Attendance and Punctuality Policy
Attendance & Punctuality Policy
Date created - September 2021
Date reviewed - Approved by AGC on 3/10/2022
Next review date - October 2024
Attendance and Punctuality
Regular academy attendance and good punctuality is considered essential to ensure sustained academic progress and social development. Every Child matters at Co-op Academy Manchester. Regular attendance is an integral part of success. The link between attendance and attainment is firmly established and well documented. Those pupils who attend more tend to achieve better qualifications than those who do not. Those with excellent attendance records are more likely to be able to access higher education and have better employment prospects. Regular attendance is essential if pupils are to reach their full potential.
The academy sees the maximising of attendance and punctuality rates as one of its key tasks. It is the academy’s priority that each pupil knows what their current attendance is, how to improve/maintain it and what their attendance target is. The academy will work hard to provide a welcoming, caring environment where every pupil feels safe and valued.
This policy gives notification to parents of actions we will take to promote excellent attendance.
In order to promote maximum student attendance and good punctuality, Co-op Academy Belle Vue will:
- promote a positive supportive ethos based upon our Ways of Being
- ensure staff act as role models for standards of attendance and punctuality
- employ systems and create strong partnerships to inform parents/carers of expectations regarding student attendance
- emphasise throughout the whole staff the importance of good relationships with pupils, parents/carers and respond appropriately to their needs
- reduce the number of PA pupils and on track PA’s
- work cooperatively with external agencies
- monitor student attendance/punctuality and take relevant action based on data available
- support long-term absentees with the aim of successful reintegration
- employ systems to identify internal truancy
- provide a ‘stepping stone’ personalised curriculum to meet the needs of individual students (if required)
- reward excellent or improved attendance in a variety of ways
- show commitment to staff development strategies for improving student attendance
- follow the ‘Every Child Matters’ ethos
Contact with Parents and Carers
The academy will take advantage of appropriate opportunities to emphasise the importance of good student attendance and punctuality with parents/carers who are primarily responsible for ensuring students attend school through:
- sharing this policy
- parental communications (texts / parent app / email etc)
- parents’ evenings
- the academy website
- meetings and interviews
Parents/carers are also informed of the precise arrangements for notification of absence/punctuality issues.
The academy seeks to work in partnership with parents/carers and to foster a supportive relationship in the interests of the student. Parental contact is established as a first step and not a last resort.
The principal function of this role is to help parents and carers to meet their statutory obligations on school attendance. The individual has a clear preventive role. Through home visiting they may be especially well placed to assess a non attendee’s problems in the wider family context.
There are regular weekly timetabled meetings between Year Leaders, SENCo and Head of School
Monitoring of Attendance
The Form Tutor is responsible for maintaining the form register and for monitoring individual attendance. It is his/her responsibility to check that all absences are accounted for and appropriately coded. In the case of absences known in advance (e.g. medical treatment, funerals or religious observation) prior written notification is required; where the absence is medical evidence will be required, failure to do so may lead to the absence not being authorised. Parents/carers are requested to arrange leave of absence within the academy holiday periods. Should any leave of absence be taken without notifying the academy or obtaining the Head of School’s authorisation a Penalty Notice fine will be served.
If a student fails to return from a leave of absence and contact with the parents has not been made or received, within 20 days the school may take the student off the school’s roll in compliance with the Education (student Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. This means that the child will lose their school place. The academy will work closely with the local authority’s CME policy and protocols before any student is removed from the register.
Parents/carers are requested to contact the academy on the first day of student absence before 8:15am where possible. If no message is received, a phone call is made by the Year Leader, who keeps a record of the results of phone calls made and provides feedback for the Form Tutor. The importance to our systems of contact numbers leads to regular data checks.
As part of our safeguarding initiative, home visits can be made even if we have received a call to say a student will not be in school, this is to fulfil our duty of care obligation.
Persistence absence (PA), (where a student’s absence falls below 90%) is monitored and reviewed weekly in conjunction with the Year Leader. Intervention strategies are implemented immediately to raise attendance and address individual needs. Year attendance targets are set and displayed. Form tutors are regularly provided with weekly data concerning the attendance and absence of students in their forms to enable them to monitor effectively and counsel students accordingly. The Attendance Lead will provide weekly monitoring lists to the SLT / key pastoral staff to monitor intervention work with students.
In addition, all students are made responsible for monitoring their own attendance. Lessons such as Citizenship, assemblies and form sessions emphasise the importance of a good attendance when seeking a place in FE or entry into a career.
