Parents are legally required to ensure the regular and punctual attendance of their child and could be committing an offence if they fail to do so. An attendance rate of 90% or below is considered as persistent absence.
There is no doubt that persistent absence from school has a hugely negative impact on a child, both academically and socially, and because of this we offer to support parents if there is anything we can do to help.
An attendance of 90% may sound ‘ok’, but it would effectively mean that a child is missing one day every two weeks, which when taken into account over the course of a whole primary education, will amount to a very significant amount of learning being missed!
It is very clear that, generally, children who don’t attend well often start to fall behind in their learning and it then becomes very difficult to catch up with their peers. This is why we place such a high priority on good attendance.
As a school we are usually able to authorise absences where we don’t feel a pattern of non-attendance is developing and this is what would usually happen when a parent informs us that their child is ill – we accept the reasons given for their absence as we believe that most absence is due to unfortunate illness.
However, we automatically unauthorise any further absences of children whose overall attendance drops below 90% over the last 12 months unless parents can prove that absence has been genuine through presentation of doctor’s notes or through consultation with our school nurse etc. This is because we are very concerned about the pattern of absence that is developing.
Under the Hampshire Schools Code of Conduct, schools are likely to issue a Penalty Notice (£60 per child, per parent) after 10 or more half day sessions (five school days) of unauthorised absence during any 100 possible school sessions which do not need to be consecutive.
The vast majority of children in our school have attendance rates of 90% or better and so for most parents this will not be something to be unduly concerned about.
All holidays taken during term time, regardless of their duration, will be marked as unauthorised.