School Attendance and the Law and how this affects pupils at SS John & Monica’s school

All children of compulsory school age have the right to an efficient full-time education, regardless of age, aptitude, ability and any special needs s/he may have. Regular school attendance is essential if a child is to make the most of the educational opportunity available to them. Ss John & Monica’s Primary School takes seriously its responsibility to monitor and promote the regular attendance of all its pupils. It acknowledges that irregular attendance seriously disrupts continuity of learning, undermines educational progress, can lead to underachievement and low attainment and impedes the child’s ability to develop friendship groups within school. For these reasons the staff have created a set of procedures and practice which we hope will create an ethos whereby children want to be in school and know the reasons why non attendance is not acceptable. 

We aim to work in partnership with pupils, parents, staff, governors and Birmingham Safeguarding Children's Partnership to ensure that all children reach an optimal level of attendance and secure their long term educational and life skill prospects. We take issues on non-attendance and poor punctuality very seriously and will work within the parameters of the law as provided for us by the Local Authority legal team to ensure that a child’s right to an education is maintained.

School Attendance is a Safeguarding and Child Protection issue. The school will investigate all absence and will make referrals to Children’s Advice Support Service (CASS) and the Missing Child Team if we have concerns about the welfare and location of any pupil at this school. 

The Designated Safeguarding Lead analyses patterns of behaviour and trends and  takes relevant action, in line with the Attendance and Punctuality Policy, to ensure that good levels of individual are improved or maintained.

Legal Requirements
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 apply to all maintained schools, academies, studio schools, free schools and independent schools. 

It is a legal requirement that schools will:-
•    Be open to all pupils for 380 sessions each school year (This is the same as 190 school days – morning is one session and afternoon is one session)
•    Maintain attendance registers (either manual or computerised) in accordance with the relevant regulations. At SS John & Monica’s we maintain computerised registers.
•    Accurately record and monitor all absenteeism and lateness.
•    Clearly distinguish between absence which is authorised and absence which is unauthorised according to criteria laid down by the DfE (schools should remind parents that it is the decision of the Head teacher as to whether or not an absence will be authorised).
•    Submit termly absence returns through School Census and publish information relating to levels of attendance and absence and include details of these in the school’s prospectus and annual report.
•    Set annual targets to reduce absence and submit these targets in accordance with the relevant regulations.

The school is committed to increasing attendance each year and maximising opportunities for pupils to excel. AS part of this commitment we set challenging but achievable targets for children and families for their school attendance.

Our attendance target  is 97%.

Birmingham Local Authority does not support parents removing their children during the school year for anything except an emergency. What constitutes an emergency will be defined by the Head Teacher as only a Head Teacher can authorise absence during term time. It should be noted that visiting relatives abroad is not regarded as an emergency nor is keeping your child at home if the parent has appointments or illness.
If you decide not to heed the school’s advice about term time holidays and take time off school, you need to be aware that we will take steps to protect your child’s right to an education. These steps can include meeting with the Head or Deputy to discuss attendance, referring your child to an Education Social Worker, referring your child to other support agencies, monitoring your child’s overall attendance and seeking penalty notices from Court and in cases where the leave reaches an unacceptable level we will remove your child from our school roll and you will have to find a new school for them.
Schools are responsible for monitoring pupil attendance and taking any necessary action to support parents in improving their child’s attendance and punctuality. We calculate your child’s attendance on a regular basis and where any child has less than 90% attendance we will be in contact with you by letter and to arrange an appointment for a meeting. The Government has changed its rules on what constitutes Persistent Absence. Pupils with attendance less than 90% are regarded as persistent absentees. All pupils must be in school every day that they are well enough to be here.
How does time off impact your child? Look at this table and see how many lessons your child can miss if they are not attending…

Attendance and Punctuality