Good attendance and punctuality are recognised and rewarded throughout the year. Year Leaders are responsible for monitoring attendance for their year group and following up absences that are a cause for concern. Every effort is made to establish a mutually supportive relationship between home and the academy.
Action may include any or all of the following, dependent on circumstances:
- Lost learning time (detention) made up at the end of the day/week, up to a maximum of 1 hour
- Counselling or mentoring of the individual student
- Telephone conversation(s) with parents/carers
- Letters or meetings with parents/carers and other family members
- The use of an interpreter in the case of non English speakers
- Referral to the attendance manager for home visit(s)
- Meeting in the academy with the Head of School
- Use of report card to monitor attendance
- Use of contract to support attendance
- Individual support programme, e.g. amended timetable, change of class or teacher with a Pastoral Support Plan (PSP)
- Fixed Penalty Notices for unauthorised absence which can lead to a fine per parent in respect of each child
- Cases forwarded for prosecution for non-attendance
If evidence of unauthorised absence is found, parents/carers are always informed and are given the opportunity to discuss the circumstances and the action to be taken. Students may be counselled or supported by the Year Leader or a teacher with whom they have a positive relationship on the risks inherent in poor attendance including the adverse impact on their academic development.
In addition, to support the behaviour sanctions and strategies in the academy, any student who refuses to comply with the academy dress code, in respect to uniform, hair colour and style, makeup, jewellery or piercings will be placed in Internal Exclusion. Any student failing to comply with this sanction will be sent home and expected to return the same day in the correct uniform. If the student does not return in the correct uniform, a meeting will be arranged the following day with the parent/carer to discuss non-compliance with the academy uniform policy. Failure to attend this meeting will lead to unauthorised absence and may result in legal penalties being implemented.
Parents / Carers are responsible for informing the academy on the first day of absence that their child is too ill to attend school, wherever possible before 8:15am. If your child is absent for 3 days or more we will require a medical certificate from your G.P. or a stamped academy medical card stating your child is too ill to attend school. Where attendance levels are of concern and monitoring is in place, medical evidence will be required for all absences. Telephone calls are made to every parent/carer of a student who is absent from the academy each morning. If we cannot make contact, a text/app message will be sent. If students are absent from school for medical reasons, the responsibility is on the parent to provide evidence of illness not the academy.
Monitoring of Punctuality
From 8:35am students are registered as late by a senior member of staff. This is recorded on the academy systems. A 30 minute lost learning time detention takes place at the end of each academy week. Recent legislation passed by the Government requires that we do not have to give 24 hour notification to parents.
All academy gates are locked at 8.30am except the main entrance. If students arrive at the academy late, they need to go straight to the Main Reception/Student Reception. Reception staff will then sign in all late students. The academy closes the statutory register at 9.05am. Any student arriving after this time will receive an unauthorised absence mark.
Information concerning attendance should be given to students at the beginning of every week. Form tutors and associated form tutors should inform the individual students in their tutor groups of:
- their current attendance %
- their target attendance (if in place)
- strategies for improvement (if appropriate)
In addition, form tutors should inform students who are border-line or on track PA of the seriousness of this and of what they need to do to remove themselves from PA or on-track PA.
Parent/carers will be given information on their child’s attendance throughout the year via termly reports as well as being able to access up to date attendance information via the parent app.
Where students are PA or at risk of becoming PA, parents will be informed separately and advised of the urgent need to improve their child’s attendance.
All staff have access to live attendance data for every student via SIMs.
Pastoral teams will have more detailed information concerning their particular year group on a weekly basis, which will be discussed in weekly line management meetings. This information could take the form of year group data such as graphical comparisons between year groups, form groups within a year group, percentage attendance of different student groups (eg. SEN, Pupil Premium, Gender, ethnicity etc).
Staff are expected to be aware of their students’ attendance and support excellent attendance by recognising and praising high attendance / improved attendance, spotting patterns of poor or declining attendance and discussing this with students and pastoral or senior staff.
Leave taken in term time
If a student has this attendance it means they have not missed a single day of school. This is an excellent achievement.
97% - 100%
Attendance is good but they are missing important learning time. The student should try to improve this by attending every day.
95% - 97%
Attendance between 95% and 97% is below our minimum target and the student’s attendance needs to improve so that they do not fall behind.
