Batchwood School: Make Everyday Count

Attendance

If your child is absent or going to be late for any reason please inform the school before 9.00am, if at all possible, so form tutors know of the reason for absence before the registration period. The attendance line number is: 01727 868021 and can be found at the bottom of the school website.

By law, only the Headteacher can authorise your child’s absence. It is important to keep the school informed if your child is going to be absent as soon as possible at the start of the day.

If your child is frequently absent due to illness the school may request permission to contact your GP for confirmation that they are too ill to attend school.

If it becomes clear that your child will be away from school for longer than expected, phone the school to explain this as soon as possible.

If your child attends school and feels unwell during the school day the school will contact you to arrange collection.

Our First Day Response Procedures

Dear Parents/Carers,

Good attendance is vital to your child’s success at school. I would, therefore, like to remind you of your legal responsibilities as parents and the requirements involved to ensure success for your child. On-going poor attendance is a factor often linked to low levels of academic success and could also affect future applications for jobs or college places. Many pupils have difficulty maintaining friendships if they have long or numerous periods of absence.

The school’s minimum target for attendance is 93% and, to put this into perspective, 90% attendance in a school year is equivalent to missing 19 days of school or 114 lessons.

It is a parent’s legal responsibility to ensure their child is in school. Ongoing unauthorised absence of 15 sessions or more could lead to a Penalty Notice being issued, which is a fine of £60 if paid within the first 21 days and £120 if paid within 28 days. If the fine is not paid within 28 days parents could be prosecuted for their child’s poor attendance.

If your child is too ill to attend school, please contact us on the first day of absence (and on each subsequent day of absence) that your child is unwell.

You can call us on 01727 868021 or email us at attendance@batchwood.herts.sch.uk.

On return to school, your child should bring a letter explaining the illness.

If you would like to discuss your child’s attendance please contact Yasmin McLaggan on 01727 868021 and she will be happy to talk with you and if required arrange a meeting.

For your convenience we have enclosed a leaflet which covers all essential points. Please keep this in a safe place to refer to when needed.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Yours sincerely,


Jonathan Kemp
Executive Headteacher

pdfLeaflet: Attendance at Batchwood School

The Batchwood School First Day Call Procedure

Registers taken promptly

  • Attendance team listen to absence calls, read absence emails and check school comms messages
  • Registers collated, lates, absence calls - produce the list of children absent with no explanation (these will be N marks on SIMS)
  • Any discrepancies will be chased up in school
  • Send school comms (texts and emails), if no response start first day calling for children absent without explanation, call everyone on the contact list until you get an answer. Leave messages if there is a voicemail option
  • If an overseas ring tone a check is made with DoL’s and the Head teacher to see if there has been any contact for holiday authorisation
  • If no replies at all consider whether any children have additional agency support, such as a social worker, contact them.
  • Speak to any family members in school to ask about the child’s whereabouts
  • Call the contact list at least twice and send out another set of school comms at PM registration if we have not had any communication
  • Make a prompt home visit if we have concerns
  • If you cannot get an answer from the home visit refer to children's services / MASH / Police and request a welfare call

What is Acceptable Attendance?

The School expects all students to aim for 100% attendance.

95% attendance is regarded as very good and can be achieved with some illness.

Any attendance level that creates a cause for concern would initiate intervention by the school. This could be as simple as a ‘chat’ with the form teacher or may, in more severe circumstances, lead to the involvement of our attendance team or agencies outside of the school.

How does the school record absence?

The school uses an electronic system of attendance registration that is updated within each lesson by the form teacher or subject teacher.

The system records whether the child is present or absent.

Absence is categorised as being authorised (agreed and accepted by the school as being appropriate) or unauthorised.

Examples of authorised absence would be genuine illness, medical appointments etc.

Examples of unauthorised absence would be truancy, parentally condoned absence without appropriate reason, and unauthorised holidays in term time.

The codes used are standard codes as issued by the government.

What should I do if my child is ill?

If your child unwell and is too ill to attend, please ring the school on the first day (and on each subsequent day) on: 01727 868021 or email attendance@batchwood.herts.sch.uk

On return to school, your child should bring a letter explaining the illness.

If my child is absent from school, what can I expect to happen?

On the first day of your child’s absence you will receive a phone call from the school to ask you to explain your child’s absence, if you have not already contacted the school.

If your child’s absences are more frequent, you should expect to receive a letter informing you of your child’s attendance level.

If your child’s absence is unacceptable or at a significantly low level you could be asked to attend a meeting in school to discuss support appropriate to your child.

Can a student take a holiday in term time?

Due to the legal change in the Department for Education (DfE) legislation, at Batchwood School we will only grant leave of absence in exceptional circumstances that are not related to holidays.

