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School Attendance

 

In the DfE policy document entitled, ‘School Attendance: Guidance for maintained schools, academies, independent schools and local authorities’ it states, ‘Head teachers should not grant leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The application must be made in advance and the head teacher must be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances based on the individual facts and circumstances of the case which warrant the leave. Where a leave of absence is granted, the head teacher will determine the number of days a pupil can be away from school. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the head teacher’s discretion’. If the school does not receive a request for leave, the head teacher will be unable to consider your individual circumstances and the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. There will be no obligation on the head teacher to reconsider authorising the leave if an application has not been made in advance.

Other absences, due to illness (where the school has received timely notification) are unavoidable and therefore classed as authorised in practically all cases.

The Local Authority operates a system where any pupil will meet the criteria for legal intervention where they have:

 - 8 consecutive sessions (4 days) of unauthorised absence where some or all of the absence may be attributed to an unauthorised holiday in term time (for absences       from 1 September 2022); or

  •  - 15% unauthorised absence over a period of 6 school weeks for reasons other than unauthorised term time holiday

This legal intervention could be in the form of a Fixed Penalty Notice. Any pupil who meets either of the criteria, will be referred to the Local Authority for action to be considered.

If a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued by the Local Authority, there will be a fine of £60, per parent, per child which must be paid in one payment within 21 days. If unpaid, a further invoice for £60 per parent, per child is issued; both individual invoices would then have to be paid, making a total payment of £120, in 28 days. You should be aware that failure to pay the total amount within the timescale will result in further legal action being taken.

Educational Welfare Officer

We have an Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) who can be called upon to provide support for staff and parents, especially when there are anxieties about the child’s well-being.  Our EWO will visit school regularly each half term to monitor attendance, and should a problem with low attendance be noted, the family may be contacted. The EWO will be taking particular note of unauthorised absence and a Fixed Penalty Notice may be implemented should more than 8 sessions (4 days) unauthorised absence be recorded over a 12 week period.  Please contact either the office or the EWO for further information.

Low attendance will automatically prompt a first letter reminding you about the importance of attendance and possible action from the Education Welfare Officer. At a second stage you will be requested to meet with the Headteacher.

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