Anything below 95% is an immediate cause for concern as students are at risk of becoming ‘persistently absent’ (PA) and will be missing too much school.
Any leave of absence that is taken in term time is likely to adversely affect the education and learning of your child/ children. Requests for leave in exceptional circumstances to be taken during term time should be submitted in writing to the Head of School, at least two weeks in advance.
In accordance with the local authority guidance the academy will NOT consider authorisation of any leave of absence during term time in the following periods of time or circumstances:
- During the first half term of a new academic year
- When the leave of absence would occur 2 weeks prior to or during internal examinations / assessments
- If in granting the request, the pupils attendance rate would fall below 98%
- For any year 11 student
The academy does not authorise absence for holiday during term time.
The academy recognises we have students from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures and we embrace diversity that this brings. During the academy day we offer students from all religious backgrounds the opportunity to use a prayer room. During term time, students are expected to attend the academy on festival and religious days unless an application for leave on the grounds of religious observance is made by parents/carers in writing in advance. Applications for absence for this type must be made in writing to the Headteacher in advance, and will only be considered for religious observance rather than other associated celebration days. Failure to do so may lead to the absence being recorded as unauthorised.
Where parents write in, in advance to notify the academy of absence due to religious observance, it will be recorded as an absence using the R code in the register.
Interventions and Legal Sanctions
Attendance and Parenting Contracts
Attendance and parenting contracts are voluntary agreements between the school and the parent/carer and are signed at admissions entry.
These can also be extended to include the child and any other agencies offering support, to resolve any difficulties in improving attendance.
The contract will outline attendance targets and will detail agreed actions that will help to achieve the target. The contract will be reviewed on a half-term basis.
The contract can be used as evidence in a prosecution, should parents/carers fail to carry out agreed actions.
The Parenting Contract will be drawn up by:
- Relevant Year Leader dealing with student
- Attendance Manager dealing with the family
The outcome of the meeting will be recorded on SIMS by the person drawing up the Parenting Contract.
Attendance Panels involving the Attendance Lead, the Attendance Manager and a Member of the AGC may be set up as an early intervention strategy before prosecution is considered. The panel may include the school nurse if this is deemed appropriate by the academy.
The Attendance Panel will discuss with the parent/carer the school’s concerns and the issues that have affected the student’s attendance.
The Attendance Lead will draw up a Parenting Contract in order to improve attendance. This may include a support package for the pupil and the parent/carer. A referral to Early Help will be considered. The outcome of the meeting will be recorded on SIMS by the Attendance Manager.
Penalty Notices will be considered when:
- A pupil is absent from school for the purpose of a holiday in term time when the holiday has not been authorised by the school
- A pupil has accumulated at least 5 sessions of unauthorised absence (including unauthorised lates) and further unauthorised absence had occurred following a penalty notice warning to improve attendance.
A Penalty Notice gives the parent/carer the opportunity to discharge themselves of their legal responsibilities. Each such Penalty Notice incurs a fine of £120 to be paid within 28 days, which is reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days of the notice being served. Failure to pay a penalty notice may result in prosecution. (Section 444 of the 1996 Education Act)
The Attendance Lead will be responsible for collating the evidence for the Local Authority.
Where intervention fails to bring about an improvement in attendance, the Local Authority will be notified and legal action in the Magistrates Court may be taken. The school will provide the Local Authority with the evidence needed for a prosecution under Section 444 of the 1996 Education Act, and will appear as a witness for the Prosecution if required to do so.
This is to make sure that parents are fully aware of their own responsibilities in ensuring attendance at school and returning children to education.
Section 444 of the 1996 Education Act states that if a parent fails to ensure the regular attendance of their child if he/she is a registered pupil at the school and is of compulsory school age, then they are guilty of an offence. Or Under section 444(1A) EA 1996, a parent commits a further offence where the circumstances in section 444(1) apply and the parent knows that the child fails to attend regularly at the school and fails to cause the child to attend.
A parent found guilty of this offence can be fined up to £2500 and/or be imprisoned for a period of 3 months.
The Attendance Lead will be responsible for preparing the case for the Local Authority.
Procedures and Strategies to support Good Attendance and Punctuality
Appendix A Types of Absenteeism
Persistent long-term absenteeism - A student who persistently does not attend the academy on a daily basis
- The Attendance Manager and involvement of other external agencies, e.g. police, social services, medical, is always considered.
- Systematic contact is maintained with home.
- A planned meeting is arranged on a student’s return to the academy and support strategies put in place, usually including a modified timetable.
