Attendance and Absence

At St. Philip’s we believe that children can only learn effectively if they attend school regularly. It is important too, that children arrive and leave school on time. It is equally important that children should not be at school if they are unwell.

St. Philip’s is a happy school. Children learn best when they are happy and relaxed. All staff show concern and care about each child’s welfare.

As attendance is crucial to effective learning and the continuity of learning experiences school places great emphasis on this in its communication with parents.

Communication

Information on lateness, illness and absence is given to parents in the School

Prospectus and on the school website. This highlights the importance of being at school on time and notifying school if their child is absent for any reason.

At the pre-school induction meetings held each year for children about to enter the reception class the importance of regular attendance is discussed and explained. This talk also includes parents and children arriving at school on time so that each child can be given the best possible start to each school day. Being picked up on time is also stressed, especially for young children who can be very upset if they are the only ones left.

Parents are asked to share any worries their child might have in school. Sometimes little things upset children, which mean they become unhappy, and may not want to come to school. Parents need to be aware of this.

The school adheres to the Gateshead Council guidelines on holidays taken in term time. The headteacher may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Attached are the Good Practice Guidance: Holidays in Term Time documents we use. (Appendix 1)

Children are also admitted to school at various times of the year, and into various year groups. All parents requesting a place are asked to make an appointment with the Head Teacher. At this meeting the importance of regular attendance is always highlighted along with other school routines.

Authorised and unauthorised absences are explained to parents. All parents are asked to contact school if their child is absent, this can be done by telephoning or text. We do need to have contact by a parent with a reason on the first day of absence and if no notification is received about a child’s absence, the School Business Manager sends a text to say we have had no reason for absence after close of registration and could the parent ring school or text back with a reason for the absence.

A book is kept by the telephone to record any messages. This information is recorded under the headings: date, child, class, and reason for absence. If a child is absent for more than one day parents can send a letter to school when their child returns explaining the absence. Parents can also call into school to see the class teacher to explain an absence. (Records are kept by the class teacher.) All information is used to inform teachers when filling in their registers.

Concerns

If a child is regularly late for school or is often absent then the head teacher contacts the parent concerned to have an informal discussion about this.

Persistent Absence Reports are printed frequently and if needed the Educational Welfare Office at Dryden is contacted. Referral Forms are completed should an Education Welfare Officer be needed. (Appendix 1)

Truancy

All the staff at St. Philip’s is concerned about children’s regular attendance, and the importance of continuity in each child’s learning. They are also concerned about each child’s safety, welfare and happiness. Although it a very rare occurrence for a child to truant, if there is a concern that a child might be truanting then action is taken straight away. (Appendix 1)

If truancy is suspected, the Head Teacher is notified, who then contacts the parent, either by phone, or by home visiting if possible, and the Educational Welfare Office is contacted. Parents are encouraged to bring their child to school so that reasons for the child not wanting to attend can be discussed and hopefully resolved. In the event of not being able to talk to the parent then the Head Teacher talks to the child concerned to find out if there are any worries or problems in school that might make that child not want to attend. If there are, then these are discussed with the class teacher and appropriate action is taken.

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