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Attendance and Absence

Elm Grove Primary School has very good levels of attendance which we aim to continue to improve year on year.  We thank parents/carers for their continued support with this.  The information below outlines our systems and expectations in relation to attendance as well as the government regulations relating to absence request during term times.

Context
Research and our historical data shows that low attendance has a detrimental impact on progress and achievement. Pupils are in school for only 190 out of 365 days each.  This means there are 175 other days for holidays and evenings/weekends for social activities.

To put this in context:

  • A pupil with 80% attendance misses the equivalent of 1 day a week, which equates to 5 lessons of learning per week.
  • A pupil with 90% attendance misses the equivalent of 1 day a fortnight, which equates to 5 lessons of learning a fortnight.

Elm Grove Primary School expectations
As a school we have high expectations for all of our pupils in terms of attendance, expecting all pupils to attend on a regular basis. As a school we define the term ‘regular’ as a minimum of 96% attendance. In the rare cases that there is a justifiable reason for a pupil’s low attendance it is expected that the parent/carer engage and communicate proactively with the school providing clear information (from involved professionals) explaining the reason for the persistent absence.  The clearer the information we have the better we can support your child in their education. 

If a pupil has a pattern of persistent absence and/or a pupil’s attendance drops and/or stays at a low level, we are duty bound to inform the local authority (WSCC Pupil Entitlement Team) who are responsible for taking further action.

Absence from school
We request that if your son/daughter is absent from school you telephone the school on the morning of each absence on 01903 249387 with the reason for absence.

For longer periods of absence, or where there are repeated absences, a parent/carer may be asked to provide a letter from a GP or other medically qualified professionals, confirming that your child is/was not able to attend school and the reason for this. This may incur a charge from a GP surgery. The school reserves the right to code absence as unauthorised where no such evidence is provided.

Medical appointments
We request that, whenever possible, medical/dental appointments are made outside of the school day.  Where this is not possible, it is expected that the pupil attends school before and/or after the appointment. 

Requests for leave of absence in term time
As of September 2013, the Head Teacher is no longer allowed to authorise absence from school except in “exceptional circumstances”. Holidays are not considered “exceptional circumstances”.

  • In “exceptional cases”, parents/carers can request in advance to take a leave of absence.  Requests should be made on the school leave of absence form and should be sent into school at least 4 weeks in advance of the first day of the requested absence if possible.  We will not authorise any holiday during term time.
  • If the leave of absence form is returned to you as unauthorised, we will also send a letter advising you that if the absence goes ahead as planned we may refer you to West Sussex Pupil Entitlement Investigation team for a Fixed Penalty Notice.  If the absence is not authorised and your child is not in school on one or more of the previously specified dates, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. This may lead to a fixed penalty notice (fine) being issued by the Local Authority.

Unauthorised absence
The government has placed a priority on reducing all forms of absence and introduced Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) fines to parents whose children are absent without the school’s authorisation.  These are coordinated and issued by the local authority.

Please note that any absence that is not authorised, including holiday requests, will count towards the number of unauthorised sessions.

10 or more unauthorised sessions of absence (equivalent to 5 school days) across a 10 week period may result in a FPN notice being issued.  The FPN is issued with an invoice for £120 and 28 days are given to settle the penalty.  If the FPN is paid within the first 21 days the amount payable is reduced to £60. 

To avoid coding absences as unauthorised it is therefore essential that when a child has a serious illness/medical condition that creates a pattern of sporadic or sustained absence from school, parents/carers must provide professional (GP/consultant) evidence of the need to be absent from school. This will allow us to liaise with them, gather necessary evidence and then code the absence appropriately.

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