Statutory duty of academies
The ‘Education Act 1996, Section 7’ requires parents or guardians to ensure their child receives efficient, full-time education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
Schools are responsible for recording pupil attendance twice a day; once at the start of the morning session and once during the afternoon session. An entry must be made on the attendance register for all pupils of compulsory school age who are on the school's admission roll.
At NUSA, we are committed to ensuring that each and every child in our school fulfils their potential. To help us achieve this we want all of our children to have the best possible attendance.
Research shows that good school attendance has a significant impact upon children’s success in learning. Good attendance helps children to achieve good results, subsequently helping them to fulfil their potential and gives them a chance of a better future.
We expect all students to secure attendance of 96% or above.
Attendance is a critical factor to a productive and successful Academy career; our Academy will actively promote and encourage 100% attendance for all of our pupils. NUSA will give high priority to communicating with parents and pupils the importance of regular and punctual attendance. We recognise that parents have a vital role to play and that there is a need to establish strong home-Academy links and communications systems that can be utilised whenever there is concern about attendance.
If there are problems which affect a pupil's attendance we will investigate, identify and strive, in partnership with parents and pupils, to resolve those problems as quickly as possible.
Aims and principles
Parents are legally responsible for ensuring that a child of compulsory Academy age attends the Academy regularly.
As an Academy we will:
- Work towards ensuring that all pupils feel supported and valued.
- Consult with all members of the Academy and Education Welfare Service in developing and maintaining the whole Academy attendance policy.
- Encourage parents/carers to be actively involved in promoting their child's attendance.
- Ensure that all staff are aware of the requirements of the registration process and that they receive training on Registration Regulations and the Law relating to attendance.
- Regularly inform parents and pupils informing them of attendance rates and related issues.
- Promote positive staff attitudes to pupils returning following an absence.
- Ensure regular evaluation of our attendance policy and procedures by the head teacher and the Academy Governors.
- Attendance will be an important feature of the Academy Improvement Plan.
- Consistent and vigorous monitoring and evaluation procedures will be in place.
Rewards & Recognition for Good Attendance
There are several ways at NUSA in which we reward good attendance.
- Attendance ambassadors – those students with 100% over the last 3 years, get to become an ambassador which allows them to ‘jump’ the lunch queue
- Food Friday – The tutor group in each year group with the highest weekly attendance gets a chocolate bar as a prize
- Attendance trips – Every half term there is an opportunity to attend a trip for those students who have had 100% for that term. Trips so far have included Ice skating, Clip and climb and to watch England at Wembley.
Staff are provided with weekly attendance statistics that are in our school staff bulletin and posters around the school building. This allows the whole Academy to know exactly how we are performing, where we are excelling and where we need to focus.
Communication strategies to improve attendance
Period 1 teacher’s take the register at 8:45 am. Any pupil arriving to their lesson after the register has been taken is defined as late. Afternoon registration will take place in tutor time. Any pupil arriving after the register has been called is defined as late.
Registration is completed by each class teacher using Bromcom. The teacher should mark the pupil as present if the pupil has attended this session on time using the / code. If the pupil is late the L code should be used and if the pupil is not present and no reason is given the register should remain as N. All other registration codes are to be used by the Attendance Officer only.
First Day Contact: Parents/Carers whose child is absent are required to contact the Academy on the first day of absence, before 8:30am. If no contact has been made by the parent/carer on the first day of absence the Attendance Officer/ PSM will make every effort to contact home. If there is no response, a text message will be sent using the automated truancy call, a letter will also follow if no contact is made. A home visit might also be made if the need arises.
Illness: Absences due to illness should be reported before 8:30 am on each day of absence. If a parent knows their child will be absent for a certain period of time (i.e. due to a broken leg/tonsillitis) then we will authorise the absence for a slightly longer period of time but request regular updates from the parent. If the student is well enough to work at home whilst they are off, work is collected by the Academy and sent home to be completed and returned to Academy for feedback.
If a student has low attendance and/or has had a lot of time off due to illness, we will request that medical notes are provided before authorising any further absences due to illness. If no medical proof is provided the absence will remain unauthorised and the ‘Formal Monitoring’ process will be considered.
We will not authorise a full day's absence for a medical appointment such as dentist/orthodontist. All appointments are requested to be made outside of the Academy day wherever possible but if an appointment has to be made during the Academy day, we expect the student to be in before and/or after the appointment, depending on the time. If a student is absent for the full day we will mark them as unauthorised for either the AM or PM roll call.
All parents must complete a holiday form, however NUSA does not authorise holidays, in line with Government's policies - https://www.gov.uk/school-attendance-absence
Holidays during term time are marked as G. Exceptional circumstances would be authorised at the discretion of the Head of School (i.e. service personnel on leave after returning from overseas duties) however even then we would take into consideration what year the student is in and whether any exams or assessments are taking place at the requested time of absence.
Parents/Carers need to be aware that we will request a ‘Penalty Notice’ for any requested holiday. If found that a student was removed for the purpose of a holiday without permission/notification from parents/carers, a ‘Penalty Notice’ will also be requested, even after the pupil has returned from the holiday.
Authorised Absences: We will authorise a student's absence for the following reasons: Funerals Family Issues (Child Protection issues which are then reported to the Child Protection Officer and are monitored). We will only authorise the absence for a short time in most cases.
