mRs c CUNDY - Attendance Officer
Student Absence Line : 01933 231282
Every day matters!
At Sir Christopher Hatton Academy we ‘Aim for Excellence in all that we do’. Full attendance is vital for students to excel in school and parents/carers have a key role in promoting good attitudes towards attendance. We ask for the support of parents and carers in helping our children to be in school at every opportunity, ensuring that they have the very best chances in their education. Our students need to be in school on time every day and only be absent when absolutely necessary. Parents who make clear their commitment to education with their approach to attendance and punctuality give clear messages to their children which have positive effects throughout their school careers.
We monitor every student’s attendance closely and will follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers, by telephone, text or by letter. Where a student’s attendance record reaches a concerning level, we will contact parents and carers to discuss ways in which the Academy can support you and your child.
Of pupils who miss between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of school, only 35 per cent manage to achieve five A* to C GCSEs including English and maths. This compares to 73 per cent of pupils with over 95 per cent attendance achieving five A* to Cs including maths. Our Academy attendance target of 96.5% is the minimum that we expect for all students.
Students who are persistently absent are at a serious disadvantage in school. Not only do they miss lessons on the days when they are absent, but having missed learning the lessons will be more difficult on their return. Much of the work which is missed is not caught up immediately and the effects of their gaps in learning can still be apparent years later.
A student defined as a ‘Persistent Absentee’ is one who misses 10% or more of school, equivalent to one day off per fortnight for the year. The Department for Education reduced this threshold from September 2015 from 15% previously.
The Government recognises this problem and requires schools to refer parents of poor attenders for Fixed Penalty Notices (fines) or for prosecution. Fixed Penalty Notices are for £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 21 and 28 days.
For more information please see the links below.
What to do if your child is ill:
Student Absence Line : 01933 231282
If your child is too ill to attend the Academy, parents/carers should contact Mrs C Cundy, the Academy Attendance Officer as soon as possible by telephoning on 01933 231282. The telephone system allows callers to leave a message 24 hours a day.
Please give the following information
- your child’s name
- Form Group or Year Group if you are not sure
- the reason for the absence
- how long you expect the absence to last
We ask that you contact us each day that your child is absent even if you have given us an indication of how long the absence will last. This is an important part of our safeguarding.
On your child’s return following an absence, we may speak to them in a short ‘return to school’ meeting to support their learning and make plans for the time missed.
What to do if your child has an appointment:
All routine medical and other appointments must be arranged out of school time. In exceptional circumstances, where an urgent appointment is required or for hospital clinic appointments that operate during the day only, we require sight of an appointment card or letter in order to authorise any absence from school.
Automated calls and texts to parents/carers:
We take our safeguarding responsibility very seriously and automated calls and texts are made daily to the contact numbers of parents/carers if a student is absent from Period 1 where the Attendance Office has received no reason for absence. Calls and texts are made on a daily basis, even where your child has been absent due to illness on previous days. We cannot assume that your child is still ill unless you have notified us. We would not wish to put your child at risk by failing to contact you.
Please ensure your child realises the importance of attending registration on time and getting their present mark. Parents/carers can also help by ensuring that we hold up to date contact numbers and should wherever possible provide a mobile number.
All students are expected to arrive on time at the Academy, ready for lessons. Students should arrive for 8.25am. The first warning bell goes at 8.30am and students arriving after the second bell at 8.35am will be marked as late. The gates to the Academy from the Hemmingwell and Cedar Way close at 8.30am. After that, entry to the school is via the main entrance on The Pyghtle only. The academy operates a ‘late gate’ and students arriving on site after 8.35 can expect to receive a lunch time detention.
Any student arriving after registration must sign in at Student reception in the Learning Zone. Students will receive a lunch time detention unless they have a genuine reason. Reasons such as missing the bus, stuck in traffic, oversleeping or poor weather are not considered to be acceptable reasons for lateness as all of these can be planned for and avoided.
Parents and carers can help us by making sure that students leave home in good time and ensuring that if student gets a lift into school that plenty of time is allowed for traffic. The school site and canteen are open to students from 8.00am.
We would be grateful for your support in ensuring that your child arrives on time.
Leave of Absence (including term-time holidays)
Since 2013 Headteachers and Principals have not been able to grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Absence will not be authorised for reasons such as shopping for uniform, birthdays, day trips, weekends away etc.
There is a common misconception that any child is allowed to take 10 days holiday per year. This is not true. The government strongly urges parents/carers to avoid taking their children out of school for family holidays as this will disrupt their education.
Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence. Parents/carers should make any request well in advance in writing. Requests for absence for reasons such as compassionate leave, special family events, sporting or musical competitions, etc., should be made in the same way.
All requests are considered individually, taking into account the circumstances of the request. Other factors will be taken into account, such as:
- the time of year the student will be absent
- the attendance record of the student
- the number of previous requests for leave of absence
- the student’s ability to catch up
Parents will be notified of the Academy’s decision either by telephone or in writing.
Where a parental request has been refused, and parents continue to take their child out of school, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised. We reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This is a fine of £60 per parent for each child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent for each child if paid between 21 and 28 days. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court.
Academy Term Dates can be found here
Gov.uk Press Release 22 February 2015 – “Short breaks damage young people’s futures”
Celebrating Good Attendance
Good attendance is celebrated in assemblies with certificates and in our regular initiatives, such as Challenge 50 or the Easter Prize Draw.
We use our rewards system in school to celebrate and recognise good attendance. The threshold for what we consider to be good attendance is 96.5%. Form tutors are informed of their student’s attendance on a weekly basis and attendance figures are provided to parents at parent tutor day and in reports.
Support for Attendance
We monitor students’ attendance and punctuality very closely. We follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers by telephone and/ or by letter.
Where a student’s attendance reaches a concerning level, we will contact you by letter, telephone, or home visit to discuss ways in which we can work together to support you and your child. We may invite you to a meeting in school to discuss your child’s attendance and how the Academy can support you to improve this.
Monitoring Periods and Support Processes
The Academy has a responsibility to work with families to address attendance concerns. Where a student’s attendance continues to fall despite initial contact with parents/carers and the use of appropriate strategies to help improve attendance, the Academy will move to use our support process. The support process is a positive measure to help parents/carers to fulfil their legal responsibility to ensure the regular attendance of their child. Parents are invited to attend a parent contract meeting where target are set over a three week monitoring period.
Parents/carers have a legal duty to make sure their child attends school regularly. The Academy can make a referral to the Local Authority where parents/carers are failing in their legal duty. The Local Authority has the power to enforce school attendance where this becomes problematic, including the power to prosecute parents/carers who fail to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school. If found guilty, parents/ carers could be fined up to £2500 and/ or imprisoned for 3 months.
Penalty notices are fines of £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 12 and 28 days. They are an alternative to the prosecution of parents for failing to ensure their child attends school regularly.
BBC News Article “School truancies lead to rise in prosecution of parents”
Our Attendance Policy can be found here