Durrington High School in partnership with students, home and school has very good levels of attendance which we aim to continue to improve year on year. We thank parents/carers for their continued support with this. The information below outlines our systems and expectations in relation to attendance as well as the new government regulations relating to absence request during term times.
Research and our historical data shows that low attendance has a detrimental impact on progress & achievement. Students are in school for only 190 out of 365 days each. This means there are 175 other days for holidays and evenings/weekends for social activities.
To put this in context:
- A student with 80% attendance misses the equivalent of 1 day a week, which equates to 6 lessons of learning per week.
- A student with 90% attendance misses the equivalent of 1 day a fortnight, which equates to 6 lessons of learning a fortnight.
Durrington High School expectations
As a school we have high expectations for all of our students in terms of attendance, expecting all students to attend on a regular basis. As a school we define the term ‘regular’ as a minimum of 96% attendance. In the rare cases that there is a justifiable reason for a student’s low attendance it is expected that the parent/carer engage and communicate proactively with the school providing clear information (from involved professionals) explaining the reason for the persistent absence. The clearer the information we have the better we can support the student in their education. The school has a range of flexible and supportive options available to students with specific needs in order to help them attend and therefore not miss out on their education. It is ultimately the responsibility of the parents/carers to ensure their son/daughter regularly attends school.
The school has a range of monitoring and support systems designed to help students to achieve and maintain regular attendance. Our staff work directly with students, their families and outside agencies to help encourage and secure regular attendance. In addition to this we regularly celebrate and reward students with excellent attendance and punctuality.
If a student has a pattern of persistent absence and/or a student’s attendance drops and/or stays at a low level we are duty bound to inform the local authority (WSCC Pupil Entitlement Team) who are responsible for taking further action.
Absence from school
We request that if your son/daughter is absent from school you telephone the school on the morning of each absence on the dedicated absence line (01903 705644) leaving the student’s name, form and the reason for absence.
Upon their return to school please provide a written note verifying the absence.
For longer periods of absence or where there are repeated absences a parent/parents may be asked to provide a letter from a GP or another medically qualified professionals confirming that your child is/was not able to attend school and the reason for this. This may at points incur a charge from a GP surgery. Where needed, we are happy to support parents/carers by contacting GP’s directly to speed up the process in clarifying the medical situation. The school reserves the right to code absence as unauthorised where no such evidence is provided.
As a school, we have a duty of care to ensure students are in regular attendance of school. Where there is an attendance concern it may be appropriate for staff to complete a home visit to check on the welfare of a student.
We request that whenever possible medical/dental appointments are made outside of the school day. Where this is not possible it is expected that the student attends school before and/or after the appointment. If students attend medical appointments during the school day this is counted as an absence from school.
Requests for leave of absence in term time
As of September 2013 the Headteacher is no longer allowed to authorise absence for student from school except in “exceptional circumstances”. Holidays are not considered “exceptional circumstances”.
In “exceptional cases” parents can request in advance to a take a leave of absence. Requests should be made on the standard school form (Leave of Absence Request form) and should be sent into school at least 4 weeks in advance of the first day of the requested absence. The Headteacher, via the designated in school Senior Leader for attendance, will then consider the request and communicate the decision back to you in a timely way.
If the absence is not authorised and the student is not present in school on one or more of the previously specified dates, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. This may lead to a fixed penalty notice (fine) being issued by the Local Authority.
The government has placed a priority on reducing all forms of absence and introduced Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) fines to parents whose children are absent without the school’s authorisation. These are coordinated and issued by the local authority.
10 or more unauthorised sessions of absence (equivalent to 5 school days) across a 10 week period may result in a FPN notice being issued. The FPN is issued with an invoice for £120 and 28 days are given to settle the Penalty. If the FPN is paid within the first 21 days the amount payable is reduced to £60.
To avoid coding of absences as unauthorised it is therefore essential that when a student has a serious illness/medical condition that creates a pattern of sporadic or sustained absence from school information you as parent/carer obtain a letter or facilitate effective contact with a medical professional (GP/consultant). This will allow us to liaise with them, gather necessary evidence and then code the absence appropriately.
Please see link below for full information from WSCC.
Fixed Penalty Notices
The school expects all students to be on time each and every day to period 1 and subsequent lessons. Failure to do this (without valid reason) will result in sanctions being put in place on an escalating scale. Persistent lateness will, if not improved through support and/or sanctions, result in the lateness being coded unauthorised (see previous section)
It is expected that students have a minimum of 96% to be offered a place on non-statutory school trips. Students with attendance below 96% may only be offered a place at the discretion of the school. The exception to this is if there is medical evidence explaining specific or long term absence.
Report Student Absence
Mrs S Dalmon
Whole School Attendance Lead