The King’s Academy is a successful school and your child plays their part in making it so. We aim to provide a safe, secure learning environment and a rich, motivating curriculum which enables all members of the community to achieve their personal best by making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being. Our goal is to ensure that all students achieve their full potential in a learning environment where they feel safe, happy, accepted and included. To enable our students to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend school regularly and on time every day, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. It is very important, therefore, that parents and carers make sure their child attends regularly and on time and this Policy sets out how, by working in partnership, we will achieve this.
Why is regular attendance is so important?
- Attendance is essential if young people are to achieve their personal best, it is the foundation of equality of opportunity, and has a direct impact on attainment and opportunities for future employment.
- Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. In addition, any student’s absence or lateness disrupts teaching routines, which may impact upon and negatively affect the learning of other students.
- Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason creates an offence in law and may result in prosecution ( The Education Act 1996, Sections 444(1) and 444(1a).
Understanding types of absence:
Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either authorised or unauthorised. This is why information about the reason for any absence is always required, preferably in writing. Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a valid reason such as illness, emergency medical/dental appointments; which unavoidably fall in school time, family emergencies or any other cause which cannot be prevented. Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been agreed. This type of absence can lead to the Local Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. This includes:
- Parents/carers keeping students off school unnecessarily
- truancy before or during the school day
- absences which have never been properly explained
- students arriving at school too late to get a mark
- looking after family members
- shopping, birthdays, day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed.
If your child appears reluctant to attend school, please ensure that you contact a member of school staff immediately to discuss any issues that might be negatively affecting your child’s school attendance. Please do not give in to pressure to excuse your child from attending school as this may give your child the impression attendance does not matter and can make the situation worse. It is much better to contact the school and request support and advice with any issues negatively impacting upon your child’s attitude to school attendance.
Parent/Carer contact details:
There are times when we need to contact parents about lots of things, including absence, so we need to have your accurate contact details at all times. Please help us to help you and your child by making sure we always have an up to date home address and telephone number. This is particularly important if we need to make urgent contact with you, for example if your child is unwell.
A pupil becomes a ‘Persistent Absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason and irrespective of whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents and carer’s full support and co-operation to avoid this. At The King’s Academy we monitor all absence thoroughly. Any case seen to have reached the Persistent Absence mark or is at risk of moving towards that mark is given priority and action is taken to address this. It is very important that you cooperate with school staff to enable appropriate strategies and support to be put in place for your child. If irregular attendance persists despite the ongoing support available; we have a duty as a school to inform the Local Authority Attendance Service.
Holidays during term time:
Any absence in term time destroys the continuity of your child’s education and reduces chances of success; which is why The King’s Academy asks that all holidays are taken outside of term time. Parents and Carers do not have the right to demand a pupil’s leave of absence for a holiday. The Principal has a discretionary power to grant leave but is under no obligation to do so (Education(Schools and Further Education) Regulations 1981). All applications for leave must be made in writing addressed for the attention of Mr Dawes prior to you booking your holiday and at least 21 days before the proposed start date of the holiday. He will then consider the circumstances of each application individually and inform you in writing of his decision. Any period of leave taken without the agreement of Mr Dawes, or in excess of that agreed, will be classed as unauthorised and may be referred to the Local Authority Attendance Service. It is important to note that your child’s absence from school for a holiday during term time may contribute to your child becoming a Persistent Absentee pupil; irrespective of whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised (please read above).