Attendance and Absence

ATTENDANCE AT OUTWOOD ACADEMY PORTLAND

Outwood Academy Portland (OAP) is committed to maximising educational opportunities and achievement for all students. For students to gain the best from their time at Outwood Academy Portland, it is vital that they achieve excellent attendance and punctuality. We strive for 100% attendance for all students. OAP actively promotes good attendance and discourages unjustified absence. OAP recognises that promoting good attendance and punctuality prepares students for the disciplines of adult working life.

  • OAP needs to ensure that all its students access a full-time education which meets their needs and allows all to realise their potential.
  • Our academy will strive to provide a safe and caring environment where each student can engage in all opportunities offered.
  • We will work with students and their families to ensure every student attends regularly and punctually.
  • We will promote good attendance and punctuality and will investigate any unexplained and/or unjustified absence.
  • We will work closely with parents/carers where student’s absence is cause for concern.
  • We will support students to achieve good attendance and punctuality.
  • We will support students returning to school after prolonged absence.

What Outwood Academy Portland expects from Students:

  • To attend regularly and on time
  • To be punctual to all lessons
  • To ensure that they register for all timetabled lessons and inform the Attendance Office where appropriate if they are not able to be registered.
  • To ensure all messages and notes from parents/carers are taken to the Attendance Office.

What Outwood Academy Portland expects from Parents/Carers:

  • To ensure their child attends regularly, punctually, dressed in full uniform and equipped to learn.
  • To ensure their child attends every day the Academy is open unless they are too ill to do so.
  • To avoid keeping their child away from the Academy for any reason other than illness or other authorised explanation (see overleaf).
  • To avoid arranging holidays during term time
  • To immediately inform the Academy Attendance Office if their child is unable to attend (by 8.25am where possible), including the reason for absence and expected date of return.
  • If no indication of a return date has been given, parents/carers should contact the Academy on each day of absence.
    Registration
  • The law requires the register to be taken twice a day – at the start of the morning session and once in the afternoon session.
  • Students are expected to arrive by 8.15 in order to be ready for the start of the first lesson at 8.25.
  • Students are registered at the start of every lesson of the day.
  • Registers close at 9.00am in the morning and 1.00pm in the afternoon, after which students will be marked as unauthorised absence unless a satisfactory explanation has been received.
  • The register is marked using the DfE Attendance and Absence Codes (see Appendix 1).
  • Guidance on applying the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006 can be found in ‘Advice on School Attendance’ published 2012 by the DfE.
    Punctuality
  • The Academy gates close at 8.25.
  • Any student arriving after this time should sign in at Student Reception. Where appropriate the student’s planner will be stamped/late slip given.
  • Students without a satisfactory explanation will be given a C4 detention of 1hr on the same day or the following day depending on the institution.
    *Where a detention has been issued on the same day, parents and carers will be informed of the detention during the day.
  • Students arriving at first lesson without a sticker in their planner must be directed back to the Student Reception Desk.
  • Repeated lateness will be reported to parents/carers.

Authorised/Unauthorised Absence

Authorised absence is where the Academy has given approval for absence in advance or where the explanation given afterwards has been accepted as satisfactory justification for the absence. Parents/carers may not authorise absence; only the Academy can do this.
*Parents/carers should contact the Academy Attendance Office (by telephone or email) on the morning of absence (preferably before 8.25, giving a reason and an expected date of return.

  • Absence may be authorised for such reasons as:
    • illness
    • unavoidable medical/dental appointments
    • exceptional family circumstances e.g. bereavement
    • days of religious observance
    • study leave
    • exclusion
    • involvement in a public performance
  • Absence will not be authorised for such reasons as:
    • looking after brothers/sisters/unwell parents/carers
    • birthdays
    • days out
    • shopping trips
    • family holidays where permission has not been granted (please note, family holidays during term time will not be approved).
    • special occasions, where the Academy does not agree that the absence should be granted.
  • Medical/dental and other appointments should be arranged out of school hours wherever possible. Where this is not possible, students should, where practically possible, come to school before the appointment, sign out and return to school after the appointment. Should the academy require evidence of a medical appointment, a medical evidence letter will be sent to parents/carers. Absence due to illness will only be authorised if the medical evidence has been received (i.e. appointment card, doctor’s note or prescription). If medical appointments are attended at the start of the day, causing the student to arrive late to the academy, medical evidence (as above) must be provided or a late detention will be issued.
  • Following an explanation from parents/carers regarding a student’s absence, the Academy will decide whether or not it accepts the explanation and authorise/unauthorise accordingly.
  • Absence which hasn’t been explained will remain as unauthorised.
  • Parents/carers should not take their children out of school for days out, to attend sporting events, etc.

