Why is Good School Attendance so Important?
At Holy Trinity Primary we are working closely as a school family to improve our attendance levels so that each child is given the opportunity to achieve their full potential. By law, all children of compulsory school age must receive a suitable full-time education. Once your child is registered at school, you are legally responsible for making sure that they attend regularly. If your child fails to do so, you risk getting a penalty notice or being prosecuted.
Good attendance is a skill for life and attendance has an impact on a child’s whole school experience. As well as affecting your child’s academic potential, poor or irregular attendance can have an impact on your child’s friendships, self-esteem and confidence.
We monitor the attendance of every child in the school. If we have concerns about your child’s attendance then in the first instance we will contact you to offer support, however if your child’s attendance continues to pose a problem then you will be requested to attend an Attendance Meeting with the school and / or Kent County Attendance Officer.
90 % attendance sounds good, but means that your child misses:
- One half day each week
- Nearly four weeks every school year
- Over one school year in a school career
A child whose attendance falls below 80% will rarely achieve their potential.
The minimum acceptable attendance is 96%.
Holy Trinity C E Primary School will not authorise any term time holiday and therefore any holidays taken during term time will be recorded as unauthorised.
Children who are absent for holidays, visiting family far away or abroad, for 5 days or more will be liable to a penalty notice and fine for taking their children out of school. In addition, the child may lose their school place.
What parents can do to help to ensure good attendance at school:
Be organised; have a plan; be consistent, and involve your child.
- Create good routines for mornings at home so that your child can arrive punctually, and they are properly equipped; this will also mean your mornings can start calmly too
- Make time to encourage and show interest. Chat to them about the things they have learnt, what friends they have made and even what they had for lunch! Remember children can be tired when coming out of school, so a short chat over a snack or later that evening may produce a better result than a long list of questions
- Read all school communications; sign your child's reading record and return reply slips promptly.
- Attend school open evenings and functions
- Check your child understands the homework and that it has been completed. Support them in completing homework by creating a calm space for them to work in and set specific times during the week when homework should be done
- Share any educational concerns your child or you may have with the appropriate member of school staff
- Set realistic boundaries and sanctions (do not impose boundaries that neither your child nor you will be able to keep, e.g. grounding a child for a month will not work, short periods will have much more effect)
- Avoid absence from school wherever possible – try to make doctors and dental appointments out of school hours. Absence means your child will miss out on the academic studies and will also learn that education is not the main priority within the family. This can have a lifelong effect.
Your responsibilities as a parent or carer
By law, all children of compulsory school age (normally four to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education.
As a parent, you have a legal responsibility to make sure this happens – either by registering your child at a school or by making other arrangements to give them a suitable, full-time education. Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly.
Section 576 of the Education Act 1996 defines parent as:
- All natural parents, whether they are married or not;
- Any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person;
- Any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person.
Having care of a child or young person means that a person with whom the child lives and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child, is considered to be a parent in education law.
Recording your child's attendance:
Schools must take an attendance register twice a day, which is a legal document that is kept for five years. Any absences will be recorded with a specific code depending on the type of absence.
Absences fall into two main categories:
- Authorised – those which schools can give you permission for
- Unauthorised – those which they will not.
Examples of absences which the school is unlikely to authorise can include:
- Sickness of a parent, or other family member
- Inadequate clothing for school
- Child being used as a carer
- Problems with transport
- Non-urgent medical treatment
- School refusal or truancy
- Days off for birthdays, shopping trips
- Family holiday during term time.
If your child needs a leave of absence you must ask for permission in advance.
The headteacher can only approve the absence if he/she views them to be exceptional reasons. The headteacher also decides on the number of days to authorise or unauthorise. You can request a leave of absence form from the school office or download a copy from the school website.
Click here to look at the KELSI website regarding Absence During Term Time
Click here to look at the GOV website regarding School Attendance and Absences
What do I do if my child is unwell?
