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Attendance

We regard attendance as being an important issue. This reflects our view that education is crucial to every child. We are committed to helping our pupils understand that:

  • learning is important;
  • regular attendance, being punctual and arriving in a state of readiness for learning is valued;
  • hard work, commitment and perseverance is rewarded;
  • excellent attendance and punctuality is something to aspire to;
  • the children are missed when they are not here;
  • problems leading to non-attendance are taken seriously – we do listen and can offer support via our Family Support Office Miss Lisa Gabrielle.

The Legal Framework

The Education Act 1996; parents must ensure that their children are educated. For most parents, this means registering their child at a school, and ensuring their regular attendance. Failure to do so can result in a fixed penalty fine or prosecution.

Authorised absence includes illness, interviews, sporting activities, examinations, family funerals.

The Government has issued clear guidelines with regard to family holidays during term time and holiday leave cannot be applied for during term time.

As a Parent you need to be aware that:

  • parents need to request permission in advance from the school if they wish to take their child out of school due to an exceptional circumstance.  The Headteacher has the authority to decide if this is deemed as an exceptional circumstance and for how long the child may be absent from school;
  • each request for exceptional circumstance leave of absence will be considered  individually by the school;
  • if the school does not agree to an absence and the child is still withdrawn for a holiday the absence is recorded as unauthorised
  • You can be issued with a Penalty Notice by the Local Authority for a number of reasons, including: overt truancy, absences from school, either when a parent continually fails to provide an explanation or the school considers the absence to be avoidable or for holidays taken in term time where the absence has not been authorised by the school;
  • A Penalty Notice is £60 if paid within 21 days of receipt but £120 if paid within 28 days.

The Role of Parents

At New Chapter we believe parents have a crucial role to play in ensuring their child maintains good attendance.

A child will infer how much a parent values education from their attitude to attendance issues.

Parents invest in their child’s future by:

  •   ensuring their child arrives at school on time, appropriately dressed and in a ‘condition to learn’ (i.e. not too tired or too hungry)
  •   working in partnership with us to help their child gain an appreciation of the importance of attending school regularly
  •   working in partnership with us by taking an active interest in their child’s education

If your child is unable to attend school please phone the office by 9.30am to let us know of their absence. We need to ensure that something hasn’t happened to them that you do not know about on the way to school. Please help us to keep your child safe by calling school by 9.30am. 

Please note that birthdays, shopping and being tired are not legitimate reasons for missing school and these are registered as unauthorised absences.  Please try to make medical appointments for after school times.

As you will already be aware, New Chapter is part of the MKET (Milton Keynes Education Trust), which consists of the following family of schools:

Walton High, Walton High @ Broughton (secondary), New Chapter (primary) Heronsgate (junior), and Kents Hill (infant).

Lisa Gabriel is the trust’s ‘Family Support Worker’.  Lisa works across all of the schools within MKET, working with the head teachers, support staff, parents, MK council and children’s social services to ensure good attendance at school.

Lisa visits New Chapter every Monday and monitors and reviews our attendance data, identifying pupils who have low attendance or persistent lateness. Attendance below 90% is considered to fall into the category of persistent absence. Lisa then works with the school, pupils and families to improve attendance. As poor attendance and punctuality will affect learning.

Attendance procedures 

Please ensure that your child comes to school every day unless they are ill. They miss so much education if they are away a lot and quickly fall behind.

Sometimes there are family circumstances that prevent you from sending your child to school. If this is the case, please contact the school and let us know.

We have to record unauthorised absences, and at the end of the year inform you of the times your child has been late or absent without due cause.

Please follow the process below:

  1. On the first day of absence, inform the School why your child is away either by telephone or by a note before 8.45am.
  2. When your child returns, send in a note confirming the reasons for your child’s absence.
  3. If your child is unwell and unable to come to school for 3 days or more, you should supply evidence that they have visited their GP – along with an outcome of what they have advised.

What happens if the school does not hear from parents?

  1. The school will contact you after the registers have closed at 9.30 am to discover the reason for the absence.
  2. Ms Gabriel may also make contact with families who have not notified the school of their child’s absence and are on her caseload.
  3. For a small number of children we may undertake a home visit.
  4. If we still haven’t received a reason for absence when your child returns back to school, we will send you a letter asking you to respond.

Lateness

It is very important that your child arrives to school on time. Lateness may mean that your child is missing valuable teaching time the beginning of lessons are so important.

If you child is Over the year your child could lose the equivalent number of days of education
5 minutes late 3 days
10 Minutes late 6.5 days
15 minutes late 10 days
20 minutes late 13 days
30 minutes late 19.5 days

Late arrival after registers close at 9.20am will be marked as an unauthorised absence. Six unauthorised absences of this type will trigger a warning letter, which can result in a fixed penalty notice (FPN) being issued. This may result in a fine, for each parent, currently £60 per child.

If your child continues to arrive late, Ms Gabriel will contact the home. 

Fix penalty fines may be imposed by the Headteacher of repeated lateness or absence.  For serious breaches of attendance court proceeding may be initiated.

Leave of Absence During Term Time

Parents should only consider taking children out of school for a holiday in VERY exceptional circumstances.  It is school policy to refuse any holidays taken in term time.

Permission for time away from school needs to be obtained from the Headteacher in advance.  A request form asking the school for permission to take a leave of absence during term time needs to be completed well in advance, please ask at the school office.

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