ATTENDANCE: A GUIDE FOR PARENTS
If you are unsure about your duties as a parent or about the school’s procedures relating to attendance, this list of FAQs may answer your questions. If there is anything you are unsure about, please do not hesitate to contact our receptionist, who will be able to help.
1. Why does my child need to be in School?
Every child should attend every day that they are required to attend. Your child should be at school by 8.55 a.m. but not before 8.45 a.m., unless they are attending a breakfast club, to be ready to go into class at 8.55 a.m. The register is taken before 9.15 a.m.
It is the parent’s/carer’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of term dates.
2. What happens if my child is late?
Registers close at 9.15 a.m. in the morning and 1.00 p.m. in the afternoon. Pupils who arrive after registration should report to the school office. Arriving after the register has closed at Ivington School is an unauthorised absence.
A series of unauthorised late marks may lead to referral to the EWO (Education Welfare Officer). The school may consider referring to Herefordshire Council for legal action if a parent fails to engage with guidance and support.
3. Does the School need letters explaining my child’s absence, or will a phone call do?
We expect parents to notify the school every morning of absence by 9.00 a.m., unless the length of absence is known in advance. We will contact you if your child has not arrived in school by 9.30 a.m. and no message has been left. If we do not receive an explanation, or if the explanation is unsatisfactory, we will not authorise the absence. You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we are concerned about aspects of your child’s attendance or punctuality, we will contact you to discuss the best way forward.
4. Do all parents, partners and carers have a legal responsibility to secure a child’s education?
Yes, all adults, parents and carers have a legal responsibility including absent parents.
DEFINITION OF A PARENT Section 576 of the Education Act 1996 defines 'parent' as
- All natural parents, whether they are married or not
- Any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person
- Any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person (having care of a child or young person means that a person with whom the child lives and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child, is considered to be a parent in education law).
An accumulation of unauthorised absences will lead to a referral to Herefordshire Council which may result in legal proceedings.
5. What reasons will the school accept for absences?
- Illness. However, persistent illness without medical evidence will not be authorised: Parents will be expected to provide evidence, so school are able to consider if the absence is to be authorised or unauthorised. Medical evidence can be provided by proof of GP appointment, proof of prescribed medication or a letter from the GP stating that they were required to be absent from school.
- Emergency dental/medical appointment. (Please make routine appointments after school or during the holidays), appointment cards will be required.
- Family holidays in exceptional circumstances and only if authorised in advance by the Headteacher.
Except in the case of illness, you should ask for permission for your child to miss school well in advance, giving full details. In cases of recurring absences through illness you may be asked to produce medical evidence as stated previously.
6. What is unacceptable?
The school will not authorise absences other than those in exceptional circumstances. Family holidays, day trips, shopping or birthdays are not classed as exceptional.
7. Can we take family holidays during term-time?
Family holidays should only be taken during school holidays. Only in exceptional circumstances will permission be given during term time. In such circumstances requests should be made in writing to the Headteacher 6 weeks in advance. The Head teacher has the right to refuse permission. Where a holiday in term time is granted, the Headteacher will determine the number of days a pupil can be away from school. Any absences incurred prior to and following the request dates will be coded as unauthorised unless supported by evidence. If an unauthorised holiday is taken during term time a request will be made to Herefordshire Council who will consider the facts and pursue legal action.
8. What can I do to encourage my child to attend school?
Make sure your child gets enough sleep and gets up in plenty of time each morning. Ensure that he / she leaves home in the correct clothes and properly equipped. Show your child, by your interest, that you value his / her education. Your child will bring home homework and a school reading book. Please ensure you check your child’s school bag every day, look at the reading book with your child and sign it ready for the next day.
9. My child is trying to avoid coming to school. What should I do?
Contact your child’s class teacher or our student and family support manager immediately and openly discuss your worries. Your child could be avoiding school for a number of reasons – difficulties with school work, bullying, friendship problems, family difficulties. It is important that we identify the reason for your child’s reluctance to attend school and work together to tackle the problem.
10. Children Moving Schools
It is important to communicate with school should you wish to transfer your child to a different school. When pupils leave the school and no information has been received by the school regarding their new placement and parents/carers are unable to be contacted, the school has a duty of care regarding safeguarding and must contact the Local Authority. The child will be a Child Missing in Education. This means that Herefordshire Council has a legal duty to investigate, which will include liaising with Social Services, the Police and other agencies, to try to track and locate the child. By giving the school details of the child’s new school and location, unnecessary investigations can be avoided.
11. Important Contact Information
It is paramount that parents/carers keep school updated with all new contact details of change of address and landline or mobile telephone numbers. If you start a new job and have a work contact number, please let us know immediately. This is to ensure we can contact you in an emergency.
12. Can my child work during term time?
Children cannot work under the age of 13 unless they hold a performance licence. During term time children can only work a maximum of 12 hours a week. This includes:
- a maximum of 2 hours on school days and Sundays
- a maximum of 5 hours on Saturdays for 13 to 14-year-olds, or 8 hours for 15 to 16-year-olds
Businesses intending to employ children are required to apply for a child employment permit. The Local Authority may turn down a request for a permit if a child has a poor attendance record at school. Further details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/child-employment/minimum-ages-children-can-work.