Procedures for managing and improving attendance:
First Day Calling
Parents are required to call school at the beginning of the first day of absence (by 10 a.m). This information will be recorded on the class register. Thereafter, parents should call on each day of absence. If no call is received, school will call home to ascertain the reason for absence.
During the call, please tell the office:
- The nature of the illness (although you may wish to talk confidentially about this).
- Whether your child has seen their GP, or whether an appointment has been made for some other specialist service.
- How long you expect your child to be absent from school.
- The prognosis for the child’s recovery.
The school’s headteacher will decide whether or not to authorise the absence, depending upon the reason given.
For absences that are expected to last up to 15 school days and that are not part of a pattern of a recurring illness, the parents/carers should arrange with the school for work and homework to be set as soon as the child is able to cope with it. The school should also agree with you how completed work will be collected, marked and returned.
Is my child well enough to attend school?
When your child is unwell, it can be hard deciding whether to keep them off school. A few simple guidelines can help.
Not every illness needs to keep your child from school. If you keep your child away from school, be sure to inform the school on the first day of their absence.
Use common sense when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Is your child well enough to do the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home.
- Does your child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff? If so, keep your child at home.
- Would you take a day off work if you had this condition? If so, keep your child at home.
If your child is ill, it's likely to be due to one of a few minor health conditions.
Whether you send your child to school will depend on how severe you think the illness is. This guidance can help you make that judgement.
Remember: if you're concerned about your child’s health, consult a health professional.
- Cough and cold. A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by a raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay off school, visit the GP and return to school 24 hours after they start to feel better. If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, consult your GP. They can give guidance on whether the child should stay off school. Get more information in Common cold.
- Raised temperature. If your child has a raised temperature, they shouldn't attend school. They can return 24 hours after they start to feel better. Learn more in Feverish illness in children.
- Rash. Rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions shouldn't attend school. If your child has a rash, check with your GP or practice nurse before sending them to school.
- Headache. A child with a minor headache doesn't usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep the child off school and consult your GP.
- Vomiting and diarrhoea. Children with these conditions should be kept off school. They can return 48 hours after their symptoms disappear. Most cases of vomiting or diarrhoea get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, consult your GP. Learn more in Rotavirus gastroenteritis.
- Sore throat. A sore throat alone doesn't have to keep a child from school. If it's accompanied by a raised temperature, the child should stay at home.
You can read more about medicines for children's common health problems in Medicines for children.
You can get help identifying common childhood illnesses by using the Childhood illness slideshow.
Longer absence through illness, injury or medical conditions:
If absence is long-term or repeated, we will request proof that your child is genuinely unwell and unable to attend school as this is a key part of our safeguarding duties. Keep copies of any appointment letters or medical reports.
If your child:
- Has a long term or chronic condition, and is expected to be absent from school for a longer period.
- Has intermittent attendance due to an illness (such as epilepsy or sickle cell anaemia).
- Is going to be absent from school for a period of therapy or surgery.
The school may want to draw up a support plan, and consider whether to refer your child to our specialist services.
Education for pupils who are unable to attend school because of medical needs, can be provided for in the following ways:
- Children who are in-patients of most hospitals will be taught through the in hospital teaching service
- Children who are not in-patients, may receive home tutoring organised via the Education Inclusion Service and a local education centre
Children who are admitted to NHS hospitals (including psychiatric units) in other areas will receive education through local hospitals, schools or an education centre.
How the school promotes good attendance:
From January 2023, initiatives will include:
- An attendance display adjacent to the school hall and on the school website to show the attendance of each class for the week.
- At Friday Celebration Worship, the class with the most attendance will be awarded the Attendance Cup for the week.
- At the end of each term, an assembly for pupils with 100% attendance will be held. Parents are invited and help to celebrate their children getting certificates and a small treat such as a cake or fruit kebab will be shared.
- At the end of Terms 2, 4 and 6, one lucky child, who has attended 100% of the time, will win a bicycle via a raffle.
- Children with 100% attendance each week will receive a sticker.
- Children with 100% attendance across the year, will have a special event / trip to celebrate this wonderful achievement.