Attendance

Attendance at Ash Hill Academy

At Ash Hill Academy we strongly believe that excellent attendance and punctuality is the key to success of all of our learners. We therefore promote and emphasise the importance of strong and effective partnerships with parents/carers to achieve our aims for every single student. Full attendance maximises learning opportunities and parents/carers have a vital role in promoting good attitudes in attendance, ensuring that their children are present at every opportunity, arrive on time and avoid allowing children to stay at home unnecessarily or taking them out of school without authorisation.

Our attendance target of 97% is the minimum that we expect for all students. Every lesson counts and it is this commitment to learning that will have a positive effect on student’s examinations and ultimately their futures. 

What is good attendance?

Attendance percentages are not like examination results, an attendance percentage needs to be in the high nineties before it can be considered good.

  • 10 days absence = 95% attendance 
  • 19 days absence = 90% attendance 
  • 29 days absence = 85% attendance 
  • 38 days absence = 80% attendance 
  • 47 days absence = 75% attendance

Children with over 90% attendance are more likely to gain 5 or more Level 4+ GCSE’S or equivalent qualifications. However,

  • An attendance record of 90% might seem good but is equal to 1 day missed per fortnight. If this continues from Years 7 to 11, a total of six month’s education will be lost.
  • An attendance record of 80% might seem acceptable but is equal to 1 day missed per week. If this continues from Years 7 to 11, a total of one year’s education will be lost.

Why is good attendance important?

Evidence shows that students who attend school regularly make better progress both academically and socially: it is vital for pupils to achieve their full educational potential. Pupils with good attendance records benefit in the following ways:

  • Continuity of learning which makes progress and retention easier
  • Improved performance in coursework tasks
  • Enhanced performance in examinations
  • Continuity of relationships and friendships
  • Good references for further education or employment
  • Good habits are formed for later life

Punctuality

All Students are expected to arrive on time at the Academy, ready for lessons.  Students should arrive before 8.20 am in order for them to be punctual to their first lesson which begins at 8.25am.  Any student who arrives in after 8.25 am will need to sign in at student reception and will be marked as late and will receive a C4 Late detention. 

What can parents do to support their child to achieve good attendance levels?

Parents play a very important role in ensuring the good attendance records of their children. Below is a list of suggested strategies:-

  • Encourage full attendance.
  • Stress the importance of full attendance to your child.
  • Do not allow your child to have time off for minor complaints or illnesses: if they are well enough to be up and about they are generally well enough to attend the academy.
  • Monitor your child's attendance. They are given their attendance on a weekly basis by their VMG tutor.
  • Take any vacations in academy holidays, not during term time. 
  • Try to book any medical or dental appointments out of academy hours or make them towards the very end of the academy day.  Please note the academy will not authorise all day absence for medical appointments.  
  • Ensure your child is punctual; students should be in the academy before 8.20 am, in order to be ready to start learning in their first lesson which begins at 8.25 am. 

If your child is unable to attend the Academy, please telephone 01302 840961 and choose option 1. The telephone system allows callers to leave a message 24 hours a day.

Please give your child’s name, year group, the reason for the absence, and how long you expect the absence to last. Parents are expected to contact the academy every day their child is absent from the academy.  

Please note that for Safeguarding reasons we operate a 48 hour visual policy during absence. After this timescale a student must be seen by a professional, which includes Academy staff.  Therefore the Academy will conduct a home visit in these situations. If we are not able to physically see the child, a call to an appropriate police contact or 101 will be made.

 

Absence

We monitor student’s attendance closely and will follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers, by telephone or by letter. Where a student’s attendance record reaches a concerning level, we will contact you to discuss ways in which the academy can support you and your child.

Only the academy can authorise an absence. An explanation given by a parent is not, necessarily, sufficient for the academy to authorise an absence.

According to guidelines to schools from the Department for Education, an absence may only be authorised if the absence is due to:-

  • Pupil illness, though we may require medical evidence to support such an absence. 
  • "Leave" given by the academy (this commonly includes medical appointments, interviews, and other similar special circumstances) However medical appointment should be made out of academy hours whenever possible.  Please note the academy will not authorise an all day absence for medical appointments.  Evidence of medical appointments/Interviews will need to be supplied to the academy.
  • The pupil being unable to attend due to unavoidable causes – authorised at the discretion of the academy.
  • Religious observance where applicable.

