First Federation Trust
GH and FFT Attendance Policy September 2023
At Gatehouse Primary Academy we constantly strive and look for ways to improve the education for all our children.
The First Federation believes that education is crucial to a child’s life chances and opportunities. The learning and experiences of a child at primary school shapes and moulds them for the rest of their lives. The Trust wishes to ensure that all its pupils receive a full-time education which maximises opportunities for each pupil to realise his/her true potential. In every school the staff will work with pupils and their families to support parents/carers in helping them to meet their legal duty to ensure that their children attend school regularly and on time.
Within the First Federation schools we:
- expect pupils to attend school regularly and to arrive in a fit condition to learn
- encourage good attendance and will investigate all absenteeism
- ensure school staff set a good example in matters of attendance and punctuality and will promptly investigate all absenteeism and lateness
- will work closely with parents should attendance/punctuality give cause for concern
- will work closely with families when there are circumstances where pupils cannot attend school due to Covid-19, in accordance with the latest guidance from the Department for Education and Public Health.
The Role of the Parent/Guardian
- It is the statutory duty of every parent/guardian to ensure that their child attends school regularly and on time. (Section 444(1) Education Act 1996)
- Parents must contact the school on the first day of absence notifying the school of the reason for the child not attending.
- Where a message confirming absence has not been received, parents will be required to send into school a written note explaining the reason for each absence. (A blanket reason for a series of absences cannot be accepted). For any absence from school, permission must be sought prior to absence taking place.
- It is the remit of the school to authorise absence for any period where the Head of School / Link Director decides that this is the case.
Reminder - all pupil absences need to be reported via the admin email - firstname.lastname@example.org or through the My Ed app or by telephone on the day.
Please do not send through Seesaw.
Many thanks for your support.
What you can do to help your child….
- Make sure your child comes to school regularly and punctually.
- If your child starts missing school, work with the school to put things right. Communication is very important.
- If your child is absent you must phone the school as soon as possible on the first morning of absence and on each subsequent day of absence. After registration, if we have not had contact from you, the school will attempt to contact you. Staff will be concerned if there is no response.
- If you feel it is essential for your child to miss school, for example a religious festival or other special occasion, please complete an absence request form, 14 days prior to the event.
- Please support us in our efforts to encourage good attendance.
How will we achieve good attendance and punctuality….
- We would like you to help us to achieve our target of 96.5% attendance rate each year for Gatehouse Primary Academy.
- Members of our attendance team are always happy to provide advice and guidance.
- We are happy to meet with parent/carers to discuss support strategies where appropriate.
The office staff will be then be outside welcoming children to school each morning.
Office opening times are from 8.30am to 4pm.
Parents / Carers are requested to telephone the office on 01626 862605 and leave a message on the absence line (option 1) before 8.50am if their child is going to be absent/late. The reason for absence must be in full i.e. sickness on Sunday, temperature, severe cold etc. Please do not leave vague messages i.e. unwell, ill or under the weather as the school office will have to call you back for more information.
With the continuing changing in government guidance with regards to Covid-19 can be quite overwhelming and confusing. As we move into the autumn and winter, both children and adults will pick up more common bugs and this will make it even more of a challenge to distinguish what might be Covid-19 Symptoms and what might be a common cold or a throat infection.
Most people with Coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. If you or your child has one or more of these symptoms you need to self isolate and book a test. Please email confirmation of any tests for our test log.
The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Where a child is absent from school and we have not received any verbal or written communication from the parent, then we initiate a first day contact process. Office staff check all class registers between 9.10am and 9.30am on a daily basis, to identify those pupils who are absent. If no message is left with the school office we will telephone in turn each of the contacts on the list provided by the parents, until a contact has been reached to advise why the child is not at school. This is the school’s duty of care and safeguarding for your child.
The registration bell goes at at 8.50am and the class register opens and closes at 9.05am. If you child arrives after the register has started around 8.55/9.00am but before it has closed at 9.05am they will be coded as late (L). If they arrive after 9.05am they will be coded as arriving after the register has closed (U) which is an unauthorised absence.
The school attendance policy (available to view in Key Information) states that the attendance of children who arrive late will be registered as follows:
*A child arriving after the register has started but before the register has closed will be coded as “late” (code L).
*A child arriving after the register has closed will be coded as “Late after registration closed” (code U). This is counted as an “Unauthorised Absence” (see appendix for use of other codes).
*The times from which children will be marked as “late” or “late after registration closed” will be clearly communicated to parents.
We have a 48 hour rule for any sickness/diarrhoea to try to prevent any outbreaks. Please ensure that if your child has suffered with either of these, they remain absent from school for a clear 48 hour period from the last attack.
If your child needs to be away from school, for any reason, please complete an absence request form (L5) or bring in a copy of the medical appointment letter/card. All holiday requests for children are unauthorised, unless there are exceptional circumstances and any absence over 10 sessions (5 days) are reported to Devon County Council in accordance with Government guidelines, which may result in a penalty notice.
We always strive for high attendance at Gatehouse Primary Academy and work closely with the Education Welfare officer to raise children's attendance. Please be advised that 6 missed sessions per half term (3 days) would put a child in a persistent absence category and the Education Welfare Officer may become involved.
We are sure you will appreciate that good attendance in school correlates to the educational achievements of children. Official research by the DfE shows, in general, the higher the percentage of sessions missed across the Key Stage, the lower the likely level of attainment at the end of Key Stage 2. In particular, pupils with no absence are 1.6 times more likely to achieve Age Related Expectations or above, and 4.7 times more likely to achieve above Age Related Expectations than pupils that missed 15-20% of all sessions.
Further information can be found by viewing our Pupil Attendance Policy on the First Federation Trust Website.