your child the very best chance of reaching their academic and social potential. 

When is Absence Authorised?

When a student is absent from school the absence will be recorded as either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’. 

Only school can decide which absences are authorised and this is then based upon the information you provide. 

Authorised absences are granted only for valid reasons such as:

  • Illness which is severe enough to warrant time away from school
  • Medical or dental appointments that cannot be made outside of school hours
  • Religious observance
  • family bereavement for a close relative

 

If the absence is recorded as authorised, no further action will be taken against you. However, we may still contact you to discuss ongoing causes of absence to see how we can support your child’s learning. 

What are Unauthorised Absences?

If the reason provided for absence is not regarded as essential or unavoidable, or if no reason is provided at all, the sessions your child has missed will be recorded as unauthorised. 

Unauthorised absences can include:

  • Shopping trips
  • Waiting in for a delivery
  • Family birthdays
  • Visiting relatives/visits from relatives
  • Family outings
  • Not having the correct school uniform (school can provide support)
  • Family holidays/leave of absence without exceptional circumstances

 

We rigorously monitor the attendance of all pupils and have a duty to pass on any concerns to the Local Authority, who may take legal action against parents if attendance does not improve. 

Our aim is to work with you and your child to overcome any issues that are a barrier to regular attendance and to prevent further action from being taken against you.  

What if my child is ill?

Pupils should only be absent from school if they have an illness that is severe enough to warrant staying at home. School can be a helpful distraction for pupils who are experiencing minor symptoms, and attending school often provides students with a sense of pride and resilience needed in later life.

We ask that you encourage your child to attend school and inform us of any ways we can support them in doing so, for example, issuing prescribed medication in line with medical advice. 

If your child has had a number of previous absences caused by illness, we may ask for medical evidence, for example a doctor’s appointment card, site of prescribed medication etc. to support the absence. We may also arrange for a member of staff to visit your child at home in line with our attendance guidelines.

Unfortunately, some students will say that they are ill when they do not want to attend school for other reasons, for example, when they have fallen out with a friend or have not completed their homework. If you feel this may be the case and there are no apparent signs of illness, please talk to your child and bring them to school. You will be able to inform our receptionist of your concerns and they will pass the information on to the relevant member of staff who can speak with your child and contact you as necessary. 

How do I report an absence?

If you are certain your child needs to stay at home or has a legitimate reason for being late, please contact the Academy on 01384 987973 and choose Option 1 to leave a voicemail.

You can also email the Attendance team where absence is known in advance, at attendance@tca.shirelandcat.net providing your child’s name, their year group, the cause of the absence and their expected return date. You should also send any medical evidence to this email address, for example appointment letters or prescribed medication. 

Please be aware all emails may take up to 48 hours to be actioned. If you need a response before this, please leave a message on the voicemail detailed above.

We may organise a home visit to see your child in line with our attendance procedures.

Students who attend school regularly make good progress.

There is an expectation that over the course of an academic year, a child’s attendance will be 96% or more (the national average). Absence that falls below 90% is categorised by the government as persistent absence.

Criteria for Persistent Absence

 90% attendance means that a child has been absent for the following number of sessions:
Half Term 17 or more sessions
Half Term 1 & 214 or more sessions
Half Term 1-320 or more sessions
Half Term 1-425 or more sessions
Half Term 1-531 or more sessions
Half Term 1-638 or more sessions

*A session is one half day and will count if a child misses a morning or an afternoon registration.

How can i help my child attend school?

We believe that good attendance begins at home.

Below are some ways that you can support your child with attending every day.

  • Take an interest in their learning. Know their timetable and support them with getting their equipment ready each evening.
  • Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of unnecessary absence from school.
  • Encourage your child to avoid unnecessary absence, for example, by taking time off due to minor illnesses that could be managed in school.
  • Do not be tempted to ‘cover up’ for your child if they are taking time off school for a reason that you do not agree with – be honest with us and talk to us about what support we may be able to provide.
  • Avoid taking holidays/leave of absence during term time.
  • Arrange medical appointments outside of school hours. If this is not possible, please support their learning by ensuring they attend school before and after the appointment.
  • Contact your child’s Session 1 teacher, Head of Year, or the Attendance Manager if your child is experiencing issues that are preventing regular attendance.

Punctuality matters too

Good punctuality is crucial for students to achieve their full educational potential and is vital for students to form good habits for later life. Punctuality records form part of references passed onto colleges, universities, and employers.

All students are expected to arrive on time to the Academy each day and to each lesson throughout the day. A register is taken at the start of the day during Session 1 and at the start of each subsequent lesson.

Students arriving late are recorded and sanctions will be issued to students who are persistently late. If this is a cause of concern for you child we will contact you to discuss any issues that may be preventing your child from arriving to school on time and offer support where appropriate.

The chart below shows the amount of lost learning caused by lateness.

 

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s punctuality, please contact your child’s Session 1 teacher, Head of Year or our Attendance Manager, Mrs Tugby who will be happy to provide support.

What does the law say about attending school?

Section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996 states:  

If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his/her parent is guilty of an offence.

Section 444 (1A) goes on to state:

If in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails to cause him to do so, s/he is guilty of an offence.

Therefore, once you have registered your child at a school, you are legally responsible for ensuring that your child attends school regularly. Failure to do so can result in legal action being taken against you by the Local Authority.

Legal action can involve a penalty notice (£120 fine per pupil, per parent reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days) or, in more serious cases, parents being prosecuted with a maximum fine of £2,500.

Leave of Absence

A change in education law states that Principals can no longer grant permission for any student to take a holiday/leave of absence during term time, unless:

  • Permission has been applied for in advance by the parent with whom the student usually resides
  • There are exceptional circumstances surrounding the application

All leave of absence requests must be made in writing to the Principal no later than 15 working days before the proposed leave is due to take place.  If permission is not requested by this time your child’s absence will automatically be recorded as unauthorised, as permission cannot be granted retrospectively.

In order to meet the criteria of ‘exceptional circumstances’ the request should be for rare, significant and unavoidable reasons. The period of absence being applied for should also be as short as possible. Reasons such as travel costs, weather conditions, or family work patterns are not classed as exceptional circumstances. 

We ask that you do not make any travel arrangements for your child without making a leave of absence request first, as permission is rarely granted.

The Local Authority will issue fines to anyone with parental responsibility for a child, even if they are not the person who takes their child out of school without permission. 

The National Framework is changing as of 19 August 2024. We have created this document to help inform you of the upcoming changes, which will impact the new academic year: Penalty Notice Fines For School Attendance.

We understand that booking family holidays during term time can be cheaper, even when taking the cost of fines into consideration. However, we ask that you consider the hidden costs of leave during term time. Taking just five days out of school means that your child will miss out on valuable learning which will not be repeated. ‘Catching up’ on work is difficult for all students, regardless of their current achievement levels. It can also affect their confidence and negatively influence their relationships with their friends.

We are here to help

We have a duty to work closely with the Local Authority regarding any pupils whose attendance is causing a concern. Our aim will always be to work with families and provide support where appropriate in order to prevent further action being taken.

We rigorously monitor the attendance and punctuality of every pupil on roll and will contact families to discuss concerns and work with you to overcome any barriers that are preventing regular and punctual attendance.

Our staff have the ability and expertise to offer a range of support strategies designed to assist families and effect positive outcomes. Staff can also signpost families to relevant external agencies and assist them in the process of accessing that support.

We are able and willing to support any family at any time and ask that you contact your child’s Session 1 teacher, Head of Year, or our Attendance Manager, Mrs Tugby if you are experiencing any difficulties or issues that we are not aware of.

Parents and Carers