Attendance

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CLICK HERE for Birmingham City Council’s Attendance Advice

Attendance Policy Sept 2024

Arrival and Collection Policy 2024

Whole School Attendance Letter October 2023

Being in school is important to your child’s achievement, wellbeing, and wider development. At Bells Farm our attendance target is 96% for all pupils. This rate allows for periods of illness or particular circumstances when absence from school is unavoidable. We set this target as school attendance is central to raising standards in education and ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential. We want your child to attend school regularly to enable them to succeed in their learning. If your child is not well or if you have a planned reason why your child cannot attend school, please inform the school at the earliest opportunity. If you are struggling to get your child into school, please ring us and talk to us. We will do everything we can to support your child’s attendance including offering Early Help.

Children of compulsory school age must, by law, receive a full time education. As a school, we therefore have a responsibility to ensure all children attend and that we follow up on poor attendance and persistent absence. This is in the best interest of the child.

The Education Act 1996 states that all pupils should attend school regularly and punctually. ‘If a child of compulsory school age, who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.’ Parents can be fined for keeping their child away from school without good reason.

Some key attendance facts from the DfE:

  • Every moment in school counts, and days missed add up quickly. For example, a child who is absent for three days over a half term could miss 15 lessons in total.  
  • The higher a pupil’s attendance, the more they are likely to learn, and the better they are likely to perform in exams and formal assessments. 
  • Data from 2019 shows that 84% of Key Stage 2 pupils who had 100% attendance achieved the expected standard, compared to 40% of pupils who were persistently absent across the key stage. 

Why it is important to attend school regularly?

– To give your child the best possible start in life.

– To support them with developing friendships and social skills.

– To keep up with their work and achieve better results.

Lateness

At Bells Farm, we welcome each child every morning regardless of what time they arrive. However, we do know that persistent lateness can cause embarrassment to children and make it harder for them to settle. It is also disruptive for the rest of the class.

The school gates will open at 8.50 am for a ‘soft start’. Your child should be in school by 9:00 am for the start of the school day.

The school gates will close at 9:00 am and if you arrive after 9.00 am you must enter the school via the school office.

If your child arrives at school after 9:00, when the bell has rung, your child will be admitted by staff in the front office and will receive a late mark. Parents/carers will be asked the reason for your child’s lateness. This will be logged and monitored by the Attendance Officer for improvement.

If your child arrives at school after 9.20am your child will be recorded with a U code which means Unauthorised Absence. 

Every Minute Counts

Absences

If your child is absent from school due to illness, please telephone school on 0121 675 8666 and inform the office staff or leave a message ideally before 9am. If your child’s illness lasts for more than one day, you must phone school daily and inform us why your child is still absent. If your child’s illness lasts longer than 48hrs and you have not already done so, we advise you to seek medical attention.

Parental illness is NOT an excuse for children not attending school. Children must attend school every day unless they are ill.

Safe and Well Home Visits

If your child is absent from school and you do not inform school, our Family Support Co-ordinator may visit your home to ask why your child is absent from school. If you are not present you will be left a letter asking you to contact school. It is very important that you contact school and inform us why your child is absent. If we do not hear from you, we will be concerned and may refer you to Children’s Services. Remember that we are here to support you to support your child’s education, and will do an Early Help assessment if you are going through a difficult time and are struggling to maintain your child’s attendance.

It is parent/carer’s legal responsibility to ensure their children receive appropriate education.  Failing to send your child to school regularly without good reason is a criminal offence.  

Authorised and Unauthorised Absence

The school can only authorise any absences in the following circumstances:

  • Genuine illness
  • Dental/medical appointments (see information below for more details)
  • Close Family bereavement
  • Recognised religious observance
  • Examination

What is NOT acceptable?

  • Caring for a parent or sibling
  • Going shopping
  • Day trips
  • Birthdays
  • Bad weather
  • Family holidays will not be authorised

This is not a conclusive list.

Medical Appointments

 If your child has a medical appointment, before the appointment takes place please give a copy of the appointment letter or card to the office staff who will notify the class teacher. A photocopy of the document will be taken, if the appointment letter or card is not submitted, your child’s absence will be recorded as unauthorised.  

Exceptional Circumstances

Leave of absence regulations state that: Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Unauthorised absence of this nature will be subject to a fine. If you wish your child to be absent from school for any exceptional circumstances please complete a Leave of Absence Request form (available from the office) which will be reviewed by the Headteacher.

Please observe these regulations. They have been re-written with the education of your child at their heart. Should there be any exceptional circumstances, please make an appointment to discuss them with the Headteacher before making any bookingsThis should be done at the earliest possible opportunity and with at least 2 weeks’ notice. Please note that the Headteacher will take into consideration your child’s age, the time of year and the overall attendance pattern of your child and has the right to refuse your request for a leave of absence.

Support

If you are having difficulties in maintaining your child’s attendance or punctuality you should speak to the school as soon as possible. Please make an appointment to meet our Attendance Officer and Family Support Coordinator who will be able to advise, support you and, where appropriate, engage with external agencies.

We provide a Breakfast Club from 8:00. Children can access a range of breakfast cereals and drinks. Some parents and carers find this helps with improving attendance and punctuality issues so please do discuss with us so we can support.

Remember, we are here to help.