Term time holidays/extended leave are not allowed and parents/carers are discouraged from arranging them in term time.

If parents/carers choose to take their child out on holiday in term time the absence will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. This could lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued.

Parents/carers must send in a letter addressed to the Headteacher requesting permission to take their child out of school during term time due to an exceptional circumstance.

If my child has an unacceptable level of unauthorised absence, what can I expect to happen?

You will be contacted by the school, either by telephone, letter and/or visit to your home in order that the level of, and reasons for, your child’s absence can be discussed with you.

A plan of action will be compiled that is aimed at helping you improve your child’s school attendance.

A failure to comply with any such plan without a valid reason will, if your child’s school attendance does not improve, result in a referral being made to the local authority who will aim to support you in ensuring your child attends school regularly.

Further poor school attendance by your child may result in legal action being taken against you by the local authority.

You may initially be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (fine) after first being given a written warning.

See the information provided below with regard to the Fixed Penalty Notice.

What is an education penalty notice

A Fixed Penalty Notice is a fine issued to parents or carers and can be either £60 per parent or carer (if the payment is made within 21 days of receipt) or £120 per parent or carer (if paid after this, but within 28 days). Fixed Penalty Notices are issued by post to your home and will explain how and where to send your payment. You must pay the whole of the amount owing in one payment. You cannot pay in instalments or part of the amount.

How will I know when I am going to receive a fixed penalty notice?

Before Fixed Penalty Notices are issued, you will receive a written warning which will explain the extent of your child’s non-attendance and the possibility of your receiving a Penalty Notice if their attendance does not improve in 15 sessions. During this period, your child must not have any further unauthorised absences from school. There is no limit to the number of times a formal warning of a possible Fixed Penalty Notice issue may be made in any particular case.

What kind of unauthorised absences result in the issuing of a fixed penalty notice?

Where students are openly truanting (this includes students found during truancy sweeps by the police.

Absences from school which parents or carers are aware of, but that are not authorised by the school.

Holidays that have been taken in term time which the Headteacher has not authorised.

An unacceptably delayed return from an extended holiday if the parents or carers have not received permission beforehand from the school.

Regular late arrival at school (after the register has closed).

How can I help my child?

  • Let your child know that you think school is important.
  • Make sure your child goes to school regularly and on time.
  • Take an interest in your child's school work.
  • Provide regular times and a quiet, clean area for doing home learning.
  • Set a regular bedtime schedule. Age should not be a factor.
  • Provide your child with plenty of time to get ready for school.
  • If your child starts to miss school, speak to the school and let your child know they must attend.
  • Have regular communication with the school.
  • If your child is ill, contact the school and explain the reason for the absence.
  • Don't expect your older children to stay home and act as babysitters for younger children.
  • Set good examples and enforce rules.
  • Include regular exercise and a balanced diet in your child's daily activities.
  • Post the school calendar and notes on the refrigerator, or another prominent location.
  • Balance time with extracurricular activities.
  • Keep open communication lines with your child.

being in school at least 95% of the time (180 to 190 days) gives the best chance of success

100% attendance = perfection, 85% (equal to 2 months off each year) = danger zone

Poor punctuality - less chance of success: If you're 15mins late each day you'll have missed 2 weeks of school

Illness

Occasionally students are too unwell to attend school. We will monitor and engage with parents as soon as a pattern of absence becomes apparent. When deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. Ask yourself:

  • Is your child well enough to carry out the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home and consult your GP as appropriate
  • Does your child have a contagious condition that could be passed on to other children or staff? If so, keep your child at home
  • Would you take a day off work if you had this condition? If so, keep your child at home

Common conditions

Most illnesses can be classified as one of a few minor health conditions.

Whether or not you send your child to school will depend on how severe you judge the illness to be. This guidance can help you to make that judgement. If you’re concerned about your child’s health, consult a health professional.

Cough and cold

A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay off school, visit the GP and return to school 24 hours after they’re feeling better. If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, consult your GP, who can provide guidance on whether the child should stay off school.

Raised temperature

If your child has a raised temperature, they shouldn’t attend school. They can return 24 hours after they’re feeling better.

Rash

Rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions shouldn’t attend school. If your child has a rash, check with your GP or practice nurse before sending them to school.

Headache

A child with a minor headache doesn’t usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep the child off school and consult your GP.

Vomiting and diarrhoea

Children with these conditions should be kept off school. They can return 48 hours after their symptoms disappear. Most cases of vomiting or diarrhoea get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, consult your GP.

Sore throat

A sore throat alone doesn’t have to keep a child from school. If it’s accompanied by a raised temperature seek medical advice.