Absences which the academy is not able to authorise include:-

  • Looking after a relative, pet etc.
  • A shopping trip, even if this is for uniform.
  • Day trips.
  • Lateness after the register has closed.
  • Being unable to participate in an academy activity e.g. Games or a school trip.
  • Remaining at home to wait for deliveries, repairmen etc.

Persistent Absence

A student becomes a Persistent Absentee when they miss 10% of their schooling across the academic year for whatever reason is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents/carers full support and co-operation to tackle this. 

What to do if your child has an appointment

We ask that you make routine medical and other appointments out of school time, where possible. If this is not possible, we require notification in advance. Please telephone, email, provide a note from home or appointment letter/card to confirm the appointment.

In most cases, your child should attend the Academy before the appointment and return to the Academy afterwards wherever possible. They should bring a note from home to the attendance office when it is time for them to sign out. They should sign back in at reception and the attendance office on return.

Automated calls to parents/carers

We take our safeguarding responsibility seriously and automated calls are made daily to the contact numbers of parents/carers if a student is absent from Period 1 (8.25am to 9.25am), where the Attendance Office has received no reason for absence. Calls are made on a daily basis, even where your child has been absent due to illness on previous days. We cannot assume that your child is still ill unless you have notified us. We would not wish to put your child at risk by failing to contact you.

NOTE: Please ensure your child realises the importance of attending on time and getting their present mark. Parents/carers can also help by ensuring that we hold up to date contact numbers. Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 states that it is a legal requirement that schools have at least two up to date contact numbers

Family Holidays

How do I request leave of absence for a family holiday?

All requests should be made on an Application for Leave of Absence for Annual Holiday, which is available from the academy, and should be submitted no later than 21 days before the start of the holiday.

Will the school authorise taking my child away during term-time?

Parents cannot demand leave of absence be granted for a family holiday. The Principal will consider the following exceptional circumstances prior to responding to your leave of absence request:

  1. Where it is company/organisational policy for an employee to take leave at a specific time in the year, and there is no opportunity for a family holiday in school holidays. This must be evidenced by production of the organisation's policy document.
  2. Service personnel returning from/scheduled to embark upon a tour of duty abroad.

What happens if the Principal does not agree my request?

Your child’s absence will be marked as unauthorised absence.

What are the Penalties? 

If an Education Penalty Notice is issued the penalty is £60 per parent per pupil when the payment is made within 21 days. If payment is not made within 21 days the penalty amount will increase to £120 per parent per child and must be paid by the 28th day of issue.  

Failure to pay the full amount within 28 days will result in a summons to appear in the Magistrates Court on the grounds that you have failed to ensure your child’s regular attendance at school.

Every school day counts towards your child’s future.

Days off school add up to lost learning.

In total there are 175 non-school days a year. This gives families the opportunity to:

  • Spend time together 
  • Go on family visits 
  • Go on holiday 
  • Go on days out 
  • Attend routine appointments

The law says that parents do not have the right to take their child out of school for holidays during term time. If you take your child on holiday during term-time without the academy's permission, this will be recorded as unauthorised absence and may result in parents being issued with an Education Penalty Notice.

Why shouldn’t I take my child on holiday during term time? 

Many parents and carers think it is okay to go on holiday during term time - this has a negative effect on their children’s learning and ability to achieve. If your child goes on holiday during term time, they are absent.

Statutory Requirements, the Law and the Local Authority

Registers are legal documents; regulatory requirements placed on schools regarding the keeping of registers are to be found in the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006.         

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that parents/carers are responsible to ensure their child receives a suitable education.

Under section 444 of the Education Act 1996, a parent who fails to ensure their child attends the school at which they are registered, is guilty of an offence.

The Academy works together with the Local Authority to ensure that parents/carers fulfil their responsibility. There are a range of legal sanctions that may be imposed for dealing with unauthorised absence: Education Penalty Notices, Parenting Contracts and Orders, Education Supervision Orders or referral to the Magistrates Court which can recommend fines (up to £2500) or up to 3 months in prison.   

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