Each absence is classed as authorised or unauthorised. Absences are coded as authorised, where reasons are considered valid, and unauthorised where no explanation or unacceptable reasons are given.
The following reasons are not acceptable:
- shopping visits
- care for family members
- days out to theme parks or to attend concerts/shows
- parents’ work commitments or business trips
- holidays taken in term time (including long weekends taken on Fridays and/or Mondays)
- parental illness
- Day off for a birthday.
It is also useful to know the expected day your child is due to return. If you do not supply us with this information we have a duty to contact you as a safeguarding measure.
Where the child is absent through illness, or medical appointments, this will normally be counted as authorised. Where we have concerns over excessive absence patterns through illness we will need to discuss this with you in order to gain a better understanding of the problems, and to offer support.
It is our policy that any holidays in term time are NOT authorised. The only exception to this is where parents serve in the armed forces (this does not extend to the emergency services i.e. Police, Fire, Ambulance etc). Where authorisation is not granted then subsequent term time holiday absence will be reported as a matter of course to the Local Authority; we are under a duty to do this.
Where unauthorised leave is taken, the Governing Body has decided that it will support the imposition of a fixed penalty fine. This can be very expensive and will apply to any parents who book holidays in term time.
Where children are invited to perform in a licensed show or concert (e.g. orchestra, pantomime) you are asked to consult with the Headteacher about how much time away from school is required. Where possible, such requests will be granted, provided that the child’s education is unlikely to suffer. The school will also be sympathetic towards leave to participate in a recognised city, county or national sporting event.
Where parents wish to take their child(ren) out of school during term time for purposes other than holidays, they should complete the leave of absence form. This is available from the Main Office.
Every child should aim for as near to 100% attendance as possible. We expect attendance for the year to be at, or above 97% for every student, other than in exceptional circumstances.
We have a duty of care, shared with the Local Authority, to challenge poor attendance. Where attendance levels are low and where there are invalid reasons (judged by the Local Authority, not the parent) for a pupil’s frequent absence or where parents condone absence (e.g. by taking children out of school on unauthorised holidays) then parents render themselves liable to a fine.
The fine may be doubled if the fine is unpaid within 21 days and could ultimately lead to a criminal conviction. Of course, no one wants this to happen but we need to be very clear about the issue.