At Westerings Primary Academy we are very committed to maintaining high levels of attendance. We check on the first day of absence to find out why any child is absent if we haven’t been contacted by parents/carers.
If your child is absent please could you telephone or email the school office to notify us on the first day of absence.
At Westerings, we expect that all children will attend school regularly. Occasional absences are to be expected (illnesses, for example) which is why we have set an ambitious but realistic target of 97% for every child. Even at 3% absence, this reflects around 5-6 days of lost learning within a school year.
What is meant by unauthorised absence?
Some absences are allowed by law. For example, if a child is ill or there is a family crisis such as a funeral. However, there are other times when pupils are absent which are not permitted.
We need the help of parents/carers to cut down on unacceptable types of absence.
We realise that on some occasions there may be a particular problem that causes your child to be absent. Please let us know and we will deal with it sympathetically.
In cases of absence for any reason, please telephone the academy by 9.30 a.m. on the first day of absence, and leave a message on our automated message system. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us. Any unexplained absences are indicated in the register as ‘unauthorised’.
A child arriving late after the register has closed should report to the main office. If they are unaccompanied by an adult they should have a note explaining why they are late.
Attendance and absence is robustly monitored by the academy. Frequent unauthorised absence may be referred to the Educational Welfare Officer who has responsibility to enforce academy attendance, and will, if necessary, take court action. Legal proceedings may be brought in cases of irregular, unauthorised attendance defined as follows:
Four disrupted weeks in a half-term period
Prolonged unauthorised absence i.e. more than 10 continuous academy sessions in a half-term
Persistent lateness during a half-term period
It is important that children arrive on time. Our morning session starts at 8.50 a.m. and afternoon session at 12:55(KS1) and 1.15p.m. (KS2)
If your child is not present when the register is taken they will receive a late mark up until 30 minutes after registration, after that time an unauthorised absence is recorded.
Any pupil who arrives after the registration closes must go to the Academy office to register their attendance.
At hometime, pupils in Y5 and Y6 may leave school without an adult to collect them. Parental permission must be given for a child to leave class at hometime without a parent (or designated person) there at 3:20pm. This can be given at any time in writing via the school office, or annually via the Home School Agreement.
For some children, this will enable them to walk home alone. For others, it may be to meet their parents elsewhere on school site, or a nearby location, to then walk home together. In either case, the responsibility for the child will no longer fall to the school if consent is given for them to leave the site unaccompanied.
Otherwise, all pupils must be collected by a parent, carer or nominated person. Westerings' policy on a suitable 'nominated person' is a trusted adult (e.g. another parent or adult family member). We also will permit an older sibling of secondary school age to be responsible for collection, but again, only with parental consent in writing.
For further information, please contact our school office.
What should I do if my child needs a dental or medical appointment in school time?
To avoid disruption to your child’s attendance, medical and dental appointments should not be booked during the school day whenever reasonably possible. When they are, you should ask the school in advance for a leave of absence and collect them as close to the time of the appointment as possible and return them to school for the rest of the school day afterwards.
Where can I get help if my child is too anxious to go to school?
Attending school usually helps to protect your child’s mental health, for a range of reasons including giving them a chance to be with friends and to benefit from learning. However, some children can be anxious or worried about going to school, particularly around the start of the new year or joining a new school or class. This is a normal emotion, and not necessarily indicative of an underlying mental health condition. If their anxiety continues and becomes an attendance issue, you should speak to your child's school together with your child about why they are anxious and what can be done. You can find some useful advice at Young Minds, to help work through likely reasons together with your child, what to do and how to make sure that you get the right support if there are more serious issues.
Do I need to provide medical evidence to support my child’s illness related absence?
If your child is too ill to attend school, school will record these absences as authorised. In the majority of cases medical evidence is not needed, but we may ask you for evidence where:
- Your child is regularly absent because of illness, to assess how we can help your child by putting the right reasonable adjustments in place.
- In a small number of cases where we have reason to believe your child was not too ill to attend and a conversation cannot resolve the issue. If you are asked to provide evidence this does not need to be a letter from your doctor or consultant. It can, instead, be appointment cards, prescriptions, or notes of previous consultations (including from the NHS App).
Will my local council take legal action against me?
If your child is absent from school without permission or a valid reason, you are likely to be breaking the law. Where this happens, our school (or your local council) will speak to you to understand the reasons. If your child hasn’t attended because they are struggling to, both we and the local council will have attenpted to put the right support in place to help you. If you do not take part in that support, or it doesn’t work because more structured formal support is needed, then your child’s school or your local council may:
- Invite you to agree to a parenting contract. This is not a punishment or a criticism of your parenting. It is a more formal action plan that sets out what you will do to improve your child’s attendance and what your child’s school and/or your local council will do to support this.
- Apply to the family court for an education supervision order to ensure you and your child receive advice, assistance and direction to make sure they receive a suitable full-time education. If you do not make any efforts to improve your child’s attendance or it is clear you have knowingly allowed your child to be absent without good reason – for example, taking your child on holiday in school time without permission – your local council may prosecute you to protect your child’s right to a full-time education. Even during this process, you have the opportunity to accept and engage in voluntary support (such as an early help assessment) or formal support (such as a parenting contract or education supervision order) to prevent the case from going to court. If found guilty you may be given a parenting order, community order, a fine of up to £2,500 or in very exceptional circumstances a sentence of up to 3 months in prison.