Within the Academy, excellent attendance and punctuality is our aim for every student. Full attendance maximises learning opportunities and parents/carers have a vital role in promoting good attitudes towards attendance. We ask for support from parents/carers to ensure that their children are present at every opportunity and arrive on time. We also ask that parents/carers avoid allowing their children to stay at home unnecessarily and refrain from taking them out of school without authorisation. Evidence shows that students who attend school regularly make better progress both academically and socially.
We strive for 100% attendance for all students. Every lesson counts and it is this commitment to learning that will have a positive effect on student’s examinations and will improve their chances and choices in adult life.
Excellent attendance and punctuality prepares your child for the world of work and supports development of friendships and relationships.
The Government describes any student with attendance of 90% and below as a Persistent Absentee. Persistent Absence has a serious impact on students as much of the work children miss when they are off school is never made up, leaving these students at a considerable disadvantage to others.
Children with this level of absence are less likely to achieve their educational potential and their friendships at school can suffer. Ultimately, it puts their future career plans at risk. As a result, the Government makes it clear to schools and Local Authorities that they have a responsibility to intervene and take action to improve attendance.
The government has strengthened schools’ ability to respond by increasing Penalty Notices (fines) to £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days.
We take our safeguarding responsibility seriously and automated calls are made daily to the contact numbers of parents/carers if a student is absent at morning registration (8.25am or 8.50am depending on the Academy) where the Attendance Office has received no reason for absence. Calls are made on a daily basis, even where your child has been absent due to illness on previous days. We cannot assume that your child is still ill unless you have notified us. We would not wish to put your child at risk by failing to contact you.
NOTE: Please ensure your child realises the importance of attending registration on time and getting their present mark. Parents/carers can also help by ensuring that we hold up to date contact numbers.
We have to establish the whereabouts of every child on a daily basis. In the event that we do not hear from you and we are unable to make contact with you regarding your child’s absence, we may try other contacts held on your child’s record and/or make a home visit.
All routine medical and other appointments should be arranged out of school time. In exceptional circumstances, where an urgent appointment is required or for hospital clinic appointments that operate during the day only, we require sight of an appointment card or letter in order to authorise any absence from school. We ask that parents/carers ensure their child attends school before the appointment and returns afterwards.
Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence. The government strongly urges parents/carers to avoid taking their children out of school for family holidays as this will disrupt their education. There is a common misconception that any child is allowed to take 10 days’ holiday per year. This is simply not true. The Principal is under no obligation to authorise any leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances why this cannot be arranged out of school time. Outwood Academies cannot and will not authorise leave of absence unless the circumstances are exceptional.
A child who misses 2 weeks of school, misses 50 hours of lessons which is extremely difficult to catch up.
Any request should be made well in advance and in writing (a form is available from the Academy). Requests for absence for reasons such as compassionate leave, special family events, sporting or musical competitions, etc., should be made in the same way.
Absence will not be authorised for reasons such as shopping for uniform, birthdays, day trips, weekends away etc.
All requests are considered individually, taking into account the circumstances of the request. Other factors will be taken into account, such as:
Parents will be notified of the Academy’s decision either by telephone or in writing.
Where a parental request has been refused, and parents continue to take their child out of school, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised. We reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This is a fine of £60 per parent for each child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent for each child if paid between 22 and 28 days. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court. This legislation also applies if no prior application has been made or where a false reason for the absence has been provided.
In order to support parents who wish to book family holidays, academy term dates for this year and next will be published on our website as soon as they are available.
We monitor every student’s attendance and punctuality closely and follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers, by telephone and/or by letter. Where a student’s attendance record reaches a concerning level, we will contact parents/carers to discuss ways in which the Academy can support you and your child.
Where a student’s attendance reaches a concerning level, we will contact you by letter, telephone, or home visit in the first instance to discuss ways in which we can work together to support you and your child.
If you have any concerns or are aware of any issues which may impact on your child’s attendance, please contact their Learning Manager or the Attendance Office without delay so that we may offer support.
The Academy has a responsibility to work with families to address attendance concerns. Where a student’s attendance continues to fall despite initial contact with parents/carers and the use of appropriate strategies and support to help improve attendance, the Academy may take implement the Fast Track to Attendance process. Please note: This process is a positive measure to support parents/carers to fulfil their legal responsibility to ensure the regular attendance of their child.
A meeting will be held in the Academy and parents/carers and the student (if appropriate) will be invited to attend. An action plan will be drawn up at this meeting and parents/carers will be sent a letter explaining the outcome of the meeting and possible consequences. Following a monitoring period a review will be held and if insufficient improvement is made, the Academy will make a decision on the next steps. This could include the issue of a Penalty Notice, referral to the Magistrates Court for prosecution or, in some cases, the monitoring period may be extended for a further period of time. Attendance staff, Learning Managers and/or other academy staff will offer support throughout this process. At this stage, discussions will take place with the Local Authority regarding any legal action. For further details regarding legal sanctions, please see the section below.
Parents/carers have a legal duty to make sure their child attends school regularly. Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 states that “if a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.” The Academy can make a referral to the Local Authority where parents/carers are failing in their legal duty. The Local Authority has the power to enforce school attendance where this becomes problematic, including the power to prosecute parents/carers who fail to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school. If found guilty, parents/carers could be fined up to £2500 and/or imprisoned for 3 months.
Penalty notices are an alternative to the prosecution of parents for failing to ensure their child attends school regularly and are fines of £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days.
If your child is too ill to attend the Academy, parents/carers should contact the Academy Attendance Office as soon as possible:
Please give your child’s name, Year Group, the reason for the absence, and how long you expect the absence to last. We ask that you contact us each day that your child is absent unless you have given us an indication of how long the absence will last.
On your child’s return following an absence, we request that parents/carers complete an absence slip at the back of the student’s planner. The student should hand the slip in at the Attendance Office.
Good attendance is celebrated in VMGs and in assemblies.
Weekly and half-termly awards are presented in VMGs. Whole school, year group, continent and VMG attendance is updated and publicised regularly on VMG notices and displays within the Academy.
Individual students’ good attendance is recognised. A prize draw for vouchers takes place at the end of every term. Certificates are issued to students achieving above the Academy target of 96% on a termly and annual basis. End of year prizes are given to students with excellent attendance. There are special awards given to students with excellent attendance during their 5 years at OGA.
Students are kept informed of their attendance levels via their VMG mentor every half term.