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Holy Cross Catholic Primary Academy

Attendance Policy

Holy Cross Catholic Primary Academy recognises the importance of regular school attendance as a key factor in promoting the welfare, social inclusion and achievement of pupils.  We believe that children should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless there is an unavoidable reason.  The school works alongside parents and our Educational Welfare Officer to promote regular attendance and our expectation is that every child should have at least 95% attendance at school with a target of 100%.  Any child who falls below 90% will automatically receive a letter to remind parents of our expectation and an Attendance Meeting with the parent, Headteacher and Educational Welfare Officer could be called if no improvement is noted.
Promoting, recording and monitoring attendance at Holy Cross Catholic Primary Academy  is a priority because:
  • It is a legal requirement of the school in the interest of pupil welfare;
  • It records the safe arrival of pupils in school, and allows the safety of pupils to be checked in the event of fire;
  • It prevents truanting;
  • It promotes high achievement;
  • It ensures maximum social experience and promotes social inclusion.
Home /School Partnership
Parents are responsible for ensuring that children of compulsory school age receive efficient full-time education (Section 36, 1944 Education Act).  Parents should ensure that their children attend and stay at school.
At Holy Cross Catholic Primary Academy  the staff and governors endeavour to support parents in this responsibility by:
  • providing a comprehensive induction programme for new entrants and parents to help children to come to school willingly with a positive attitude.
  • Encouraging parents to discuss any attendance related problems with class teacher/head teacher.
  • Aiming to ensure that the school is bright, clean, warm and welcoming.
  • Informing parents of any changes in the school routine by newsletter or email via Pupil Asset 
Reporting Absences
It is the parents’ responsibility to inform school of the reason for a child’s absence as soon as possible, this can be done by calling the school office or via Pupil Asset.
At Holy Cross parents are expected to contact the School Office on the first day of absence giving as much information as is available at that time.  If the absence is prolonged, interim information would be appreciated so that the school can help with homework or other necessary arrangements.
In the event of no contact having been made regarding a child’s absence by the end of the school day, the parents will be contacted by the school office.  If unexplained absence continues, or the school is concerned regarding irregular attendance the assistance of the Education Welfare Officer will be enlisted. 
Under regulation 3 of the Pupils’ Registration Regulations 1956, all schools must keep an attendance register on which, at the beginning of each morning and afternoon session, pupils are marked present or absent.  The 1991 Regulations also state that registers must state whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised.
The session times for Holy Cross are:
The school gates open at 8.30am. Parents must stay until 8.40 am, when children line up. Children enter class at 8.45 am.
            Morning Session     EYFS:  8.45am- 11.30am
                                               KS1 (Years 1 & 2) 8.45am-12.00pm
                                               KS2 (Years 3-6) 8.45am - 12.30pm
            Afternoon Session   EYFS: 12.30pm- 3.15pm
                                                KS1 (Years 1 & 2) 1.00pm - 3.15pm
                                                KS2 (Years 3-6) 1.30pm - 3.15pm
Authorised/Unauthorised Absence
In line with The Education (Pupil Registration) England Regulations 2006 and the recent Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 as of 1st September 2013 the school may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  The Headteacher will determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if leave is granted. If absence is required a leave of absence form needs to be completed and returned to the school office with a letter of explanation.
Only the school, within the contexts of the law, can approve absence - not parents.
To help parents distinguish between authorised and unauthorised absence the following guidelines are included.  If after reading these guidelines you are still in doubt please contact the Headteacher.
Illness, Medical and Dental Appointments -  if the school is satisfied that a pupil of compulsory school age is prevented from attending school by reason of illness then the absence will be treated as authorised.  Leave for medical or dental is not encouraged unless in an emergency situation. The school would prefer parents not to make routine appointments within school time.  The School Office must be informed when a pupil leaves or returns to the school.
Lateness – The school policy is to encourage punctuality and actively discourage lateness as it can seriously disrupt lessons.  If a child is late and misses registration, a late mark will be recorded. T
he school will be sympathetic if this is for a good reason.  If, however, a pattern of lateness starts to emerge, parents will be invited to discuss the matter with the class teacher/headteacher in order to reach a satisfactory solution.  Registers taken are closed at 9.15am after which time pupils will receive a late code.  The entrance door is closed at 8.50 and children have to enter school via the main entrance, after that time, where their reasons or being late will be recorded in a Late Book.
Special Occasions – it is for the school to determine whether an absence in this category should be authorised or not: much will depend on the circumstances of the particular case.  Generally the rule should be that only truly exceptional occasions should be sanctioned through authorised absence after consultation with the Governors.  Family holidays within term time are not deemed as exceptional, they have been removed from the DfE regulations and therefore will not be authorised.
Family Bereavements – the death of a family member can be a particularly traumatic event in any young person’s life.  Schools have discretion to authorise absence to attend funerals or associated events and any request would be dealt with sympathetically.
Days of Religious Observance – Absence of a pupil for participation in a day set aside  exclusively for religious observation by the religious body to which the parents belong is classified as authorised absence.  It would be helpful if the school could be given advance notice of religious observance days.
Traveller Children – the absence of Traveller children will be recorded in exactly the same way as for any other child with the exception of instances where the school is informed that the family is travelling away from the area for work or cultural purposes. In that case the absence is recorded as authorised.  It is essential that the school is informed before the period of absence occurs. If there is no contact with the school, the school will endeavour to make contact through a phone call and in letter.  If, after two weeks, there is no response to this then the pupil will be taken off roll and a ‘Child Missing Education’ form will be completed.
Penalty Notices
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no ‘leave’ has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Local Authority using sanctions and/or legal proceedings which may include; issuing each parent with a Penalty Notice for £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days or referring the matter to the Magistrates Court whereby each parent may receive a fine up to £2500 and/or up to 3 months in prison. If you are found guilty in court you will receive a criminal conviction
In addition, parents/carers may be invited into school for a meeting with the Headteacher to discuss lateness and/or absence where:
  • There is a regular pattern of lateness
  • A child’s attendance record falls below 90%
  • The number of broken weeks exceeds 5

Holy Cross CatholicPrimary Academy

Tracyes Road, Harlow,

Essex, CM18 6JJ

01279 424452