Attendance Policy

August 2020 | Approved by the Governors August 2020 | Date for review: August 2021


The names of the designated individuals are:

Chris Corbett Pastoral

Andrew Simpson – Attendance Manager

Tom McAndrew – Attendance Officer

Emily Stones – Attendance Assistant


Principles

We strive to provide a welcome, caring environment whereby each member of the school community feels valued, safe and is able to achieve.

Regular school attendance is important in order for students to reach their full potential. The information below is taken from the DCSF National Strategy and demonstrated the possible impact of attendance upon attainment.

Maintaining and improving attendance of the whole school, or groups of individual students requires persistent vigilance in every School.

Co-op Academy Walkden is committed to providing a full and efficient educational experience for all students. We believe that if students are to benefit from education, good attendance is crucial. As a school, we do all we can to ensure maximum attendance for all students. Any problems that impede full attendance are identified and addressed as speedily as possible. It is the policy of our school to celebrate achievement. Our school actively promotes and encourages 100% attendance for all our students.

Our school gives a high priority to conveying to parents, carers and students the importance of regular and punctual attendance. All school staff work with students and their families to ensure this happens. We recognise that parents and carers have a vital role to play and that there is a need to establish strong home-school links and communication systems that can be utilised whenever there is concern about attendance.

To achieve this we:

  • provide an efficient and effective system of communication with students, parents and appropriate agencies to provide information, advice and support.
  • provide an effective system of rewards and incentives which acknowledge the efforts our students make to improve their attendance or time-keeping
  • challenge the behaviour and attitudes of those students and parent/carers who give low priority to attendance and punctuality.

We fully support current government action to improve attendance, including measures designed to reduce holidays taken in term time, and therefore the school has made a decision not to authorise holidays. Absence requests will only be authorised by the Principal in exceptional circumstances.


Aims

The aims of this policy are to:

  • promote a welcoming atmosphere that makes students feel safe and valued;
  • encourage good relationships between the school and parents/carers;
  • stress the importance of good attendance and punctuality;
  • ensure that attendance is monitored effectively and absence followed up quickly;
  • recognise the vital role that attendance monitoring plays in safeguarding our students;
  • ensure that all students receive suitable teaching and receive rewards for success.

Intentions

By following this policy we ensure that:

  • all staff are aware of the registration process and receive in-service training on registration regulations;
  • all staff complete registers at the beginning of each morning and afternoon session within 15 minutes of the start of the session;
  • all staff take a register for each lesson, to prevent truancy from individual lessons and to quickly identify any safeguarding concerns to be immediately actioned;
  • we encourage parents/carers to contact school early to identify any issues that may affect attendance.

Expectations

To support the key policy statements, Co-op Academy Walkden expects pupils, parents/carers and staff to work together to promote regular attendance.

We promote good attendance by:

  • making parents/carers, students and staff aware of its importance and their responsibilities.
  • Making sure attendance features on the agenda of Tutor meetings, Student Progress and Governor Meetings.
  • Having a Governor with responsibility for Attendance. This is Avril Tomlinson.

The Role of Parents/Carers

Regular liaison is used to reduce “authorised” absences and to educate and inform parents/carers so as to establish high attendance as a valuable feature of school life.

Details of each student’s record of Attendance are included in their progress reports and annual report sent home to parents/carers.

Parents/carers are informed and reminded of the importance of regular attendance and good punctuality through newsletters, parents’ evenings, school website, the main reception plasma screen and letters home.

Parents/carers of students are asked to contact the Attendance Officer on the first day of absence and every subsequent day unless notified in advance. Contact can be made by telephone on the Absence Line: 0161 975 8055. Reasons for absence must also be provided in writing to the Form Tutor or Attendance Officer upon return. Any attendance information received by the Form Tutor must be forwarded to the Attendance Officer promptly. The Attendance Officer will then code the student’s absence electronically and will keep a manual record of all telephone calls received.

If the Attendance Officer does not receive a message regarding absences, parents/carers will be contacted by text/phone. It is important that the school is made aware of any absence for students in the interests of their safeguarding and legal compliance.


The Role of Students

The school day starts at 8.30am. Students are expected to be in school by 8.25am.

Students arriving late for school are expected to go straight to lesson where they will be marked as late. Students arriving late are met by the Attendance Officer who will sign them in.

