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For children to achieve, it is important that they attend school regularly and on time. If children are late, not only is this recorded on the register, but they have missed essential messages and opportunities to learn.
All children are expected to attend school unless they are too ill to do so. Parents/Carers are expected to contact the school on the child’s first day of absence. They are encouraged to leave a message on the answer phone if nobody is available to take their call. Parents/Carers will be contacted on the first day of absence if a reason for absence is not received by 9.30am. Parents/Carers are expected to explain their child’s absence in writing on the first day back at school. All absences without reported explanations will be recorded as “unauthorised absences” in the school register. Parents/Carers will be asked to produce a medical attendance (e.g. appointment card/copy of prescription) form from the child’s doctor if a regular pattern of absence emerges.
Any child who arrives late at school after the close of registration without good reason will be recorded on the official register as an unauthorised absence.
Hazel Clarke, our Attendance Officer will contact parent/carers when there is regular absence or high incidence of lateness before the intervention of the Headteacher and Education Welfare Service.
Parents/carers are actively encouraged to make dental and medical appointments outside of school hours.
Penalty Notices to Address Poor Attendance at School
A Penalty Notice may be issued as an alternative to the prosecution of a parent/carer for their child’s unauthorised absence from school and will be used by Surrey County Council in the following circumstances :-
1. Pupils identified by police and education welfare officers engaged on Truancy Patrols and who have incurred unauthorised absences.
2. Leave of absence in term time (5 days or 10 sessions or more). Please be aware that The Education (Pupil Registration)(England)(Amendment) Regulations 2013, which became law on 1st September 2013 state that Head Teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Headteacher is also required to determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if leave is granted.
In such cases the Head Teacher/Governing Body have to judge whether there are exceptional circumstances and may request that the Local Authority issue Penalty Notices when the absence is not authorised. Warnings will not be given where it can be shown that parents have been notified that such absences will not be authorised.
3. The issue of a Penalty Notice will also be considered where it is judged that a parent is failing to ensure their child's regular school attendance. This will be considered if the attendance is below 85% and there are 10 or more unauthorised sessions in the previous 6 school weeks, which may include a pupil arriving late after close of registration.
If you believe at any stage that your child’s absence from school may leave you liable to receive a Penalty Notice, it is extremely important that you take action without delay to secure their regular attendance. If you have any questions or require further support to achieve an improvement, please contact Mrs Austin at school or the education welfare officer.
Penalty Notice relating to Exclusions
If a child is excluded from school, Section 103 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 places a duty on parents/carers to ensure that their child is not in a public place without justifiable cause during school hours. This duty applies to the first five days of each exclusion. Failure to do so will render the parent/carer liable to a Penalty Notice. (Alternative education provision will be made available from the sixth day of any exclusion.)
Amount Payable for a Penalty Notice
The amount payable for a Penalty Notice issued in any of the above circumstances is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt of the Notice, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. If the Penalty Notice is not paid, the recipient will be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court for the offence for which the Notice was originally issued.
Please be aware that each parent is liable to receive a Penalty Notice for each child who incurs unauthorised absences, for example, if there are two parents and one child, each parent will receive one Penalty Notice.
If there are two parents, and two children incur unauthorised absences, each parent will receive two Penalty Notices, which in this case would amount to £120 each if paid within 28 days.
Good attendance is rewarded and special certificates are given each term to individual children who have achieved 100% attendance. Although illness will affect attendance we expect pupil’s attendance to be at least 95%.