Newbridge High School aims to encourage every student to achieve the highest possible levels of attendance in order to take full advantage of the learning experiences available to them. We recognise the very strong link that exists between a student’s level of attendance and their achievement. This link is shared with students and parents at every opportunity.
We ask for 100% and aim for 95%+
The Legal Framework
A student is required by law (under Section 444 of the 1996 Education Act and Regulations of 2006 and 2010) to attend regularly at the school where they are registered. The school is required to differentiate between authorised and unauthorised absence. It is expected that the parent/carer will contact school to inform them concerning absence. However, it is for the school to judge whether the explanation given is satisfactory justification for the absence.
Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 and Section 105 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 empowers LA officers, Headteachers and the Police to issue penalty notices in cases of unauthorised absences from school, and for parental failure to ensure that their child is not in a public place during school hours without reasonable justification during the first five days of an exclusion.
Rights and Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of everyone (students, parents, governors and all staff) in the school to improve the attendance and reach the annual targets set by the LA and DfE. This is achieved by a close partnership between the LA, parents and support agencies.
All students are expected to attend all of their lessons regularly and punctually. Where there are difficulties, support will be offered from Tutors, Pastoral Managers, and the Attendance Improvement Officer. Good attendance will be rewarded regularly with House Points and awards. Poor attendance will be monitored closely and parents contacted.
Parents / Carers
Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child attends school regularly, on time and properly equipped for learning. They are expected to notify the school promptly on the designated attendance telephone number if their child cannot attend and any absence will be considered unauthorised until a satisfactory explanation is received. The school staff will contact a parent on the first day of absence if no reason has been provided. Parents are discouraged from making medical/dental appointments during school time, if at all possible, and only expected to remove their child from school for the minimum period of time when this is unavoidable.
Attendance is the responsibility of all, but especially that of the Pastoral Managers and Attendance Officer, who closely monitors and regularly communicates with parents, students and staff. The school employs a whole range of strategies to encourage good attendance and punctuality and promptly follows up absences and lateness. A careful log will be kept of all enquiries regarding moving schools.
The school employs an Attendance Improvement Officer for one half a day per week monitoring absences. A weekly meeting takes place and students causing concern are discussed and referred for follow-up action when the school requires intervention and support. Students whose attendance is below 90% are reviewed weekly and the officer works with the student and their parents where there is a high or persistent absence (see Action Plan and Flowchart – Appendix 3 and 2).
Registration takes place at 8.45a.m. and 2.40pm. If a student fails to arrive before registers have closed he/she should report to the General Office and sign the late book. The register entry will read ‘late’. If a student is regularly late parents are contacted and the student is put on attendance report. Arrival more than 30 minutes after registers have closed without an acceptable reason can result in a student being marked as unauthorised.
Students late to school receive a detention to be served at lunchtime.
Tutors take registers in their form rooms and will notify the Office or Pastoral Managers of any concerns.
Absences for half a day (one session) is coded according to category.
The Attendance Officer monitors the registers regularly and follows up any incorrect procedures or inconsistencies.
Authorised / Unauthorised
It is essential that all staff follow the same criteria when deciding whether or not to authorise an absence. The role of the Attendance Officer is key in this issue and ensures consistency of practice. The school decides on how absence is recorded following the latest guidance from the DfE (see Good Practice Guide for Secondary Schools – Attendance Matters E.W.S).
Parents are clearly told by the school that the Headteacher will only authorise a family holiday during term time in exceptional circumstances.
The Headteacher will notify the parent in writing of his decision to refuse to grant permission and will code as unauthorised if the circumstances are not “exceptional”. A letter agreed in Local Group 22 is used by all local schools. (See Appendix 4)
Communication with the LA
- The school has a responsibility to:
Advise LCC of any student who fails to attend regularly or who has had ten or more days of continuous unauthorised absence.
- Intervene early and maintain a chronology of all contacts with the student, parent and other agencies. These records may be needed in future if legal intervention is used.
- Follow the agreed LA protocol for penalty notices. (Normally if a students has at least twenty unauthorised half day absences (ten days) in a twelve week period.
The NWL Learning and Inclusion Partnership
Representatives of the Ashby and Coalville Education Partnership meet every three weeks to make decisions about and organise provision for students with complex needs to prevent permanent exclusion.
Progress, behaviour, and engagement are monitored for all individuals at every meeting.
Improved attendance and good attendance is highly valued as an outcomes measure.
Monitoring and Evaluation of Student Attendance
See Appendix 3
Monitoring and Review of this Policy
The policy is revised as required and reviewed on the school’s cycle every four years.
Strategies for Promoting good attendance
- Newbridge will provide an environment in which students feel safe, valued and welcome. Our ethos must demonstrate that students feel their presence is important and that it is vital for their achievement and progress. Students need to know they will be missed and any absence will be followed up.
- Students who feel vulnerable and experience difficulties attending class or have friendship problems will be supported and given strategies to help them cope. The Pastoral Managers will be the key member of staff involved liaising closely with the Tutors
- A varied and flexible curriculum will be offered to all students. Special provision will be made for identified students and a mentoring scheme exists to promote confidence and well being.
- A clearly defined and consistent approach to positive behaviour management exists to provide a fair system and support for all students especially those who have difficulties; focusing on rewarding the positive.
- Every effort will be made to ensure that learning tasks are matched to students’ needs and support is available whenever possible.
- Attendance data will be produced and monitored regularly and analysed in order to identify patterns, set targets, correlate attendance with achievements and support and inform policy/practice. (See M+E of Attendance)
- High attendance will be recognised and awarded regularly (one House Point each week and bonus House Points at times as well as certificates at the end of the year).
- Feedback on group attendance will be given to Pastoral Managers monthly, who will meet students they need to meet monthly.
- Students whose attendance is a cause for concern will be monitored closely and encouraged in a weekly reward card scheme.
- Parents will be reminded regularly (via newsletters, letters home etc.) of the importance of regular attendance.
- Students who have been absent for an extended period of time, or who are experiencing serious attendance problems, will have individually tailored programmes to support them.
- School staff will liaise with other services/agencies that may assist students who are experiencing difficulties.
- Pastoral Managers, SENco, the Attendance Improvement Officer and deputy Headteacher will have regular meetings where attendance issues are discussed.
- Discussion on transfer (with primary and upper schools) will identify students who require extra support or pastoral support programmes involving a multi-agency plan.
- The Head will report to the Governing body at least annually on attendance matters.