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Attendance

St Mary’s Catholic High School believes that all pupils should receive a full time education which maximises opportunities for every child to reach his or her potential.  As a consequence, this is a key policy and demonstrates the importance of the school working in partnership with families and external agencies to ensure that we do our best for all the young people whilst in the care of St Mary’s Catholic High School.

We expect the highest level of attendance and punctuality from our pupils.  Evidence clearly shows that pupils who attend school regularly (97%+) make significantly better progress both academically and holistically than those that do not.  It is vital pupils attend school on time every day that the school is open.

All absences affect a child’s education and regular absence will seriously affect their learning.  Pupils often find it difficult to catch up on learning that they have missed and absence can lead them to fall behind their peers.  This can affect how a student feels about school and can make their attendance even worse.  Statistics suggest that a student whose attendance is below 94% will drop at least one grade across all their subjects.

Procedure for informing School of Absence

ADVANCE NOTICE (Possible) e.g. Appointments, interviews, dental etc.

An absence slip must be completed if a pupil has to leave school for some reason during the school day.  This is available from reception and must be signed by the Form Tutor and the Head of Year.   The absence slip is then handed into reception when the pupil signs the exit book.

ADVANCE NOTICE (Not possible) e.g. illness on the day, emergencies etc.

Parents must telephone the school at the earliest opportunity to inform us of the absence using the absence line, or email attendance@stmaryschesterfield.org.uk,  or send a message via MCAS App.

Reluctance to Attend

There may be instances when a child, for a number of reasons, is reluctant to come to school.  Parents/carers are requested to let us know as soon as possible so that we can work with them to resolve it quickly before it becomes an attendance problem.   We can also call upon the guidance and support of the Educational Psychologist, School Counsellor, the Family Resource Worker, the School Nurse or the School Doctor.

Policy on Intervention over Absences

We strive for all pupils to achieve exceptional attendance and punctuality during their time at school. To ensure that all pupils have the best opportunity to attend daily, learn, grow and achieve we follow an early identification and 4 step intervention strategy to alert parents/carers and pupils to any concerns with attendance or punctuality. More information on our stages policy can be found below.

Parent/Carer communication of cause for concern

The school follows a clear systematic process of support for pupils whose attendance falls below expected levels (96%). We will consider intervention with parents/carers if a student’s attendance is less than 97%.

The process includes:

Targeted letters – highlighting the importance and impact absence can have specifically across all Key Stages.

Warning letters – warning parents/carers that their child’s attendance is a concern, and could lead to negative implications on progress and achievement. This will also request medical evidence for any further absences to be authorised.

Raising Attendance Panels – Pupils and parents/carers will be invited to attend a Raising Attendance Panel to discuss their attendance if their attendance falls into the ‘Alert’ category (91-90%). The panel will consist of key staff to explore the reasons for non-attendance and to identify any support that school and if appropriate, other agencies can offer. As part of this meeting, both pupils and parents/carer will sign an attendance contract which will be reviewed over a 4-week period. Failure to meet this target could lead to a fixed penalty notice. The meeting will make clear any legal sanction which could result from the child’s non-attendance.

Sixth Form Raising Attendance Panel – As above, pupils and parents/carers will be invited to attend a Raising Attendance Panel to discuss their non-attendance if their attendance falls into the ‘Alert’ category (91-90%). The panel will consist of key staff to explore the reasons for non-attendance and to identify any support that school and, if appropriate, other agencies can offer. As part of this meeting, both pupils and parents/carer will sign an attendance contract which will be reviewed over a 4-week period. Failure to meet this target could lead to withdrawal from examinations, or request for payment for the examination period.  

Contact with Social Services – If a student with a Child Protection Plan is absent from school for any reason, the named social worker should be contacted immediately.

Penalty Notices – As a preventative measure of imposing prosecution, authorised local authority staff, police officers and headteachers can request that the local authority issue penalty notices to parents/carers of children who are not attending school regularly. The penalty is £60, rising to £120 if not paid within 28 days.  If the fine is not paid, then the parent/carer will be prosecuted.

The local authority may prosecute parents/carers whose children do not attend school regularly. This could result in a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or, in extreme cases, a prison sentence of up to three months. If the court thinks it will help to stop your child missing school, it may also impose a Parenting Order.

Parenting Order - A Parenting Order is a court order which requires parents/carers to attend parenting education or support classes.  Parents/carers will also have to do whatever the court says is necessary to improve their child’s behaviour and attendance at school.

Support Available for Pupils and Families

A range of support is available in and outside of school to support pupils and their families to achieve excellent attendance.

They include:

• Form Tutor support and monitoring.

• Head of Year/Head of Key Stage with a dedicated focus on behaviour and attendance.

• Attendance Welfare Officer intervenes and supports pupils who have difficulties attending on a regular basis.

• School Health – referral to the School Nurse who runs a regular drop-in as well as scheduled appointments or referral to the school paediatrician (school doctor) will help pupils and parents/carers who will work alongside family GPs.

• CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) – referral to CAMHS has to be through school health or the family’s own GP.

• Home tuition – when supported by CAMHS, Derbyshire Home Tuition Service will provide an entitlement to education at home or at an off-school site location. Home tuition is only available for a limited period.

 

Late Arrivals

 

The school is obliged to keep a record of lateness.It is very important that children arrive at school in time for morning registration at 8.50 am.  Lateness after the closing of the registers at 9.30 am without a valid reason will be categorised as an unauthorised absence. If a child is late for school, then he/she must report to Reception and fill in a late slip before going to class.Children will be given their attendance mark if they arrive with a valid reason and within half an hour after the closure of the register.

 

Punctuality

Punctuality to school is extremely important. Pupils who are late to school will be challenged. Pupils who are late to school without a good reason will be given a same-day 15-minute detention that will take place afterschool. As parents/carers, you will be notified of the lateness and the same day detention via My Child at School (MCAS).

 

Stage

Possible intervention

Timescale

Excellent  100-97%

Letter of congratulation

100% attendance postcard

Half term

Radar  97-95%

Notification Letter

When a child’s attendance falls below 97% they will have a meeting with their Form Tutor in the first instance.

 

4 weeks

Concern 94%-92%

Letter 2

If your child’s attendance falls between 94-92%, they will be put on attendance report to their Head of Year.

Phone call/meeting with Head of Year and parents.

Home visits can take place. 

4 weeks

Alert  91%-90%

Letter 3

Raising Attendance Panel – Head of Year

Attendance contract – signed by parents and pupil.

Home visit priority.

Mentoring and intervention.

External agency support if necessary

4 weeks

Critical – below 90%

(Classed as ‘Persistent Absentee’ by the Government)

Letter 4 – Persistent Absentee

Significant intervention – parents/carers meeting with pupil.

Afterschool catch up sessions

Social care referral – when appropriate

External agency support

4 weeks