Attendance & Absence
At Westfield we pride ourselves on our exemplary attendance of both staff and pupils.
Research has shown that children who attend regularly do well in school and perform to their potential. Attendance matters and is vital to a child’s progress and attainment. Schools are exciting places to be and education can make a child’s life better and no child should be deprived of that opportunity. Good attendance is a partnership between school and parents; this policy seeks to clarify the school’s position on attendance.
- Classroom doors open at 8:40am.
- Classroom doors close and morning registration closes at 8:50am.
- Once the outer doors are closed children can only enter through the main entrance at the front of the school.
- Pupils arriving after 8:50am until 9:20am will be recorded as ‘late'.
- Arrivals after 9:20am will be recorded as ‘late after registration has closed’. This will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and will affect a pupil’s overall attendance.
Parents will be required to contact the school office via telephone before 9:00am on the first day of their child’s absence – they will be expected to provide an explanation for the absence and an estimation of how long the absence will last, e.g. one school day.
Where a pupil is absent, and their parent has not contacted the school by 9:00am, administrative staff will contact the parent by telephone before 9:30am on the first day that they do not attend school. If absence continues without explanation, further contact will be made to ensure safeguarding.
The school will always follow up any absences in order to:
- Ascertain the reason for the absence.
- Ensure the proper safeguarding action is being taken.
- Identify whether the absence is authorised or not.
- Identify the correct code to use to enter the data onto the school census system.
The school will not request medical evidence in most circumstances where a pupil is absent due to illness; however, the school reserves the right to request supporting evidence where there is genuine and reasonable doubt about the authenticity of the illness.
In the case of persistent absence, arrangements will be made for parents to speak to the Attendance Officer. The school will inform the LA, on a termly basis, of the details of pupils who fail to attend regularly, or who have missed 10 school days or more without authorisation.
If a pupil’s attendance drops below 90%, the Attendance Officer will be informed, and a formal meeting will be arranged with the pupil’s parent.
Where a pupil has not returned to school for 10 days after an authorised absence, or is absent from school without authorisation for 20 consecutive school days, the school will remove the pupil from the admissions register if the school and the LA have failed to establish the whereabouts of the pupil after making reasonable enquiries.
What to do if your child tests positive for COVID-19
(NHS Last reviewed 31 August 2022. NHS Next review due 31 October 2022)
If a child or young person aged 18 or under tests positive for COVID-19, they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days. This starts from the day after they did the test.
Children and young people tend to be infectious to others for less time than adults. If they’re well and do not have a temperature after 3 days, there’s a much lower risk that they’ll pass on COVID-19 to others so they can return to school.
Leave of Absence
Parents will be required to request certain types of absence in advance. All requests for absence will be handled by the Headteacher – the decision to grant or refuse the request will be at the sole discretion of the Headteacher, taking the best interests of the pupil and the impact on the pupil’s education into account. The Headteacher’s decision is not subject to appeal; however, the school will be sympathetic to requests for absence by parents and will not deny any request without good reason.
The school will only grant a pupil a leave of absence in exceptional circumstances. In order to have requests for a leave of absence considered, the school will expect parents to contact the Headteacher using a ‘Leave of Absence Request Form’ prior to the proposed start date of the leave of absence, providing the reason for the proposed absence and the dates during which the absence would be expected to occur.
Any requests for leave during term time will be considered on an individual basis and the pupil’s previous attendance record will be taken into account. Where the absence is granted, the Headteacher will determine the length of time that the pupil can be away from school.
Requests for leave will not be granted in the following circumstances:
- Immediately before and during statutory assessment periods
- When a pupil’s attendance record shows any unauthorised absence
- Where a pupil’s authorised absence record is already above 10% for any reason
If term-time leave is not granted, taking a pupil out of school will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and may result in sanctions, such as a penalty notice. The school cannot grant leaves of absence retrospectively; therefore, any absences that were not approved by the school in advance will be marked as unauthorised.
Parents do not have any entitlement to take their children on holiday during term time therefore the school is not likely to grant leaves of absence for the purposes of family holidays unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Illness and healthcare appointments
Parents will be expected to make medical or dental appointments outside of school hours wherever possible. Where this is not possible, parents will be expected to obtain approval for their child’s absence to attend such appointments as far in advance as is practicable. Parents will be responsible for ensuring their child misses only the amount of time necessary to attend the appointment.
