Attendance and absence
Our school environment enables and encourages all members of the community to strive for excellence. For our students to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend regularly. All students should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable.
Why regular attendance is so important
Any absence affects the pattern of a student’s schooling and regular absence will seriously affect their learning. Student absence also disrupts teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class as well as the student themselves. If a student’s attendance drops below 90%, the student will have missed over 95 lessons in a year, significantly impacting their potential to learn.
Ensuring students attend regularly at school is a parent/carer’s legal responsibility.
If your child is unable to attend school
If a student is unable to attend school parents must:
- Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence by phone;
- Contact the school on each subsequent day that the student is absent from school and inform the school of an expected return date;
- Send a note in on the first day they return with an explanation of the absence – parents should do this even if they have already telephoned us;
- Avoid making medical appointments during the school term if possible.
If a student is absent we will:
- Contact parents on the first day of absence if we have not heard from them;
- Provide catch-up work for the student when they return to school if needed (please note, this is no substitute for attendance and participation in the lessons);
- Provide support to students to help them improve their attendance, if needed.
When is a student too ill for school?
We ask that our parents use their common sense when deciding whether their child is too ill to attend school. It may be helpful for parents to consider the following questions:
- Is my child too ill to undertake the activities of the school day?
- Does my child have a more serious condition that could be passed on to other children or staff? For example: scarlet fever, chicken pox. Children can normally attend if they are suffering from a common cold.
- Would I take a day off work if I had this illness?
If the answer to the questions is yes, it might be worth considering keeping a child at home.
Vomiting and diarrhoea
In respects of bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, we advise parents to consider whether the illness is viral or a contagious illness. If parents feel that the answer is yes, we advise that parents keep their child at home, until they have been symptom free for 48 hours.
The information given on our website is general advice and we would always suggest that parents consult a medical professional with individual concerns or queries.
We expect students to arrive at school punctually. If a child misses the start of the day they can miss work and do not spend time with their form/class teacher getting vital information and news for the day.
Requests for leave of absence during term time
The Education Act (1996) requires you to ensure your child attends school regularly. There is however a discretionary power to allow leave of absence in exceptional circumstances during term time. This is not an entitlement and is purely at the discretion of the Principal.
Before booking a holiday or requesting a leave of absence for your child you should consider very seriously how the absence will affect your child's education. If you still feel that you need to make a leave of absence request, this should be in writing and addressed to the Principal.
All requests for student leave of absence from school during term time will be considered but it is extremely unlikely that requests purely for holiday purposes will be granted. Where exceptional circumstances exist it is possible that a leave of absence may be authorised. However each case will be carefully considered on an individual basis.
Parents who do not meet their legal requirements to ensure their child attends school may be issued with a penalty notice, administered by Norfolk County Council.
We will refer a case to the county council for either:
- Fifteen percent or more unauthorised absence for reasons other than a term-time holiday within a six week period
- Ten consecutive sessions of unauthorised absence where some or all of the absence may be attributed to an unauthorised holiday in term-time (Note: each school day is made up of an morning and afternoon session).
The penalty is £60 if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid between 21 and 28 days. Non-payment may lead to prosecution in the courts.
Penalties may also be issued in other circumstance, such as as the result of a truancy sweep.