Regular attendance at school is essential for all students, as there is a direct link between the grades that children achieve and their level of attendance. If students are not in school, then they cannot learn effectively. We also know that regular attendance at school is also important for students’ wellbeing and social and emotional development; providing routine, purpose and social contact.
We expect that every child will attend school on time, every day. While we recognise that rare absence due to illness may be unavoidable, we expect all parents and carers to meet their legal responsibility of ensuring regular attendance.
Contacting the school about absence
Each school day is made up of two sessions – a morning and an afternoon session. The school is legally required to record a mark in the attendance register for each student for each session to show whether they attended or were absent. Marks demonstrate the nature of absence and whether it is authorised or unauthorised. Absence is only ever authorised by the school, not by parents or carers, and we are only able to authorise absence in specific circumstances.
Absence due to illness
If your child is ill and unable to attend school as a result, please notify us of their absence, providing a specific reason (i.e. not just ‘ill’ or ‘unwell’) by 8:30am. We strongly encourage all parents/carers to use Edulink One to do this. Absence may also be reported by telephone on 01462 620 700. Parents/carers must notify the school of absence on each day that a child is not attending school. If a child’s attendance is low i.e. below 93%, then it is likely that their parents/carers will be asked to provide evidence in order for the school to authorise the absence.
Absence due to medical appointments
We ask that any medical appointments are made outside of school time. Where this is unavoidable, please notify the school of a planned absence as soon as you are aware of it using Edulink One. Absence due to a medical appointment will only be authorised if evidence e.g. an appointment letter or card, a screenshot of appointment confirmation text message, is provided. This can be attached to an absence report in Edulink One or emailed to email@example.com. Parents/carers should minimise absence around appointments. For example, a student attending an appointment at 11:00am at the Lister Hospital should attend school for registration and period 1 and they will be marked as present for the morning session. If they return to school for period 5, they will also be marked as present for the afternoon session.
Absence for any other reason
For all other absences, an ‘Absence Request for Exceptional Circumstances’ form should be completed and submitted at least two weeks in advance of the planned absence. This form can be downloaded below and the completed form should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or delivered to school for the attention of the Attendance Improvement Officer. In accordance with the law, the school will not authorise absence for holiday during term time, unless there are truly exceptional circumstances behind the request.
Absence Request for Exceptional Circumstances (Electronic Version)
Punctuality to school
It is our expectation that students arrive at school by 8:30 for an 8:35 start, and we ask for all parents and carers for their support in ensuring that all students meet this expectation. Our gates close at 8:35, as students should be in their form room, with their form tutor, by this time.
Tutor time each morning is an important part of the day, as it gives students a chance to focus on the day ahead, get organised, and also is the point in the day when important messages are shared. Unsurprisingly, students who attend school on time have better outcomes than those who arrive late on a regular basis. We also value punctuality as an important personal quality and it is essential that we teach this to all of our students.
We want to support students in attending school on time. Therefore we do monitor their punctuality, and where we spot changes or persistent issues, we will seek to find out the reason for this and put in place support, where appropriate.
Reporting reasons for lateness
We do recognise that there are occasions when lateness is unavoidable. Therefore, if there is a good reason, a parent/carer should phone the school or use the absence form on Edulink One by 9:30 on that day, to give the reason. We may then remove the 'late to school' record.
If there is a short-term reason why you child may have a problem attending school on time, please contact their Year Leader, who will decide whether a temporary Late Pass may be issued.
Consequence for lateness
If a student is late on two occasions in a week, they will receive an hour’s after-school detention the following day. A student’s form tutor will contact home in the event of further lateness in the same week.
Our registers close at 9am and any student in Years 7-11 who arrives after 9am, without a legitimate reason, will be recorded as an unauthorised late in the register. In this scenario, the student would receive a 1-hour detention for this lateness, and, additional unauthorised lateness could result in Hertfordshire County Council issuing each parent or carer with a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Working with parents and carers
If there are any concerns, we will try to solve these problems first. However, if we cannot solve the problems, then you may be invited to a meeting at the school or we may visit you at home.
The school will always try to help parents and carers, and work with them to resolve any difficulties that are preventing a child's regular attendance. However, the law is quite clear that parents and carers are responsible for making sure their child goes to school regularly and on time.
There may be good reasons for attendance problems, such as illness. However, if it becomes clear that this is not the case, and despite every best effort to work out a solution the child's attendance does not improve, we may issue a Fixed Penalty Notice or begin legal proceedings.
What does the law say?
All parents and carers of children aged 5 to 16 who are on a school roll must, by law, make sure that their child goes to school both regularly and punctually. That means you have a duty to make sure your child is in school when they should be and that they arrive at school in time for both morning and afternoon sessions.
You should be aware that records of meetings, both paper and electronic, copies of letters and details of telephone calls with the school will be kept and may be used as evidence in court if legal proceedings are taken. In the first instance, a Fixed Penalty Notice may be issued if a child has 15 unauthorised sessions. Requests for authorised absence will not normally be granted for the purpose of a holiday. Any parent or carer taking their child out of school for the purpose of a holiday may be subjected to a Fixed Penalty Notice.