Valley Gardens MIddle School
Attendance and Punctuality Policy
Our school aims to meet its obligations with regard to school attendance by:
- promoting excellent attendance and reducing absence, including persistent absence;
- ensuring every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled;
- acting early to address patterns of absence
We will also support parents to perform their legal duty to ensure their children of compulsory school age attend regularly, and will promote and support punctuality in attending lessons. At Valley Gardens Middle School we endeavor to encourage all of our students to achieve a 100% attendance. Excellent attendance is central to raising standards and is a major factor in students reaching their full potential. Absence leaves students vulnerable to falling behind.
- Attendance of 95% for the year equals 10 days that a child has been absent, that is 2 full school weeks of a child’s learning missed for that year.
- Attendance of 90% for the year equals 19 days that a child has been absent, that is almost 4 school weeks missed.
- Attendance of 85% for the year equals 29 days that a child has been absent, that is almost 6 school weeks missed.
- Attendance of 80% for the year equals 38 days absent per year that is over 7 school weeks missed.
If there are factors influencing a student’s attendance, we will investigate, identify, and work closely with parents and students to resolve these issues as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Every member of the school community should make attendance a high priority and this should be conveyed to students and parents.
- Promote an environment where all pupils feel valued and welcome
- Display a rigorous whole school attendance ethos
- Pursue full attendance and excellent ethos
- Put mechanisms in place to monitor attendance and punctuality
- Maintain effective communication between parents/carers, students and the school
- Promote equality and opportunity for all students
- The school will examine its attendance figures and set challenging targets. These will be in line with national and North Tyneside attendance targets.
- The attendance and punctuality policy contains all the procedures required to meet the school’s attendance targets
- Attendance will be monitored on a regular basis and intervention strategies put in place to address and enhance identified attendance issues
- Systems in place to monitor attendance and punctuality will be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that it is achieving its set goals
- attend school fully equipped and ready for lessons every school day;
- be punctual and arrive at all lessons on time;
- be present at both morning and afternoon registrations;
- discuss with their Form Tutor (in the first instance) any issues that may be affecting their attendance
- understand that it is their responsibility to ensure that their child (children) of compulsory school age attends school regularly;
- be contactable. Parents are to ensure that they provide the school with an up to date address, telephone number and email address. Parents must contact school immediately if there are changes to contact details;
- ensure their child (children) arrives at school by 8.30 am to ensure a prompt start to the morning session;
- contact school by ????? to inform the office staff of any absence via telephone 0191 2008792 extension 200;
- provide a note explaining the reasons for the absence of their child on their return to school the following day;
- contact their child’s Form Tutor (in the first instance) as soon as possible if there any issues or concerns surrounding attendance;
- make routine medical and dental appointments outside of the school day, wherever possible;
- be aware that the Headteacher can no longer grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances (each situation will be considered on an individual basis).
Students who are taken out of school in term time without permission will be given an unauthorized absence mark and may be referred to the Attendance and Placement Service should their attendance fall below 90%
The school will:
- contact school at the earliest opportunity when a student fails to attend school and no explanation has been received;
- prioritise those students known to have previous unauthorized absences or who are disadvantaged;
- deal with any known issue or problem that may affect a student’s attendance;
- promote a positive attitude in order to encourage full attendance across the whole school;
- discourage holidays taken in term time as this impacts on the student’s academic progress;
- not authorize an absence where there are reasons to believe that the student has been on holiday in term time;
- provide support and implement flexi-school arrangements for students returning from long term absence where necessary;
- ensure that a student is not removed from roll until the Attendance Officer has confirmed with the new school that they are attending. The Attendance Officer will then liaise with relevant members of staff and advise that the student can be taken off roll.
The Form Tutor
The Form Tutor must:
- refer any issues around attendance of individuals to the Head of Year in the first instance and then if necessary to the Attendance Officer;
- contact parents if a letter explaining the reasons for absence haven’t been received after a week;
- liaise closely with the Attendance Officer and highlight any significant patterns of non-attendance.
The school is required to keep an attendance register, and all pupils must be placed on this register. We operate an electronic registration system on Sims.
Completing a register
- The attendance register will be taken at the start of the first session of each school day and once during the afternoon session.
- Students present during registration time 8.40 – 8.50 am and 1.05 – 1.15 pm should be marked in Sims with a “\” or “/” code
- Students absent during registration (i.e. not seen by the Form Tutor) must be marked with an “N” code. Under no circumstances should the “O” code be used
- Students who are late i.e. those arriving after 8.50 am or 1.15 pm should report to the main school office where the office staff will indicate lateness with an”L” in the register
- When the register is saved UNDER NO CIRCUNSTANCES SHOULD A BLANK SPACE BE LEFT. Codes already entered e.g. P for sporting activity into the register, must not be overwritten
- Form Tutors will be informed on a regular basis to address any unexplained absences with students in their form
- Registration must take place between 8.40 – 8.50 am and logged on SIMS
- Students arriving after 8.50 am are late and should be marked as such on SIMS. If the system is inaccessible, a paper copy (obtained from the school office) must be completed and returned to the school office immediately after registration. Students arriving after the registration period MUST enter through the main entrance and report immediately to the school office staff
- Any absence notes should be collected in and these should be marked on SIMS according to the registration codes
- All notes should be kept and filed
Covers situations where two institutions have shared responsibility for the education of a specific student. This should be recorded as a “D”
- Parents must notify the school on the first day of an unplanned absence – for example, if their child is unable to attend due to ill health – by 9.40??? or as soon as practically possible.