- Possible patterns of non-attendance are identified.
- The curriculum is examined for possible causes.
- The effect of possible teacher absence is considered.
- Causes such as extended weekends or training days are considered and targeted for extra vigilance.
- All students are registered for every lesson.
- Students tempted to truant internally are encouraged to share problems with a member of staff through the pastoral and academic progress systems.
- Occasional spot checks on a specific period of the academy day help to identify students who abscond from lessons.
Identifying long term absence is the beginning of a long process. It is believed that punishing truants only reinforces negative feelings about school. The principal outcomes aimed for are the improvement of self-esteem and successful reintegration into school life.
- The Attendance Manager and Year Leader are always involved (along with other key family workers or pastoral staff). Where a student has SEND, a key worker / TA may also be a point of reassurance and contact to help the student attend.
- The student may be referred to the external outside agencies as deemed appropriate by the academy.
- The student is reintroduced gradually into the academy through a variety of different strategies including personalised timetables.
- An achievable short term target is set for attendance.
- A point of contact in the academy is established and special arrangements made at break and lunchtime.
- Progress on attendance is reviewed regularly with the form tutor and Year Leader to take account of failures or sudden relapses.
- It is acknowledged that long-term absence can lead to anxiety if contact is not maintained with the student.
Appendix B Strategies to support good attendance
The academy seeks to ensure that the curriculum (and its implementation) is engaging and motivating so that it meets the needs of individual students, therefore encouraging students to attend.
At Key Stage 4 an alternative curriculum may be offered if this better meets the needs of the student.
All students are given full access to option choice at Key Stage 4, including vocational options.
Form Tutors play a key role in improving the attendance and punctuality of students within their form.
The diverse programme of electives (extra-curricular) is used as a means of improving academy attendance by enhancing a student’s enjoyment / commitment to school.
Special curriculum enrichment days are planned to provide added focus and interest.
Only in exceptional circumstances, when agreed by the Head of School, will study leave be allowed for examinations. All students in Year 11 will continue their studies in Year 11 until the last exam.
Staff make reference to correlation between achievement and attendance in order to reinforce good attendance.
Appendix C Time Management
The academy is opened early (from 7.45am) to receive students. A free breakfast service is provided in the dining hall to encourage early arrival.
The Library is open during before school and at social times [and will be open at the end of the day once the academy moves to its new site].
All students remain on the academy site at lunch time. There is a varied menu in the dining hall which takes into account of student preferences.
The academy day is highly structured, with line-up routines to promote punctuality.
Rewarding good attendance can itself improve overall attendance rates.
The academy expects good attendance and will, emphasise its importance to the student and parents.
Attendance is a key feature of the academy reward system and good (and improved) attendance is recognised and praised / rewarded throughout the year.
Achievable targets are set for individuals, forms and year groups on a half termly basis, and competition is built in to encourage collective responsibility and positive peer achievement / success.
Academy staff will promote good attendance and highlight its importance to students. Attendance will be a regular agenda item at staff briefings, pastoral team meetings and ALT meetings.
The monitoring and encouragement of student attendance is a regular feature of induction and pastoral training where the pivotal role of the form tutor / year leader is established.
All members of the academy staff will be committed to staff development, including strategies relating to improving attendance.
An Attendance Panel may be convened as a formal intervention for a student with low attendance / cause for concern. The purpose of the panel meeting is to establish the reasons for poor attendance and to discuss and agree strategies to secure improved attendance. An attendance contract (or other actions) may be implemented as part of the panel meeting. Other agencies may be invited to attend or may be signposted as part of the meeting. Notes and actions from the panel meeting may be used as evidence in any subsequent action or prosecution if attendance is not improved.
Composition of Attendance Panel
Chair: Head of School
Representative from the Governing Body
Possible representation from external agencies
Student and Parents/Carers
Structure of Meetings
1. Cases brought to the Attendance Panel will be introduced by the Head of School.
2. The Attendance Manager provides background and current information and outlines intervention strategies employed so far.
3. The Year Leader provides details of the student’s education and social development, behaviour, attitude to school etc.
4. The parent(s)/carer(s) have an opportunity to give their views and outline any concerns
5. The views of the student are sought.
6. The views / support from any external agencies are sought / offered
6. After careful consideration the Panel agrees a course of action.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
The AGC will review this policy every two years and assess its implementation and effectiveness. The policy will be promoted and implemented throughout the academy.