How we Respond to Absence/Lateness

  • If a student is absent at morning registration without contact from a parent/carer to explain the absence, the Academy will contact parents/carers. We take our safeguarding responsibilities seriously and will always do our best to contact parents/carers to ensure that they are aware of their child’s absence. Contact will be via automated message which will attempt to call/text landline numbers and mobile numbers for priority 1 and 2 contact numbers. Parents/carers are able to respond directly upon receiving this call. Alternatively, where a message has been left by the automated service, a parent should contact the Attendance Office inform us of the reason for their child’s absence. The academy asks that parents/carers ensure that their respective academy has the most up to contact details at all times.
  • If no response is received to the automated service, the Academy will write to parents/carers requesting an explanation.
  • All absence notes will be retained.
  • Where a student’s absence is cause for concern, the Academy will write to parents/carers and/or invite the parents/carers into school or visit parents/carers at home.

Persistent Absence

A student becomes a Persistent Absentee when they miss 15% of their schooling across the academic year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents’/carers’ fullest support and co-operation to tackle this. Any student whose attendance has reached the PA threshold or is at risk of moving towards that threshold is given priority for intervention

Holidays in Term Time

Any absence, including absence for holidays, interrupts the continuity of student’s learning. Parents/carers are strongly urged not to take students out of school for holidays during term time. Government Legislation now states that holidays during term time cannot be authorised except in exceptional circumstances, please refer to the Department for Education for the latest guidance.

The Academy has the right to serve a Fixed Penalty Notice on parents/carers who insist on taking their children out of school without authorisation. Fixed Penalties require each parent to pay a fine of £60 per child if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. Failure to pay within the specified timescale will result in a summons to appear before the Magistrates Court. This legislation also applies to any student taking holidays without prior notification to the Academy.

Promoting Good Attendance and Punctuality

  • It is the belief that all students are more likely to attend regularly if the curriculum is engaging and personalised to meet their needs. The curriculum is monitored and revised on an annual basis so that it meets the ability needs of all students.
  • Students are regularly informed of their attendance levels and, if appropriate, how they can improve.
  • Where appropriate students whose attendance falls below the appropriate target for each academy will be set a target for improvement and progress towards these targets will be regularly reviewed.
    *Good and improved attendance and punctuality will be promoted and rewarded.
  • Students, parents/carers and staff are regularly reminded about the importance of good attendance.
  • Parents/carers are encouraged to contact the Academy Attendance Office at any time to discuss their child’s attendance.
  • Regular meetings will be held with the appropriate members of staff/external agencies to identify and support those students whose attendance is a cause for concern.
  • Students who have been absent for extended periods of time will be supported as appropriate to re-integrate back into the Academy.
  • Effective links are made with primary schools to facilitate the smooth transition to Outwood Grange Academies Trust.
  • Student’s attendance will be reported six times a year in line with Praising Stars©

Statutory Requirements, the Law and the Local Authority

  • Registers are legal documents; regulatory requirements placed on schools regarding the keeping of registers are to be found in the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006.
  • Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that parents/carers are responsible to ensure their child receives a suitable education.
  • Under section 444 of the Education Act 1996, a parent who fails to ensure their child attends the school at which they are registered, is guilty of an offence.
  • The Academy works together with the relevant Local Authority to ensure that parents/carers fulfil their responsibility. There are a range of legal sanctions that may be imposed for dealing with unauthorised absence: Fixed Penalty Notices, Parenting Contracts and Orders, Education Supervision Orders or referral to the Magistrates Court which can recommend fines (up to £2500) or up to 3 months in prison.
  • All sanctions are used to improve attendance and punctuality and reduce absence.