Going to school regularly is important for your child’s future. Parents are responsible for making sure their children receive full-time education. Talking to your child and their teachers could help solve any problems if your child does not want to go to school.
Regular school attendance
Good attendance shows secondary schools and future potential employers that your child is reliable.
St Gerard’s Catholic Primary school records details of all children’s attendance and absence at school. We do so at the beginning of morning and afternoon sessions. If your child is absent, you must tell the school why immediately.
The school will record the absence; the Local Authority will receive this information for each child. The Department of Education also receives annual attendance data for the school.
Your responsibilities as a parent
By law, all children of compulsory school age must receive a suitable full-time education. For most parents, this means registering their child at a school – though some choose to make other arrangements to provide a suitable, full-time education.
Once your child is registered at St Gerard’s, the parent is legally responsible for making sure they attend on a regular basis. If your child does not attend school on a regular basis you could get fined or be prosecuted in court.
How to prevent your child from missing school
You can help prevent your child missing school by:
- making sure they understand the importance of good attendance and punctuality
- taking an interest in their education – ask about school work and encourage them to get involved in school activities
- discussing any problems they may have at school and letting their teacher or principal know about anything serious
- not letting them take time off school for minor ailments – particularly those which would not prevent you from going to work
To avoid disrupting your child’s education, you should arrange appointments and outings:
- after school hours
- at weekends
- during school holidays
You should not expect school to agree to your child going on holiday during term time.
Support on school attendance
A child’s school attendance can be affected if there are problems with:
- housing or care arrangements
- transport to and from school
- work and money
If your child starts missing school, you might not know there is a problem. When you find out, ask your child and then approach their teacher or the school attendance team.
St Gerard’s approach to supporting and improving school attendance
The Strategic Approach
Our School adopts the Five Foundations of Effective Attendance Practice framework, this is modelled on the work of Professor Katherine Weare. The emphasis is on developing a school culture and climate which builds a sense of connectedness and belonging to ensure all children can attend school and thrive. The approach ensures we prioritise building solid working relationships with children / parents prior to any escalation. The staged approach we use ensures we identify triggers early that can lead to poor attendance issues such as; mental health issues, lack of trust, communication and relationship breakdowns and the possible lack of networking opportunities both internal (in-school) and external (external agencies).
The Foundations framework has most recently been reviewed by the Department for Education. The Foundations framework received an excellent report following the four-day review.
“The Foundations approach is an excellent example of best practice; there are very clear and detailed systems and procedures in place to manage absence and attendance consistently” – Michelle O’Dell DFE Attendance Advisor, March 2022
Aims of the strategy
- Increase school Attendance and reduce Persistent Absence to meet set targets.
- Ensure Attendance is well managed within the school, with the appropriate level of resources allocated.
- Enable the school to make informed use of Attendance data to target interventions appropriately, focusing on the key demographic groups highlighted in the 2022 DFE paper.
- Create an ethos within the school in which good attendance is recognised as the norm and every child/young person aims for excellent attendance.
- Make attendance and punctuality a priority.
- Set focused targets to improve individual attendance and whole school attendance levels.
- Embed the 5 Foundations of Effective Attendance Practice framework which defines agreed roles and responsibilities and promotes consistency in carrying out designated tasks with respect to promoting attendance and punctuality.
- Record and monitor attendance and absenteeism and apply appropriate strategies to minimise absenteeism.
- Develop a systematic approach to gathering and analysing relevant attendance data.
- Provide support, advice and guidance to; parents, children and young people and develop mutual cooperation between home and the school in encouraging good attendance and in addressing identified attendance issues.
- Demonstrate through the use of rewards that the school recognises good attendance and punctuality are achievements in themselves.
Five Foundations of Effective Attendance Practice
Whole School Thinking, Culture and Climate
The school has a fully embedded ethos in which excellent school attendance is expected, developed and nurtured. An escalated approach ensures the school has a deeply embedded and consistent whole school approach to improving attendance.
Supportive Policies, Systems and Processes
The approach to improving attendance is built on solid policies, systems and processes; this ensures sustainable and continuous improvement drives practice. Succession planning is built around an effective systems leadership model – rather than that of an individual Attendance Leader. The Attendance Policy drives school practice, it is deeply embedded in daily practise and ensures the school sets, and maintains, high expectations to improve the culture of attendance.
Professional Learning Staff Development
The school prioritises developing a fully engaged team of attendance experts, with a shared vision and core purpose. Through this development the Attendance Leader will raise the status of attendance and ensure improved attendance is both sustained and continuous. CPD will support staff at all levels to fully understand their role in supporting attendance. The development of external partnerships will support attendance improvements through a multi-disciplinary approach for identified children and families.
Implement Targeted Programmes and Intervention
Data information and analysis direct resources proactively towards key demographic groups and identified individuals. The expert use of data analysis informs decision making at all levels. A rigorous and effective attendance cycle ensures the Attendance Leader not only captures key information but also further understands the ‘deeper roots’ that creates barriers regarding attendance to school.
Connect Appropriately with Approaches to Behaviour Management
Connecting and belonging drives the school approach to supporting attendance – this is deeply embedded in an evidence-based approach. The school has effective routines in place that are followed by staff. Staff at all levels within the school understand the ‘deeper roots’ regarding poor attendance and this is supported through a systematic approach. The school has developed, and embedded, an effective rewards system to further drive attendance improvements and celebrate success.
DfE: Working Together To Improve Attendance 2022
From September 2022 the DFE: Working Together To Improve Attendance paper will replace all previous guidance on school attendance except for statutory guidance for parental responsibility measures. The Secretary of State has committed to it becoming statutory when parliamentary time allows (this will be no sooner than September 2023).
The table below identifies how the 5 Foundations of Effective Attendance Practice will underpin the DFE 2022 paper in meeting the summary of expectations.