- Absence due to illness will be authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness.
- If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school may ask parents to provide medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note, prescription, appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. We will not ask for medical evidence unnecessarily.
- If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents will be notified of this in advance.
Medical or dental appointments
- Missing registration for a medical or dental appointment is counted as an authorised absence; advance notice is required for authorising these absences.
- However, we encourage parents to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary.
- Applications for other types of absence in term time must also be made in advance. Information relating to whether the school can authorise such absences can be found in section 4.
Following up absence
The school will follow up any absences to ascertain the reason, ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary, identify whether the absence is approved or not and identify the correct attendance code to use.
- The decision on whether or not to issue a penalty notice ultimately rests with the headteacher, following the local authority’s code of conduct for issuing penalty notices. Penalty notices may be used to address unauthorized absence in the following circumstances:
- Where the parent(s)/carer(s) has chosen to take their child on holiday during term time when attendance is already low
- Where the student is persistently late for school after the register has closed
- In cases where the parent(s)/carer(s) fails to work with the school and the Attendance and Placement Service to improve attendance.
Penalty notices will be used where a pupil has 10 or more unauthorized absences in 100 sessions prior to the request for a Penalty Notice to be used.
- The attendance officer monitors pupil absence on a weekly basis and reports concerns about attendance to the Headteacher
- The Attendance Officer works with education welfare officers to tackle persistent absence and advises the Headteacher when to issue fixed-penalty notices
- Parents are expected to call the school in the morning if their child is going to be absent due to ill health
- The persistent absence threshold is 10%. If a pupil's individual overall absence rate is greater than or equal to 10%, the pupil will be classified as a persistent absentee. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any student’s educational prospects and the school expects the support and cooperation of parents/carers to tackle this. Any case that is seen to have reached the PA mark, or is at risk of moving towards this mark, is given priority. Parents/carers will be informed of this by letter and, where appropriate, will be invited to a meeting with the Head of Year and the Attendance Officer in order to set targets for attendance and to explore opportunities to support the student and their families. PA students are tracked and monitored carefully through our pastoral system.
- Pupil-level absence data is collected each term and published at national and local authority level through the DfE's school absence national statistics releases. The underlying school-level absence data is published alongside the national statistics. The school compares its attendance data to the national average, and shares this with governors.
Roles and responsibilities
The governing body
The governing body is responsible for monitoring attendance figures for the whole school on at least a termly basis. It also holds the headteacher to account for the implementation of this policy. ???????? is the link governor responsible for attendance
The headteacher is responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented consistently across the school, and for monitoring school-level absence data and reporting it to governors.
The headteacher also supports other staff in monitoring the attendance of individual pupils and issues fixed-penalty notices, where necessary.
Links with other policies
This policy is linked to our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
Pupil is present at morning registration
Pupil is present at afternoon registration
Pupil arrives late before register has closed
Off-site educational activity
Pupil is at a supervised off-site educational activity approved by the school
Pupil is attending a session at another setting where they are also registered
Pupil has an interview with a prospective employer/educational establishment
Pupil is participating in a supervised sporting activity approved by the school
Educational trip or visit
Pupil is on an educational visit/trip organised, or approved, by the school
Pupil is on a work experience placement
Authorised leave of absence
Pupil has been granted a leave of absence due to exceptional circumstances
Pupil has been excluded but no alternative provision has been made
Pupil has been allowed to go on holiday due to exceptional circumstances
School has been notified that a pupil will be absent due to illness
Pupil is at a medical or dental appointment
Pupil is taking part in a day of religious observance
Year 11 pupil is on study leave during their public examinations
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller absence
Pupil from a Traveller community is travelling, as agreed with the school
Pupil is on a holiday that was not approved by the school
Reason not provided
Pupil is absent for an unknown reason (this code should be amended when the reason emerges, or replaced with code O if no reason for absence has been provided after a reasonable amount of time)
School is not satisfied with reason for pupil's absence
Arrival after registration
Pupil arrived at school after the register closed
Not required to be in school
Pupil of non-compulsory school age is not required to attend
Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances
School site is closed, there is disruption to travel as a result of a local/national emergency, or pupil is in custody
Pupil not on admission register
Register set up but pupil has not yet joined the school
Planned school closure
Whole or partial school closure due to half-term/bank holiday/INSET day
Legislation and guidance
This policy meets the requirements of the school attendance guidance from the Department for Education (DfE), and refers to the DfE’s statutory guidance on school attendance parental responsibility measures. These documents are drawn from the following legislation setting out the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance:
This policy also refers to the DfE’s guidance on the school census, which explains the persistent absence threshold.
Last reviewed on:
Next review due by: