We take attendance very seriously. We know that any time missed from your child’s learning is so difficult to get back. Things move so fast in a school: the pace of learning, new topics, friendships, even the way in which we build children’s confidence all rely on children being in school every day so they don’t miss out.
The nationally expected attendance for a child at primary school is between 96% and 97%. That means only being absent from school for up to 7 days in a whole school year, usually due to illness.
We have lots of ways in which we support and encourage good attendance at MPL:
- We have dedicated members of the office team who monitors the attendance of all the children in the school on a daily basis. Mrs Gentleman or Mrs Lattimore telephone all parents on the first day if their child is not in school and we have had no explanation for their absence. That is to make sure that all our children are safe.
- Mrs Smith then meets with the Headteacher every week to discuss children whose level of absence is beginning to worry us.
- Mrs Smith also meets regularly with the Attendance Improvement Officer from Hertfordshire County Council. She offers the school support when children’s attendance levels get worryingly low.
Children for whom attendance has been an issue work closely with Mrs Appleford (wellbeing mentor) and may enjoy motivational systems (designed to meet the individual needs and interests of the child).
Authorised and unauthorised absence
Authorised absence includes: illness, medical appointments (with an official letter) or a religious observance. Holiday during term time is not allowed and all requests for 'leave of absence' for any reason must be made through the School Office. If you need to take your child out of school for an appointment, please contact the School Office. Absence must, by law, be recorded and reported to parents/carers as part of each child's annual school report.
Everyone is ill sometimes and we support children who have missed some school to catch up as much as we can. However, parents should consider carefully whether their child is well enough to come to school. A cough or a sneeze should not stop a child from learning. If they become increasingly unwell during the day, the school will always let their parents know and ask them to collect their child if necessary.
Children with more serious medical conditions are supported through work set to be done at home, and through liaison with external educational providers such as ESTMA (Educational Support Team for Medical Absence) and schools within hospitals. Absence due to illness is usually authorised (see below for unauthorised medical absence).
Absence from school is not authorised if no explanation is given for the absence, or if a child goes on holiday for any reason during term time. Our Attendance Policy outlines our principles and procedures for this. Very few applications for term time absence meet the criteria for exceptional circumstances and are authorised.
Concerns about poor attendance
- If a child’s absence drops below 92%, a letter is written to their parents offering support from the school to improve their attendance. Our Wellbeing Mentor often begins to work with a child or family if this is the case.
- Not all illness is authorised, especially if a child has many frequent or regular short absences from school. The school may request permission to contact the child’s GP and evidence of medical appointments may be asked for.
- If a child’s absence does not improve even after making the parent aware of our concerns, a letter is written from the Headteacher informing them that they will be monitored by the Attendance Improvement Officer. The AIO will meet will parents in school and may do home visits if necessary.
- Hertfordshire County Council have ruled that a fine of £60 per child, per parent may be imposed if a child is absent for 15 or more sessions which are not authorised by the school in the period of two terms. Please be aware: there are 2 sessions in every day, one in the morning and one the afternoon and the 15 sessions do not need to run consecutively.
- Before any fine is given, a parent will receive a letter from the school warning them that they are at risk of being in breach of the regulations. This letter is sent when the child has been absent for 8-10 sessions without authorisation.
Supporting difficulties with attendance
Our Wellbeing Mentor is always happy to help when attendance is a problem for whatever reason. She works closely with families who need support and, when needed, attendance and punctuality issues can be supported through our Family Support Worker Early Help process.
Attendance at the end
of the academic year
|Equals - days absent|
Which is approximately - weeks absent
Which mean - number of
|95%||9 days||2 weeks||50 lessons|
|90%||19 days||4 weeks||100 lessons|
|85%||29 days||6 weeks||150 lessons|
|80%||38 days||8 weeks||200 lessons|
|75%||48 days||10 weeks||250 lessons|
|70%||57 days||11.5 weeks||290 lessons|
|65%||67 days||13.5 weeks||340 lessons|