“The best schools create a culture where pupils enjoy coming to school and feel that attendance is worthwhile. In these schools, lessons are a positive experience; pupils feel valued and make progress. Pupils returning from absence are welcomed and efforts are made to ensure that missed work is completed and understood. Parents value the school and comply with its attendance procedures willingly”
OFSTEd Framework Section 4.3
School based intervention
At Hook Lane we aim to work with children and families to promote good attendance of all our pupils. Attendance of all pupils is monitored daily. The school recognises and rewards those children whose attendance is good and works closely with outside agencies to support families in improving children’s attendance where needed. The school works within the guidelines set out by Bexley local authority.
- The school aims to raise the awareness of children and parents through; newsletters, parents evenings, induction meetings, the home school agreement, by rewarding good attendance and acknowledging improved attendance.
- The school periodically reminds parents of the procedures for notification of absence.
- The school runs regular “late gates”, in conjunction with the Education Welfare Officer, to raise awareness of the importance of a punctual start to the school day. Children arriving after 8.50am are marked as late. Children arriving half an hour after the session open times are marked as absent for that session.
- Each week the class with the best attendance is announced in the Friday celebration assembly. The class name is displayed on the celebration board and the class looks after “Attendance Ted” for the next week in their classroom.
- Individual children who have 100% attendance for any half term get a certificate and small prize.
- Children whose attendance has significantly improved also get a certificate and small prize.
- On the first day of absence, if no explanation has been received from the parent, parents are contacted by text and asked to telephone the school to discuss their child’s absence. All absences are required to be explained in writing, on the child’s return to school.
- The governors of the school do not authorise holiday taken during term time. The school should be notified of any absence due to family holiday in advance, by letter addressed to the head teacher. In exceptional circumstances, absence from school that is not due to illness may be authorised.
- Where children are late to school at least twice in a week, a letter is sent to parents reminding them of the importance of their child arriving promptly at the start of school. If the problem persists, parents are invited to meet with the head teacher to discuss the issue.
- Where patterns of absence are noticed, or there is reason to doubt the reason given for a pupil’s absence, or a child is persistently late for school, or a pupil’s attendance falls below 90%, a letter will be sent to the parents advising them of this fact. Where absence falls below 87% parents will be invited to the school for an informal meeting with the educational Welfare Officer and the Head Teacher or her representative. The purpose of this meeting is for the school to work in partnership with the parents to identify underlying causes of non-attendance, e.g. SEN, Medical needs, Bullying, Family difficulties, Social problems, disaffection, lateness etc. When the causes are identified an agreement will be reached as to how they can best be addressed to enable the child’s attendance to improve. For vulnerable children, the thresholds for intervention may be raised.
- Attendance of children identified in the above category will be closely monitored by the Educational Welfare Office for an agreed period of time.
- Where attendance continues to be poor, following an informal meeting, or a child’s attendance falls below 85%, consideration will be given for a formal referral to the Educational Welfare Service. Parents will be invited to attend a “Fast Track” meeting, with the Head teacher, Educational Welfare officers and a school governor. The purpose of the meeting will be to explore the reasons for the child’s poor attendance and to draw up an action plan agreed by the parents, school and any other relevant agencies, to improve the child’s attendance. The outcomes of this meeting will be reviewed after an agreed period of time eg Four weeks.
- Formal referral to the Educational Welfare Service will also be considered for: a block absence of more than 20 sessions (10 days) without explanation or with unsatisfactory reasons, or irregular attendance with frequent unauthorised absences, prolonged poor attendance pattern extending to half a term or more, pupils with less than 80% attendance within any four week period, vulnerable pupils showing poor or irregular attendance, suspicious absences possibly accompanied by a parental note but without medical corroboration, known truants, school refusers, absences connected with possible child protection issues, pupils with persistent lateness and those showing a sudden deterioration in their attendance levels, where no reasonable explanation is given.
- Where there has been little or no improvement to the situation following Education Welfare Service intervention at level 3, the case will be subject to an assessment/ review in conjunction with the SEWO through formal supervision.
- The Educational Welfare Service Implement statutory (court) action.
Groups of children at particular risk:
Certain pupils are at particular risk and may need additional support and in such cases referral to the EWS may be considered appropriate outside of the standard criteria. These groups include:
- Those with special Educational needs
- Children in the care of the Local authority (pupils otherwise known as Looked after children (LAC) or Children in Public Care (CPC) for whom certain explicit requirements exist as detailed below);
- Children from ethnic and cultural minorities
- Young Carers
- Those from families under stress
- Pregnant schoolgirls and teenage mothers
- Children facing emotional/psychological difficulties
Looked After Children
Following the implementation of “Quality Protects” and the publication of DfEE Guidance - Education Protect 2000, additional requirements were placed on schools and the authority in order to support this vulnerable group. The LEA in its Corporate Parent role must ensure optimum school attendance for LAC. As part of that role the EWS must be made aware of any attendance issue in line with the following criteria. Action will be taken as appropriate.
- Intervention is recommended when absences total 10 days in any one academic year.
- The prevention of absences from school of more than 25 days and a reduction in the number of unauthorised absences.
- Schools should notify the authority of all absences over 5%
- Explanations for all authorised and unauthorised absences should be reported yearly.