Registers will close at 9.30am. Students that arrive late, but before 9.30am, will be marked as ‘L’ in the register. Regular lates will be monitored and parents informed. There are consequences in place for lateness and persistent lateness. Any student arriving to school after registers close at 9.30am, will be deemed as truanting unless a genuine reason can be provided to explain their absence. The school reserves the right to decide what is deemed a genuine absence. Such students will be coded in the register as ‘U’ (unauthorised absence) without a genuine reason.

Students who leave Co-op Academy Walkden for appointments before the end of the school day must have written permission from parents/carers and been agreed by their Year Pastoral Leader or a member of the Attendance Team. On leaving the premises they must sign out with Student Services

Students will be regularly informed about the importance of regular attendance and good punctuality through lessons, assemblies, Tutors, plasma screens and Attendance Weeks.

Students may be required to meet with a member of the Pastoral Team or the Attendance Officer to discuss any attendance concerns.


Procedures

There are clear expectations regarding the role of staff in following these procedures. Morning registration:

Co-op Academy Walkden makes use of an electronic system to record and monitor attendance. Each lesson staff record attendance via the SIMS network. All staff have access to SIMS. All teaching staff are provided with laptops / PCs.

Co-op Academy Walkden attendance record is maintained electronically and supervised by the Attendance Officer under direction of the Attendance Manager.

Any unexplained first day absences are promptly followed up by the Attendance Team with a text or telephone call home to the parents/carers to ascertain the reason for the non- attendance.

Where identified students and those on a child protection plan are absent, the attendance team liaises with the safeguarding team.

The Teacher completes the register promptly using the approved codes to record absences.

Registers are completed for each lesson as part of ‘lesson monitor’. Pupils missing from lessons are referred to ‘on call’ for investigation.

A weekly update of Tutor Group attendance is presented to staff via the bulletin. Tutor groups with the best attendance are rewarded, while year group attendance is shared at assemblies.

Punctuality is monitored by all staff and appropriate action is taken to redress persistent late arrival at school or to lessons (refer to Behaviour Policy). Staff challenge students who do not arrive on time and seek a reason for lateness. Staff record the student’s lateness initially on a manual register and this is transferred electronically using the SIMS system. Should a punctuality problem persist staff should inform the students Tutor and Head of Year, and parents/carers will be contacted. Further problems are referred to the Attendance Team

A text/call home will be made for every student that arrives late for school

Information about Co-op Academy Walkden’s expectations for attendance is included on our Website and in our prospectus.


Support for pupils in maintaining regular attendance

Parents will be contacted, should a pupil’s attendance fall below 95%. This will usually be a letter home inviting parents to contact the school.

Co-op Academy Walkden aims to work with parents/carers to ensure pupils can achieve regular attendance. We provide comprehensive pastoral support and offer advice and support to all students as required to ensure they can achieve regular attendance and achieve their potential. Parents are welcome to speak with Heads of Year, or the Attendance Team, should they be concerned about their child’s absence from school. Heads of Year and the Attendance Team can provide advice, ongoing mentoring with pupils and signposting to other sources of support.

Some pupils may also be offered additional support from the Safeguarding team, Early Help Practitioners, or Family Support Worker, including liaison with home and signposting to additional services and support. Should this be appropriate, the Family Support Worker will discuss directly with families.

Co-op Academy Walkden works alongside a number of agencies and offers appropriate referrals and access to Common Assessment Framework (CAF) to ensure the needs of students are identified and appropriate support is provided.

Walkden follow a staged process in notifying parents of attendance concerns. Initial letters will be sent for pupils where attendance has fallen below the national average at 95%.

Further communication will be made should attendance remain a concern and parents will be invited to meet with Heads of Year and/or the Attendance Officer.

These interventions are aimed to help identify issues affecting attendance early and provide support, signposting and intervention. Pupils will be offered an individual plan to improve their attendance and we are committed to working with parents/carers to ensure all pupils are supported in making improvements when necessary.


Students returning after an substantial absence

Heads of Year provide students, who have been absent from school for a substantial period of time, with a meeting to ensure a successful reintegration back into full time education. All strategies and support agreed at this meeting is clearly communicated to all staff and parents/carers.

Pastoral staff, particularly the Form Tutor, take special responsibility for encouraging students to attend school and helping them settle back in following an absence.

