Statutory Duty of Schools
The Education Act 1996 requires parents or guardians to make sure their children receive 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 in the attendance register for all pupils of compulsory school age who are on the school’s admission roll.
- If your child has 10 days holiday in a school year they will have 180 days at school and 185 days off.
- If your child has 10 days holiday a year they can only achieve 94.74% attendance
- If your child has 10 days holiday and 5 days off sick a year they can only achieve 92.11% attendance
- If your child has 15 days off in each school year they will miss 195 days (more than a whole academic year) during their 13 year education
We are a successful primary school and your child plays their part in making it so. We aim to create an environment that enables and encourages all members of our school community to reach out for excellence. For our pupils to gain the greatest benefit from their education, it is vital they attend regularly. Your child should arrive at school on time every day our school is open, unless there is an unavoidable reason for absence.
We consistently work towards a goal of 100% attendance for all children. Every opportunity is used to convey to pupils and their parents or carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance.
The Government expects schools to:
- Promote good attendance and reduce absence (including persistent absence)
- Make sure every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled
- Act early to address patterns of absence
- Parents to perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age, who are registered at school, attend regularly.
Why Regular Attendance is Important
Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Any pupil’s absence also disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class.
Ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school is your legal responsibility and permitting absence from school without a good reason is an offence in law and may result in prosecution.
What does the law say?
All children of compulsory school age – between 5-16 – must receive a suitable full-time education. As a parent, you are responsible for ensuring that this happens, either by registering your child at a school or by making appropriate alternative arrangements.
Once you have registered your child at a school, you are also legally responsible for ensuring that your child attends school regularly. If you fail to do this – even if your child misses school without you knowing – legal action can be taken against you by the LA. It is a legal offence to fail to ensure your child attends school regularly.
Legal action can involve a penalty notice or being taken to court.
What happens if my child is absent from school?
When a pupil is absent from school, this will be classified as either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’.
The governing body and headteacher decide which absences are granted as authorised. Authorised absences are only permitted for valid reasons such as:
- Medical or dental appointments, where the appointment cannot be arranged outside of school hours.
- Sporting activity
- Religious observances.
- Family bereavement.
Wherever possible, parents should always try to arrange medical and dental appointments during school holidays or after school hours.
What are unauthorised absences?
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider essential or reasonable.
Unauthorised absences can include:
- Forgetting school term dates.
- Absences which have not been explained.
- Arriving at school after the register has closed
- Keeping pupils off school unnecessarily or without explanation.
- Day trips or family outings.
- Problems with uniform/clothing.
- Birthdays and holidays
- Going shopping
- Having hair cut
- Staying at home to look after young children or sick relatives
- Holidays that have not been given authorised approval
Holidays during term time
The school cannot be expected to authorise an absence for a holiday during term time.
Taking holidays during term time means that pupils miss important school time – both educationally and for other school activities. It will be difficult for pupils to catch up on work when they return to school. Only in exceptional circumstances may a holiday be authorised during term time – this will be decided by the headteacher.
Exceptional circumstances do not involve cheaper costs, family availability or weather conditions.
You can be fined if you take your child on holiday during term time without permission from the headteacher.
It all adds up!
100% Attending school everyday gives your child the best chance of success.
90% Attending 4½ days a week = 4 weeks missed learning per year.
80% Attending 4 days a week = 8 weeks missed learning per year.
70% Attending 3 ½ days a week = 12 weeks missed learning per year.
80% attendance adds up to missing 2 full years of education over their school life!