By law it is the parents/carers responsibility to ensure that their child receives a full-time education through regular attendance and punctually. Students should be aiming to be in school for a minimum of 97% of days within the school year and striving to achieve 100% attendance. When attendance drops below 95% the school needs to monitor attendance more closely.
Should your child have 20 sessions (am or pm) equivalent to 10 days of unauthorised absence within a rolling 12 week period, you will receive a fixed penalty notice which results in a fine. This period can also roll across academic years so time missed before and after a summer holiday can contribute to 10 days unauthorised absence.
As a school, we are charged by The Department for Education to monitor the attendance of individual children in order to raise attendance and improve the life chances of the young people we serve. We do this by collecting the names of children who are ’Persistent Absentees’. Currently a Persistent Absentee (PA) pupil has 90% or less attendance. This includes ALL absences, that is, both authorised and unauthorised absence.
At The Wilnecote School the vast majority of pupils have very good attendance. However, should your child begin to show signs of becoming a PA then you should expect to be contacted to see how we can work together to improve attendance and reduce any further time off. If your child’s attendance continues to decrease you will be invited to attend a meeting in school with your child’s Head of House. If things still do not improve you will be referred to ACE (Attendance, Compliance and Enforcement Service) who will work with you to set targets and try and improve attendance. Should this not be successful, a fixed penalty notice and/or criminal prosecution proceedings may be issued against you.
Penalty Notices and what they can mean to you:
Failure to secure a child’s regular attendance at school may be a criminal offence under Section 444(1) or 444(1A) of the Education Act 1996. In the event that a child’s attendance at school fails to improve or improve sufficiently then this could result in:
- The issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice to you (£120.00 fine to be paid within 28 days of issue, which reduces to £60.00 if paid within 21 days); or
- A criminal prosecution against you
Fixed Penalty Notices are issued to EACH parent in respect of EACH child as set out in the notice(s).
An illustration of this, if paid within 21 days is:
- 2 children = £60 each = £120
- 2 adults in the family home = Each adult receives a fine of £120
- Total cost = £240
- Should this not be paid within 21 days it would rise to a cost of £480
If a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued and is not paid then the matter will be investigated and actioned by Staffordshire County Council to establish an offence under Section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996 has been committed. If criminal proceedings are issued and you are found guilty, the court could sentence you to a fine of up to £1,000 for a Section 444(1) conviction; or £2,500, a community sentence period or a custodial period of up to 3 months for a Section 444(1A) conviction.
Some Important Facts:
- There are 190 school days each year and 175 other days for shopping trips, birthday treats, non-urgent appointments and holidays.
- One day a week absence is the equivalent over a school career of 1 whole year of education missed.
- 10 days of unauthorised holiday a year is the equivalent of two and a half months of education missed over 5 years of schooling.
- Statistics show that half a day a week missed during Years 10 and 11 can mean the loss of a grade for every GCSE taken.
Across a Year:
- 95% attendance = 9 school days missed = 1 week and 4 days of education lost.
- 90% attendance = 19 school days missed = 3 weeks and 4 days of education lost.
- 85% attendance = 28 school days missed = 5 weeks and 3 days of education lost.
- 80% attendance = 38 school days missed = 7 weeks and 3 days of education lost.
Full attendance leads to the best educational outcomes – please give your child the best chance and make sure they are in school every day.
We are committed to continuing to raise the profile of students who have high levels of attendance at school and through praise and rewards. We are also aware that at times, medical issues will have an impact on attendance and this will be taken into account on an individual basis when working to support families.
What to do if your child is absent from school:
- If your child is absent we must be told the reason why on the first day of absence and each subsequent day. Please contact the school Attendance Officer before 9am on 01827831300 or go via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Letting us know they will not be in school allows us know that they are safe and at home. Should they not be with us and we do not receive a message from you to inform us they are absent, we will worry that there may be a problem and will do all we can to contact you as a matter of urgency. For this reason alone, please ensure that your contact details are kept up to date on our system, particularly should you have a change of mobile phone number.
- On your child’s return to school, please ensure that you confirm the reason for their absence by sending an absence note or write in your child’s planner. Failure to do this may result in an unauthorised absence being issued.
All absences are followed up promptly by House Teams and the Attendance Officer. If an absence remains unexplained for more than one week after your child’s return then your child’s absence will be coded as unauthorised.
- UNAUTHORISED absences are followed up by a telephone call, text, letter home or by a home visit. We may ask for evidence to be provided. Failure to do so will result in absence being recorded as unauthorised.
- When making appointments for medical reasons, whenever possible, please make them after school hours or during the holidays.
- If an appointment during school hours is unavoidable, for example, going to the hospital, your child MUST show the appointment card to their House Team BEFORE the absence. Children should attend school BEFORE and AFTER the appointment where possible. Please do all you can to keep time away from lessons to a minimum.
We really appreciate and are proud of the majority of students at The Wilnecote School who have consistently high levels of attendance and reward them for this. We thank you as parents and carers for working with us to try and minimise any disruption to your son or daughter’s school day and to help keep them safe. Good communication enables us to better understand any situation you are having to deal with, enabling staff to play a more supportive role and work with you more effectively. Please do not hesitate to contact us as appropriate should you have any concerns.