Information for all parents and carers on the importance of attendance
Archbishop Wake Primary School and all schools within the Blandford area are committed to ensuring the best for all our learners and we are working together to support children and families. All schools are working hard to promote good attendance and have common systems in place to work with families when attendance drops below an acceptable level.
You will be aware of the importance of good school attendance in improving a young person’s chance of success in life and establishing positive attitudes to life-long learning. There is clear evidence of the link between poor attendance at school and low levels of achievement. Of pupils who have less than 90% attendance, only 35% achieve five or more GCSEs at Grade 9 to 4 including Maths and English, but 73% of pupils who have attendance of 95% or more will achieve this.
In fact, if a child has an attendance level of 90% this means they will have missed one whole day a fortnight in school. Over a school year this will represent four weeks of absence. If this level of absence were maintained for a five-year period, it would mean half a school year would have been missed.
Within the Blandford area, if a school is concerned about a child’s attendance they will talk to the parents or carers and write to them to explain their concerns. The school will then monitor the child’s attendance, expecting to see an improvement. The Dorset Council School Attendance Service will be made aware of the school’s concerns. If no improvement is made, the family will be invited to attend an Attendance Panel.
Here at Archbishop Wake, we are determined to ensure that all our pupils have the opportunity to achieve success and have an excellent attendance record. All pupils’ attendance is monitored. Where there is cause for concern you will be contacted and attendance closely monitored for the next six weeks. If attendance has not improved sufficiently, you will be invited to an Attendance Panel.
The panel is an opportunity for the school, family and a representative from Dorset Council to meet together to discuss why a child has such a high absence rate and to hopefully come up with solutions to any problems. The panel can recommend several outcomes, which can include a further six-week period of close monitoring with specified targets for attendance; issuing a Penalty Notice or seek prosecution, which could result in a fine of up to £2,500.
Avoid taking your children out of school in term time
Can we remind you that taking children out of school during term time, without permission, could result in prosecution. The advice to parents and carers is that you must make applications for absences to the Head Teacher in advance, and these will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Any absence which has not been authorised will be recorded as “unauthorised” for registration purposes and this has the potential to impact on your child’s overall absence figure.
In line with Dorset Council Policy, if a child has 5 days (10 sessions) of any unauthorised absences, within a 12 school week period, a penalty notice of £60 per pupil, per parent/carer may be issued, which if not paid within 21 days, will double to £120. If this remains unpaid, parents/carers will be prosecuted in the Magistrates’ Court.
In order to tackle persistent absences that are a cause for concern between 90 and 95%, the school’s policy will now be that absences will automatically be unauthorised if attendance falls below 95% and there is no supported evidence of medical / dental appointments.
Children only get one chance at school, and your child’s chances of a successful future may be affected by not attending school regularly. Thank you for your support.