Attendance

Health & Welfare

As parents, carers, teachers, support staff or governors, we take our role in ensuring the wellbeing of every child in our care very seriously. Staff are trained in first aid and we have a school nursing team who visit the school for the Flu immunisation programme and the National Child Measurement Programme.

The best place for a sick child is at home in bed. Children who have had an accident or are taken ill at school are seen by members of staff who are qualified first-aiders. If it is thought that a child needs further medical help or is unfit to be in school, parents are notified immediately. If necessary the school will call an ambulance or take a child to the medical practitioners.

Any medication which has to be administered during school hours must be clearly labelled and taken to the school office, where it will be given by a member of staff as required. There is a form to fill in to ensure that the correct information is available to the relevant staff.

It is vital that parents fill in and return to us the ‘contact’ form, which provides us with an up-to-date home address and telephone number and also details of where they can be contacted when at work. You should also nominate someone else as a contact if there are times when you are unavailable.

Attendance and punctuality

You must ensure that your child arrives at school at the correct time. Children who are persistently late or who have poor attendance records do not achieve as well as other children.

All children start the day’s activities as soon as they enter the classroom in an early work session to ensure that not a moment of the day is wasted. Just five minutes lateness every day means two hours missed learning time a month.

If your child is late you must come into school via the office so that your child/ren can be signed in.

If your child is absent from school for any reason it is essential that you provide us with an adequate explanation either in person or by leaving a message on the telephone absence line.  If we do not receive an adequate explanation for your child’s absence, it will be recorded as ‘unauthorised’.

Absences for reasons other than illness are not normally permitted except in special circumstances which must be authorised by the Headteacher. In line with national policy, holidays or extended leave during term time are not permitted, other than in exceptional circumstances and could result in a fixed penalty notice being issued.

Valid reasons for having time off school

  • Serious sickness (more than a sniffle or a cold)
  • Close family funeral
  • Hospital treatment
  • Emergency dental treatment 

Unacceptable reasons for not coming to school

  • Going to the dentist (please plan well ahead and make appointments during holiday times or after school)
  • Hairdressers
  • Shopping
  • Birthday
  • Got up late
  • Didn’t have a clean uniform
  • Brother, sister or parent unwell
  • Late night

Supervision of children after school

Staff are unable to accept responsibility for children in school or in the school groups after 3.30pm unless they are attending out-of-hours activities or special arrangements have been made.

At Thurton Primary School, we feel that regular school attendance is considered to be of great importance. If a child is not present at school they cannot learnt what we have prepared for them or reach their full potential.

We therefore aim to have the maximum attendance rates possible for our pupils. There will, of course, be just and valid reasons why pupils cannot attend school on occasions, but we have systems in place to monitor and investigate absences across the school. The percentage of attendance is reported to parents in the termly school report, so parents can track over time.

The attendance of any child who is identified as a persistent absentee (a child who does not attend for 10% or more of their possible sessions i.e. attendance of 90% or less) will be tracked over time, to ensure that attendance improves.

Term Time Holiday

Attendance at school and legal intervention

Where parents decide to have their child registered at school, they have an additional legal duty to ensure their child attends that school regularly. Research commissioned by the Department for Education shows missing school for even a day can mean a child is less likely to achieve good grades, which can have a damaging effect on their life chances. At Thurton CE VC Primary School our aim is to work with parents to ensure that all our pupils receive the most from their education and reach their full potential.

We would like to remind all parents about the law that requires them to ensure that their child attends school regularly. The Government is very clear that no child should miss school apart from in exceptional circumstances and schools must take steps to reduce absence to support children’s attainment.

The DfE policy document entitled, ‘Working together to improve school attendance’ states:

  • Only exceptional circumstances warrant a leave of absence. Schools should consider each application individually taking into account the specific facts and circumstances and relevant background context behind the request.
  • If a leave of absence is granted, it is for the headteacher to determine the length of the time the pupil can be away from school.
  • As head teachers should only grant leaves of absence in exceptional circumstances it is unlikely a leave of absence will be granted for the purposes of a family holiday.

If the school does not receive a request for leave, the head teacher will be unable to consider your individual circumstances and the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. There will be no obligation on the head teacher to reconsider authorising the leave if an application has not been made in advance.

The Local Authority operates a system where any pupil will meet the criteria for legal intervention if they have at least 9 sessions (4.5 school days) lost to unauthorised absence by the pupil during 6 school weeks.

The intervention could be in the form of a fixed penalty notice. Any pupil at Thurton CE VC Primary School who meets the criteria, will be referred to the Local Authority for action to be considered.

If a fixed penalty notice is issued, the arrangement for the payment will be detailed on the notice. The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt, rising to £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days. A parent may receive more than one separate penalty notice resulting from unauthorised absence. When penalty notices are issued each parent will receive one per child. Therefore, each parent could receive multiple notices if they have more than 1 child who has been absent. You should be aware that failure to pay the total amount within the timescale will result in legal action being taken. In some circumstances, the Norfolk County Council Attendance Team may choose not to issue a further penalty notice in the same academic year and may instead choose to prosecute a parent under the Education Act 1996 S444. There is no right of appeal by parents against a fixed penalty notice.

A copy of our Absence Request form can be downloaded here.