Absences will be classed as unauthorised if;
- The parent hasn't contacted the Academy with a valid reason for their child's absence. Letters will be sent on the day of absence and followed up weekly
- The Academy have not received the requested medical proof of illness
- A student is truanting
- Shopping for uniform
PA (Persistent Absentee) Students
NUSA aims to have 12% or less PA students.
- Phone calls home
- Speaking to students without parents to discuss the issues
- Attendance Panels
- Home Visits
- Formal Monitoring leading to ‘Penalty Notices’ if necessary
When a student does fall below 90% attendance, the attendance officer will liaise with the safeguarding team to ensure support is put in place from external agencies.
Penalty Notices/Prosecution for Non-Attendance, Persistent Lateness and Holidays
Attendance is priority for NUSA. High standards of attendance and punctuality are essential for students to learn, progress and achieve. In a co-operative, innovative and dynamic community it is vital to promote good attendance and punctuality
Weekly updates are provided to staff along with extra statistics at the end of each half term detailing lates / unauthorised absences / illness for each pupil. Patterns of absences are monitored so that interventions can be put in place
It is a legal requirement that your child attends Academy regularly and on time. As the parent/carer you have a legal responsibility to ensure their attendance. The Education Welfare Service has the statutory duty to enforce this. The Education Welfare Service can issue a penalty notice of £60, if paid within 21 days, or £120 if paid within 28 days, per child, per parent. Non-payment will result in a summons to the Magistrates Court. The Education Welfare Service can also prosecute a parent/carer in the Magistrates Court for non-attendance at a registered Academy/School or non-attendance at an agreed Education Provision. It is also a legal requirement that a pupil attends on time. The parent/carer is responsible for ensuring that their child attends on time; the Education Welfare Service can issue a penalty notice for a pupil's lateness or issue a summons to the Magistrates Court. Parents/Carers need to be aware that we will request a Penalty Notice for any requested holiday. If found that a student was removed for the purpose of a holiday without permission a Penalty Notice will also be requested, even after the pupil has returned from the holiday.
A warning song is sounded at 8.40 to ensure that pupils move swiftly to their period 1 classroom.
Lateness to Lessons All pupils who arrive late to lesson should have their mark updated from N to L on the register. Pupil lateness should be reported to the HOY.
Roles and responsibilities
Role of Parent/Carer
What can parents/carers do to help?
- Ensure the pupil attends school every day and on time.
- If the pupil is not well enough to attend, contact the school by 9am on the first day of absence.
- Try to make dental and medical appointments outside of school time or at weekends.
- Take family holidays during the school holidays. There are 175 non-school days a year for holidays, cultural experiences and family time, and as a result the academy are unable to authorise holidays taken during term time.
- To contact immediately if help or support is needed with the pupil’s attendance or punctuality.
Senior Pastoral Lead for Attendance
- Monitor, in liaison with the Attendance Officer, a pattern of attendance in each year group and respond to any causes of concern revealed
- Co-ordinate liaison between Heads of Year and the Academy Attendance Officer
- Ensure that Attendance Monitoring has a high profile within the Academy’s expectations and daily routines
- Pursue with parents and pupils any persistent problems referred by Assistant Heads of Year and/or the Attendance Officer
- Co -ordinate rewards including food Friday, attendance trips and attendance ambassadors.
Academy Attendance Officer
- Monitor all registers daily
- Ensure that registers are marked in accordance with DCSF guidelines and use registration codes approved by DCSF
- Ensure that registers are available if required by the Local Authority for inspection.
- On the first day of absence contact parents/carers to establish the reason for absence. Follow up unexplained absences
- Liaise with the HOY on any absences that are causing concern.
- Liaise with the HOY to resolve pupil problems that related to absence/lateness.
- Produce attendance and punctuality posters on a weekly basis
- Ensure that registers at the end of each Academy week are a correct record of each pupil's attendance.
- Liaise with PRU and alternative education providers for pupils' attendance at agreed provisions.
- Refer to the Education Welfare Service if necessary
- Will set the Academy Attendance target by December for the following academic year.
- Will support this policy.
- The focus group will receive termly attendance updates from SLT
Head of Year (HOY)
The head of year will;
- Review the attendance spreadsheet on a regular basis looking at patterns and trends and resolving any problems in liaison with the Attendance Officer.
- Look at what attendance stage each student is at.
- In year team meetings, allocate attendance intervention and get feedback from impact intervention.
- Complete home visits alongside attendance officer in timetabled slot.
- Arrange appointments for attendance action day, for those pupils that have attendance concerns. Complete meetings and follow up phone calls.
- Highlight and drive attendance / punctuality in weekly assembly.
- Monitor and action pupil lateness.
Form tutors will:
- Ensure pupils are aware of their attendance percentage by getting data from Bromcom and logging this, promote food Friday and competitiveness and importance within tutor group.
- Tutor intervention to be made at stage 2, phone call to be made and strategies agreed with parents. To be reviewed after 2 weeks with a holistic approach logged on attendance spreadsheet. Feedback to HOY on attendance intervention in year team meetings.
- Ensure registers are taken accurately within the first 5 minutes.
- Advise their HOY and attendance officer where there are concerns about a pupil’s pattern of attendance and punctuality.
Subject teachers will:
- Ensure registers are taken accurately within the first 5 minutes.
- Offer support and guidance for pupils who fall behind in classes.
- Refer to Head of Year any patterns of absences which seriously impede achievement
- Actively promote the message that regular attendance and good punctuality matters.
Pastoral support managers
- To complete back to school interview after 3 or more days off or second occasion within a half term. Spreadsheet to be updated with feedback.
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