Performances and activities, including paid work
The school will ensure that all pupils engaging in performances or activities, whether they receive payment or not, which require them to be absent from school, understand that they will be required to obtain a licence from the LA which authorises the school’s absence(s).
Additional arrangements will be made by the school for pupils engaging in performances or activities that require them to be absent from school to ensure they do not fall behind in their education – this may involve private teaching. These arrangements will be approved by the LA who will ensure that the arrangements are suitable for the pupil.
The pupil will receive education that, when taken together over the term of the licence, amounts to a minimum of three hours per day that the pupil would be required to attend a school maintained by the LA issuing the licence. This requirement will be met by ensuring a pupil receives an education:
- For not less than six hours a week; and
- During each complete period of four weeks (or if there is a period of less than four weeks, then during that period), for periods of time not less than three hours a day; and
- On days where the pupil would be required to attend school if they were attending a school maintained by the LA; and
- For not more than five hours on any such day.
Where a licence has been granted by the LA and it specifies dates of absence, no further authorisation will be needed from the school. Where an application does not specify dates, and it has been approved by the LA, it is at the discretion of the headteacher to authorise the leave of absence for each day. The Headteacher will not authorise any absences which would mean that a pupil’s attendance would fall below 95%. Where a licence has not been obtained, the Headteacher will not authorise any absence for a performance or activity.
Parents will be expected to request absence for religious observance in advance.
The school will only accept requests from parents for absence on grounds of religious observance for days that are exclusively set apart for religious observance by the relevant religious body. The school will define this as a day where the pupil’s parents would be expected by an established religious body to stay away from their employment to mark the occasion.
The school may seek advice from the religious body in question where there is doubt over the request.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller absence
Where a pupil’s parent belongs to a community covered by this code and is travelling for occupational purposes, the parent will be expected to request a leave of absence for their child in advance. Absences will not be granted for pupils from these communities under this code for reasons other than travel for occupational purposes.
In accordance with guidelines set out by Leicestershire County Council, a Penalty Notice may be issued if:
- a registered pupil has 10 or more sessions (5 school days or more) of unauthorised family holiday in any six-month period, or
- a registered pupil has been absent for more than 20 sessions (more than 10 school days) in any six-week period, and
- the LA is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to show the parent has committed an offence under Section 444(1) Education Act 1996, and
- a formal warning of the possibility of a penalty notice being issued has been served giving a maximum of 15 days to effect an improvement, and
- 2 penalty notices have not been issued in the past 12 months in respect of the child in question (if so alternative processes are necessary).
Attendance Monitoring Procedures
Westfield Junior School has adopted the following attendance monitoring procedures, to ensure that pupils’ attendance meets the expected standard, and effective intervention is provided where pupils’ attendance falls below the standard:
- Any attendance/punctuality trends noticed by classroom teachers are passed immediately to the Headteacher and/or Attendance Lead.
- Contact is made with parents by 9:30am on the first day of absence for any pupil absence not reported. ‘N’ codes are used to indicate that the pupil is absent for a reason not yet provided; these N codes are reported to the Attendance Lead by 9:30am
- Contact is made to the parents of any pupils marked using the N code. Any N codes not established are recorded as an unauthorised absence.
- The Attendance Lead will closely monitor any pupil whose attendance falls below 97%. The Attendance Lead also makes a phone call home to discuss this with parents, if necessary.
- If a pupil’s attendance falls below 95%, a letter is sent home by the Attendance Lead raising concerns that their attendance has fallen below the school’s expected standard. The Attendance Lead also makes a phone call home to discuss this with parents, if necessary.
- If a pupil’s attendance falls below 90%, a letter is sent home by the Attendance Welfare Officer explaining that the pupil’s attendance is now being monitored by them. The Attendance Welfare Officer also makes a phone call home to discuss this with parents, if necessary.
- The pupil’s attendance is monitored for four-weeks and, if attendance does not improve after this time, parents are required to attend a meeting in school with the Attendance Lead and Attendance Welfare Officer and set targets for their child.
- After the four-week monitoring period, and if targets are met, a letter is sent home from the Attendance Lead to congratulate the pupil and their parents on improving attendance. Monitoring and communication with the parents continues until attendance stabilises.
- If targets are not met, the Attendance Welfare Officer makes a referral to the Local Authority and a parental contract is drawn up. A four-week monitoring period is established and, if there are no improvements, a final written warning is issued to the parents if there is no improvement after an additional four weeks, a fixed penalty notice is issued.
Westfield Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 0LT