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Attendance & Punctuality

This year the Department for Education is tackling attendance head on in order to ensure that children do not lose any more time from school following the pandemic.  Schools across the country have been given very specific direction to improve attendance rates and lower rates of persistent absenteeism.  The government expect that children attend school 96% or more, over the course of the year.  We are introducing new procedures this year for parents to follow, and for us follow, to ensure children attend school.

The impact upon children’s education through lost learning is huge.  At a time when so much education has been disrupted it is vital that we make every school minute count.  I urge you to ensure that your child is in school and on time every day to prevent anyone falling behind with their learning. 

Persistent cases where poor attendance and punctuality do not improve can be considered to be neglect.

Government departments track school attendance figures.  It is considered that attendance of 90% or below is persistent absence which will be closely monitored by school staff and the local authority.  Failing to improve on this 90% can lead to prosecution, which school want to help families avoid. 

Shaw-cum-Donnington CE Primary School now has a school attendance target of 95% - 100%.

There are things you can do to improve your child’s attendance and avoid falling into the persistent absence category:

What to do when a child is unwell
If your child is slightly unwell, and you’re not sure if they should be in school, bring them in and see how they go. Generally, when they get to school with their friends, they usually pick up. You can always call us and ask how they are or if we feel your child is becoming more unwell, we will call you to come and pick your child up.

If your child is genuinely unwell and you feel you need to keep them off school, parents MUST call the school on the first day of absence BEFORE 9:15am.  We then expect parents to call us every day a child is off school. We ask that parents contact school to inform us of absence for two reasons:

  1. To notify of reason of absence. We need to know if there are lots of children off school with the same illness, like vomiting or chicken pox, so we can take extra steps to minimise risk of spread to others.
  2. To know a child is safe at home. There have been cases in this country where children have not turned up at school but parents think they have and schools think they’re off school sick but actually a child has had an accident, played truant or worse still, have been abducted. We take safeguarding our pupils very seriously and we will not rest until we know a child is safe at home.

PLEASE NOTE: Simply calling school to notify us of reason for absence does not automatically authorise an absence. If the headteacher is not confident that the information provided is factual or medical evidence is not provided, in cases where pupils are persistent absentees, then an unauthorised mark will be given.  To promote honesty, if a parent advises us their child is absent due to sickness but we subsequently learn from the child or classmates that the child is away for reasons other than sickness i.e. long weekend/holiday/day off, this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence and details logged on your child’s school record.

A maximum of two/three absences of sickness or diarrhoea will be given within one academic year, (with a 48-hour isolation period to avoid contaminating others around school).  Unfortunately, some parents/carers use this as a “get out” for regular absences as medical evidence cannot be sought for this. 

Patterns and trends in pupils’ attendance will be closely monitored and we will be particularly looking for:

  • Absences over long weekends (Fridays and/or Mondays) or just before/after school holidays.
  • Absences of multiple siblings on the same day as a regular occurrence.
  • Absences on days when it is too hot/cold/raining.

It is the headteachers final decision as to whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised.

If a parent does not inform school of child’s absence
If a child is off school and the parent or carer has NOT informed the school of any reason why, then this will trigger a phone call to the parent/carer named as first contact, requesting that you call the school.  If parents still do not call us then office staff will call all other numbers of the contact list until an answer is received.

Do not take holidays during term times as they will be unauthorised except under exceptional circumstances which will be at the discretion of the headteacher. If you need to take your child out of school during term time, please complete a Leave of Absence Request form.

How will parents know what their child’s attendance is?

  • Keep up to date with what % attendance your child has so that you know if they are at risk of persistent absence (office staff will provide this for you by request).
  • Speak to school staff with any concerns.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of them being in school and let them know how important you feel it is.

How do we monitor attendance?
Attendance percentages are checked on a monthly basis.  The school has a three tier letter system to notify all parents/carers of their child’s falling attendance:
Tier 1 – Below 95%
Letter from headteacher giving targets to improve attendance during a certain time frame and request for medical evidence of illness.This could be in the form of an appointment card, letter for a doctor or medication or prescription.
Tier 2 – Below 93%
Letter from the headteacher requesting a meeting to discuss reasons for the low attendance and offer support to help to improve.
Tier 3 – Below 90%
This is classed as a “Persistent Absentee” and will be referred to the EWO (Education Welfare Officer). They will examine the evidence we give them and decide the action to be taken.



Punctuality is also highly important. Pupils who arrive late to school are not only losing learning but also disrupting the learning of others as they arrive late for lessons.  Pupils do not like being late into school and we witness how upsetting it can be for them.  We want to prevent this. 

Children may arrive at school from 8.40am and wait with parents / carers in the playground, Year 6 children who walk to school unaccompanied by an adult may wait in the shelter until 8.45am. There is no supervision on site for children before this time and the school is not legally responsible for them. 

  • Registration is called at 8:50am. Pupils arriving after this time will be marked as ‘late’.
  • Pupils arriving after registers close at 9:15am will be marked as unauthorised.
  • Concerns about punctuality will trigger the three tier letter system.

We want to help families get their child to school on time.  Here are some things you can try:

  • Have everything you/your child needs for school prepared the night before.
  • Ensure that your child goes to bed at a reasonable time so they are not too tired to get up in the morning.
  • Ensure your child has a good night’s sleep by minimising their use of devices at bed time.
  • Have a consistent bedtime routine for your child.
  • Set an alarm to allow plenty of time for your morning routine in getting to school on time.
  • Bring your child to breakfast club (8:00am – 8:50am)

Celebrating Good Attendance

Each child will receive an end of term certificate for 100% attendance or improved attendance from the previous term.
A trophy will be awarded each week to the house with the best attendance and every child in that house will received a Gem.

Thank you for your support.  I hope we can work together to excellent attendance for all pupils.  

Ms Wakefield
Acting Headteacher

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