I hope that you have had a good half term break and I would like the opportunity to welcome you and your child back to school.
It is widely known, that children need to attend school regularly to benefit from their education. Missing out on school leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less both in primary and secondary education.
School staff and Education Welfare Ltd work very hard with parents and pupils to improve school attendance. As parents you have the legal responsibility to ensure the regular attendance of your child, failure to do so is an offence under the Education Act 1996.
Local authorities also have other powers to enforce school attendance where this becomes problematic, including the power to prosecute parents who fail to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school.
The Education Welfare Officer is in St Alphonsus’ Primary school every Monday morning to offer advice, guidance and support to parents to improve their child’s attendance at school.
If you are experiencing any problems getting your child to school, the Education Welfare Officer has a drop-in session every Monday morning for parents to access support between 8.45 am to 9.15 am. Alternatively you can make a formal appointment with the School Administration Team to speak to the Education Welfare Officer.
Staff are also available daily in school to offer advice and support to parents.
During academic year 2017/18, 750 days of attendance was lost due to illness and medical appointments. Please be aware that your child is not expected to be absent from school for general, very mild childhood illness such as coughs and colds. If your child is ill in school, please rest assured that you will be contacted as necessary, so it is very important that you provide school with up to date contact details.
Please avoid odd day’s absences. If possible make medical appointments out of school hours, if this is unavoidable your child will be expected to attend school before and after their appointment. Please provide school with medical evidence to support the appointment.
If requested you must provide school with medical evidence to support your child’s absence; this is on-going once requested. Examples of medical evidence are, appointment card with reason for absence, or prescription slip, or prescribed medication. Frequent absences due to illness may result in a referral to School Health for support. School needs to receive information when the child returns to school, in the form of a note and any medical evidence such as prescription, appointment card etc.
On the first day of your child’s absence parents are required to contact school before 9.00 am, failure to do so will result in school initiating First Day Response in-line with safeguarding procedures. Please be aware these calls are logged and may be passed to other agencies if requested. Parents are required to contact school daily during your child’s absence from school.
There were over 2033 incidents where pupils were recorded as arriving late to school in academic year 2017/18, this is unacceptable. School starts promptly at 8.50am and your child is required to attend school on time. Arriving late to school is not only disruptive to your child but also to the pupils in their class and teacher. Please be aware that persistent lateness is subjected statutory procedures including the issuing of a penalty notice.
Leave of Absence in Term Time
In academic year 2017/18, 154 days of attendance was lost to pupils taking holidays in term time. Leave of absence taken during term will not be authorised by school unless parents provide evidence to support exceptional circumstances. The evidence will be reviewed by the head teacher who will make a decision following government and local authority guidelines.
Please submit leave of absence application forms to school prior to the leave being take. If school receive a late application or believe that a holiday has been taken without prior notification medical evidence will be required to cover the absence which will remain unauthorised and subject to penalty notice procedures.
Please be aware that a family holiday does not meet the criteria of exceptional circumstances. There are thirteen weeks available when school is closed for parents to utilise for family holidays.
For your information the penalty is £60 per parent per child if paid within 21 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £120 per parent per child if paid after 21 days but within 28 days of receipt of the notice. If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 28 day period, the local authority will consider prosecution under Section 444 Education Act 1996 for the offence to which the notice applies and you may be subject to a fine of up to a £2,500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.
Education Welfare Officer
Arthur Robinson House,
13-14 The Green,
Tel: 01642 367936
Education Welfare Ltd would like to advise that whilst they would like to support parent/carer to address any problems, it is the parent/carer who has the duty to secure the regular attendance of their child at school. Failure to do so is an offence under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.