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The Trinity Handbook

Attendance Policy

Attendance Policy (Years 7 - 11)

Introduction

This policy is written with reference to the Trinity Catholic School Mission Statement:

"This Catholic School will seek to educate the whole person, academically, morally, socially and spiritually through the example of Jesus Christ and the witness of committed capable teachers".(Mission Statement)

In order to fulfil our Mission, good attendance and punctuality are vital. There is a clear correlation between good attendance and positive attitudes towards behaviour and willingness to learn. The school is committed to working with pupils, parents and other relevant bodies to ensure that attendance is closely monitored, reported and rewarded, where appropriate.

Parental/Carer Report of Absence

There are two types of absence: those which are authorised by the school and those which are unauthorised. Parents should contact the school on the first and subsequent days of absence to inform us of the reason for the pupil’s absence. This may be in person, via telephone call, School Gateway or letter. Only persons with parental responsibility for the pupil can report an absence. The school then makes a judgement as to whether to authorise the absence.

Holidays in School Time

The Trinity School discourages holidays taken in school time as they disrupt learning. Family holidays should be organised within the thirteen weeks of school holiday. Amendments have been made to the 2006 regulations in the Education Regulations 2013. These amendments came into force on 1st September 2013.

Prior to September 2013, headteachers had the discretionary right to authorise family holidays taken in term time up to a maximum of ten days.  This was done on a case by case basis.  However, the rules changed as of September 2013.  The amendments make clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  These exceptional circumstances do not cover family holidays, regardless of any cost implications despite holidays in term time frequently cheaper than in the school holidays. 

If parents disregard these regulations the absence will be unauthorised and the school may apply for a penalty notice to be issued by the local authority in accordance with the Code of Practice and the Education (Penalty Notices) Regulations 2007.  The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. The payment must be paid directly to the local authority. The parents may be prosecuted if 28 days have expired and full payment has not been made.

There is no right of appeal by parents against a penalty notice. If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 28 day period the local authority must decide either to prosecute for the original offence to which the notice applies or withdraw the notice.

As holidays are unauthorised the school will not provide ‘holiday work’ in advance of the period of absence and neither will the school provide extra tuition on return.  

It is unacceptable for pupils to be taken out of school before or during examination periods.  Any public examinations missed through absence due to unauthorised absence may be charged to the parents. Fortunately this is exceptional at Trinity.

If any child is out of school without notice and permission we may conduct a welfare visit, just as we can for other absences.  If we cannot make contact we will follow the same procedures as we would for any other welfare concerns. 

Managing Persistent Absence

Patterns of absence are most likely to be spotted by Form Tutors and the Assistant Progress Co-ordinator. In the first instance pupils should be questioned about their non-attendance and in many cases it will be easily resolved. However, in some circumstances absence may be persistent in which case the Attendance Officer will work with the Assistant Progress Co-ordinator to analyse attendance and make contact with parents. They will be invited to school to discuss their child’s attendance. Occasionally, home visits may be made where there are concerns that telephone contact is not possible. If attendance does not improve after these measures have been taken, referrals to the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) will be made.

Since September 2012 The Trinity School has adopted a procedure with regard to the issue of fixed penalty notices for poor attendance and punctuality. A Penalty Notice is a suitable intervention in circumstances where the parent is judged capable of securing their child’s regular attendance or whereabouts but is not willing to take responsibility for doing so, for example where the parent has failed to engage with any voluntary or supportive measures proposed or fail to make adequate arrangements for the whereabouts of their child.

Where a child’s attendance is less than 90% the parent(s) / guardian(s) may be given formal written notification explaining the actions that may be taken, in particular that the case could result in a penalty and/or a prosecution.  The parent(s)/ guardians(s) will be allowed 15 school days to improve the situation before further notices or proceedings are commenced. If attendance remains unsatisfactory the school will apply to the Local Authority to issue a penalty notice on its behalf.  The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but with 28 days of receipt of the notice.  If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 21 day period the Local Authority must either prosecute for the offence to which the notice applies, or withdraw the notice.

Truancy

Pupils who are discovered to have truanted will be spoken to by the Progress Coordinator or Assistant Progress Coordinator and the Form Tutor will be informed of what has happened. Pupils will be asked for the reasons for their truancy to see if there are underlying problems as the root cause. Parents will be contacted and kept informed of events. As a punishment, the truant will be expected to make up the number of hours they have missed in school detentions. All incidents of truancy will be recorded as unauthorised.

Lateness

Any pupil who arrives in school after 8:50 is ‘late’. If the pupil arrives during form time s/he will be recorded as ‘late before the register has closed’ and those who arrive later will be recorded as ‘late after the register has closed’. This will be reported as an unauthorised absence. 

The school operates a ‘late gate’ on each site and those pupils who get three lates in one half term will receive a detention. Each subsequent late after this initial sanction will result in a further detention. The Assistant Progress Co-ordinator will endeavour to contact the parents/carers of any pupil in their year group who is persistently late in order to work collaboratively to resolve the problem.

Pupils at Trinity are expected to arrive on time.  Where punctuality becomes an issue of concern parents will be contacted, in the first instance, via telephone call and/or letter and punctuality must be considerably improved within a 10 day period.  Where punctuality is not improved, the school reserves the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a penalty notice on its behalf for any pupil registered ‘late after the register has closed’ (recorded as a U) five times in a four week period in accordance with the Nottingham Local Authority guidelines.

Rewards

Rewards and sanctions are used productively to encourage good attendance and punctuality. During the awards assembly at the end of the first half term certificates for 100% attendance in the previous year are issued along with prizes. In Lower School the forms are encouraged to compete to improve their attendance. The prize is given termly, with the highest achieving forms being rewarded.

Signing In and Out

Occasionally a pupil may need to ‘sign out’ of school to attend medical appointments, funerals etc. Where this is the case, parents must contact the school to account for why the pupil must leave and ensure their safe travel to their destination. It is preferable that parents/carers pick up their child since the school will not be held responsible for pupils ‘making their own way’ without responsibility for safety being assumed by the parent. At the time of leaving school the pupil must bring their parental permission note, signed by a member of the Senior Leadership Team to the office staff who will keep a written record of the name, form, time and reason for signing out. This will then be entered onto the school registration system so that a complete record of movements can be maintained. Similarly, when a child is late for school, for whatever reason, s/he must sign in at the office, stating their name, form, time of arrival and reason for lateness. Again, this will be recorded onto the attendance system.

Education Welfare Service Referrals

Education Welfare Service referrals are made regarding pupils with persistent absence who are not responding to the measures taken by the school. Procedures will then follow those laid down by the Education Welfare Service. The school will work with parents to help to improve attendance. In extreme cases, lack of attendance may result in prosecution.