Attendance Matters!

 

Regular school attendance is the key to getting a good education so we have introduced the phrase ‘on time, all day, every day’.  Put simply: taking a term-time absence will affect your child’s attainment. This isn’t just our opinion, it is the conclusion based on national data over the past five school years.  You can read the full DfE research here but, in summary, research shows:

  • the higher the percentage of sessions missed across Key Stage 2, the lower the likely level of attainment at the end of Year 6
  • there is a gradual decrease in achievement as overall absence rates increase
  • pupils with no absence are 1.6 times more likely to achieve level 4 or above, and 4.7 times more likely to achieve level 5 or above, than pupils that missed 15-20 per cent of all sessions
  • pupils with the lowest five per cent of overall absence rates are 1.4 times more likely to achieve level 4 or above in reading and maths tests and 3.3 times more likely to achieve level 5 or above in reading and maths tests than pupils with the highest five per cent of overall absence rates

 

At Cheadle Heath Primary, the picture is similar:

  • children with high attendance (97%+) make better progress and our own assessment data shows this
  • children who have been absent for long periods tend to make slower academic progress, and the social and emotional aspects of school life are adversely affected in many cases

Our school attendance rate is not as good as it should be and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Absence for family holidays will not be authorised unless it is exceptional circumstances.  If holidays are subsequently taken after being declined by school, we pass the information on to Education Welfare Officer to issue an Education Penalty Notice.

 

Understanding types of absence

Every half-day absence from school has to be classified by the school, not by parents, as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical / dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable causes.

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no “leave” has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. This includes:

  • Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • truancy before or during the school day
  • absences which have never been properly explained
  • children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
  • shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
  • day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed.

Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child. If a parent thinks their child is reluctant to attend school then we will work with that family to understand the root problem. We can use outside agencies to help with this such as the School Nurse or the Education Welfare Officer.

 

Look at these worrying figures regarding the impact of absence over a 5 year period:

  • 100% = full attendance
  • 95% = 1⁄4 school year missed
  • 90% = 1⁄2 school year missed
  • 85% = 3⁄4 school year missed
  • 80% = 1 full school year missed
  • 75% = 1.25 school years missed
  • 70% = 1.5 school years missed
  • 65% = 1.75 school years missed
  • 60% = 2 school years missed

So, if your child is frequently absent from school, their future is in jeopardy. Our children must be taught to understand the value of education and, as a parent/carer, you need to appreciate the vital role you have in ensuring and promoting regular attendance at school. Regular attendance is necessary for success in school, and as a parent/carer you are the key person who can make a difference. Nearly all children enjoy the experience of school if they are secure and confident and feel that their parents/carers demonstrate that they too feel positive about school.

Promoting better attendance

In order to encourage good attendance we have introduced a number of incentives including:

  • class of the week – extra playtime
  • class of the month – non uniform day (day after the announcement so parents receive a text)
  • class of the term – £100 to spend on wet play equipment for the class
  • individual half termly incentives such as a family ticket for a day out / family meal for 4 / ToysRUs voucher
  • 100% attendance individual prizes
  • reward for those with over 97% attendance

If you feel that we can support your child further in achieving outstanding attendance please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s teacher or contact Ms Meekley.

Persistent Absenteeism

At Cheadle Heath Primary, we class a pupil as a ‘persistent absentee’ when they miss 10% or more schooling across the school year for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s education and we need parent’s fullest support and co-operation to tackle this.

We monitor all absence and the reasons given thoroughly. Any case that is seen to have reached the PA mark or is at risk of moving towards that mark is given priority and we will inform the parents/carers immediately.

PA pupils are tracked and monitored carefully. We also combine this with academic tracking where absence affects attainment. All PA pupils are highlighted to our EWO and an identified plan of action agreed.