Our whole school approach to attendance and punctuality
At Morehall, we have the highest aspirations for your child: we know that that every lesson counts towards your child’s achievement and those who attend school regularly make the best progress in their learning. We also know that you, as your child’s parent/carer, want your child to get on well in life. Children only get one chance at school, and your child’s chances of a successful future may be affected by not attending school every day on time. When children do not attend or are late, they:
struggle to keep up with school work
miss out on interventions put in place for them
miss out on the social side of school life – especially at primary school. Poor attendance can affect children’s ability to make and keep friendships, a vital part of growing up.
Our attendance target this year is 97%.
Is there a proven link between attendance and children’s achievement in school?
Yes. There is a clear link between poor attendance at school and lower academic achievement. In primary schools, less than 65% of children get good results in Maths and English in schools when they have an average of 15 days absence, compared to around 90% in schools where the average is less than 8 days. Many parents are surprised how quickly their children accumulate 15 days absence – we will send you a termly letter letting you know what your child’s absence has been for the term; as well as ensuring your child’s attendance is discussed at parent’s meetings.
Of the children who miss more than 50 per cent of school, only 3% manage to achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C. 73% of children who have over 95% attendance achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C. While GCSEs may seem some time away, setting good attendance and punctuality patterns from an early age, from nursery and Reception through to Year 6, will really help.
What does the law say?
By law, all children of compulsory school age must get a suitable, full-time education. As a parent/carer, you are responsible for making sure this happens. Once your child is registered at Morehall, you are responsible for making sure he or she attends regularly. If your child fails to attend regularly – even if they miss school without you knowing – the Local Authority (LA) may take legal action against you. The LA is responsible for making sure that parents/carers fulfil their responsibilities, and the school must tell the LA if your child is regularly absent from school. As a parent/carer, you are committing an offence if you fail to make sure that your child attends school regularly. You run the risk of being prosecuted by the LA if your child’s attendance is poor; parents/carers can be fined up to £2,500 or imprisoned for failing to ensure that their child attends school regularly.
At Morehall, we work in partnership with you to ensure that this does not happen. We have a policy on attendance that you can find here, and strongly encourage you to speak to your child’s class teacher or to our Family Liaison Office (FLO) if you are having difficulties with getting your child to school on time.
What about absences?
There may be times when your child has to miss school because she or he is ill. Please notify us of this on the first day (and every subsequent day) of absence. If there are patterns of sickness, we work with your child, you and your health professionals, to try and resolve these issues. Children may be offered medical or dental appointments in school time. Please try to make routine appointments such as dental check-ups during the school holidays or after school hours.
The school does not usually authorise holidays in term-time except in exceptional circumstances. If the Principal declines your absence request, and the absence is taken anyway, this will be regarded as an unauthorised absence. If this happens, the LA are made aware and you may be asked to attend an attendance meeting with the school or LA.
What can you do to help?
Make sure your child arrives at school on time every day.
Take an interest in what is happening for your child in school. Ask them about their day and praise and encourage their achievements at school.
If you think you might need to take your child out of school, discuss the reasons with the school as early as possible. Reasons such as family bereavement would be acceptable for short absences. Unacceptable reasons for missing school include shopping and birthdays.
If your child is ill or absent for any other reason, contact the school on the first day of absence – you can either phone the school on 01303 275128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of them missing school and be on the alert for any particular reasons for non-attendance, such as friendship issues or problems with school work, please discuss these with us as early as possible so that we can work with you to resolve any difficulties.