Each Zone initiate procedures to help Students catch up with missed work. Persistent Absence due to illness:

Co-op Academy Walkden staff ensure that any reasonable adjustments are made to enable students to maintain regular attendance, should they have medical needs that are preventing them from attending regularly. Should a student be absent for a significant time due to medical needs (more than 20 sessions absent within 100 sessions), we will notify the Local Authority.

When the level of absence attributed to illness reaches a level of concern, the Local Authority states it is reasonable for a school to ask the parent/carer for further information, and in some cases, evidence of illness.

Co-op Academy Walkden will offer a meeting with parents/carers and the pupil to ascertain reasons for persistent absences and discuss whether any adjustments should be made in school or referrals and signposting to other sources of support. A decision will also be made to request medical evidence for continued absence and parents/carers will be advised on what evidence will be needed. Continued absence may not be authorised without medical evidence.


Punctuality

Punctuality is important part of students learning in self discipline and good time management. Co-op Academy Walkden expects students to attend by 8.30am. If students arrive after 8.30am, they will need to sign in and will be registered ‘late’.

All students who receive a ‘late’ mark, and do not have a genuine reason, will need to attend a detention that day

Parents will also be informed.

Morning registers officially close at 9.30am. Any student arriving after 9.30am without genuine reason will be marked in the register with an unauthorised absence (U code). This will be treated as truancy and will form part of further investigations under the offence outlined in section 444 of the Education Act (1996).


Investigating Unexplained or Unauthorised Absences

Where a pupil’s attendance fall to an unacceptable level, parents will be invited to a meeting in school or will be visited at home. Medical evidence may be requested before any further absences are authorised due to illness. It is a decision for the school as to whether to

authorise absence or not. Parental condoned absence will only be authorised by the school if deemed appropriate. For example, the school will not accept the following excuses for absence:

  • Going shopping;
  • Getting a haircut;
  • Buying shoes / clothes;
  • Caring for siblings or other relatives;
  • Unable to attend school due to parental illness;
  • Going on holiday.

Unexplained absences and persistent absence will be challenged and investigated. Parents/carers need to be aware that regular school attendance is a legal requirement under section 7 of the Education Act (1996). Parents/carers may be prosecuted for failure to ensure their child attends school regularly (s444, Education Act 1996).

Persistent absences not authorised by the school will be referred to the Local Authority for consideration of legal interventions. This may lead to a Penalty Notice being issued for truancy and/ or parents being referred to the Magistrates Court for prosecution under s444 of the Education Act (1996).

The Attendance Team monitor pupil attendance and investigate unexplained or unauthorised absences.

  • If a student is absent without explanation, Co-op Academy Walkden contacts the parents/carers as soon as is possible, via text or phone on the first day and each subsequent day unless notified in advance.
  • Unexplained absences will be investigated by Form Tutors and escalated to Heads of Year if unresolved. Heads of Year will refer persistent absence to the Attendance Team
  • If a student is absent for more than three days without an explanation, the school will continue to attempt to contact by text or phone,
  • A home visit may also be undertaken by the Head of Year, Family Support Worker or Attendance Officer
  • Should the School be unable to ascertain the whereabouts of a pupil after 3 days, then we will consult with Education Welfare Service regarding further investigation under Children Missing Education procedure.
  • If an explanation for absence is not satisfactory, or if the absence continues, Co-op Academy Walkden invites the parents/carers to school to discuss any difficulties that are preventing the student from attending. This is done as soon as possible, so that the problem is tackled early.
  • Initial investigations will be undertaken by Heads of Year. Persistent absences are referred to the Attendance Team To assist in the monitoring of attendance, Heads of Year and the Attendance Manager meet regularly to review individual pupils’ attendance.
  • Co-op Academy Walkden follow a staged process in investigating absences. Absences that are not authorised will be investigated quickly and may be fast-tracked through these stages in order to secure an improvement.

Requests for Holidays in term-time

  • The Government does not encourage absences during school time for family holidays and Co-op Academy Walkden only authorises absences under “exceptional circumstances”.
  • If a parent/carer wishes to request such an absence, they must complete the appropriate request form and submit it to school. Any request for term-time absences must be approved by the Principal.
  • Absences that are not authorised by the Principal are referred to the Attendance team.
  • Unauthorised absences, due to holidays will be referred to the Local Authority for consideration of issuing Penalty Notice Fines.