The Department for Education recently published new and updated guidance for schools on attendance. Please follow the link here for further information. Following on from this release, Somerset Local Education Authority’s Education Safeguarding Service has also published updated protocols for schools in which they have outlined new guidance for term time leave alongside a graduated response to absence from school.
Considering this new guidance, we are writing to inform you that the Academy will be implementing an updated and clear attendance policy, with a renewed focus on the impact of small absences and irregular attendance on the learning of students. Student attendance will be monitored in a graduated, stage response, with attendance moving through clearly defined stages that equate to the number of sessions a student is absent from school. Each stage is supported by clear strategies of support that can involve our Welfare and Pastoral Teams, SEND Team and Learning Mentors, as well as external agencies such as the Education Safeguarding Service at the LEA through their Attendance Liaison meetings, Team Around the School initiative and direct case work.
We will be contacting parents of students who have had at least three days absence (six sessions), which equates to five lessons per day of learning and 15 lessons missed over a three-day period. A student will move through the stages for each extra absence and communication will be sent to parents highlighting when absence is of concern and the stage of absence. If absence continues to be of concern, parents/carers will be invited into the Academy and an Attendance Improvement Plan will be developed to enable clear and focused discussion on ways to support improving attendance.
In line with the advice from the Education Safeguarding Service regarding term time leave, please be aware that requests for leave during term time will not be authorised unless there are exceptional circumstances. All leave requests should be directed to the Headteacher and need to be in advance of the proposed absence. We will be issuing penalty notices for unauthorised holidays and warning penalty notice periods for students whose attendance falls below the school target. We will contact you prior to placing your child on a Warning Penalty Notice.
Please be aware that we may request medical evidence for any absences over three days. If your child has seen a GP or is issued with medication, please forward this into the school office for the attention of the Attendance Officer. If your child has any concerns about attending school, contact us as soon as possible so we can put support in place.
If your child has an absence, then it must be reported to the Academy by telephoning the Absence Line before 9.30am on 01934 745304, by emailing email@example.com or via Class Charts through the parent app. The absence must be reported on each day of absence explaining the reason.
Whenever possible, please schedule medical appointments out of school hours. If the appointment is within school hours, please provide medical evidence and ensure that your child returns to school as soon as the appointment is finished.