New Guidance for Absence and Lateness

Firstly, may I thank all parents and carers who do regularly ensure that their children attend the Academy at all times.

I would like to draw your attention to the new Government guidance regarding absence and lateness to school which will take effect from September 2015. The key changes which you need to be aware of are:

  • All schools aims to achieve a goal of 100% attendance
  • Persistent absence threshold is now below 90% (3 weeks or more schooling across the year). The previous threshold was 85%.
  • Stoke-on-Trent Local Authority will issue a Penalty Notice for any unauthorised absence where the pupil has been:
    • absent for 10 or more half-day sessions (five school days) of unauthorised absence during any 100 possible school sessions – these do not need to be consecutive
    • persistently late for up to 10 sessions (five days) after the register has closed
    • persistently late before the close of the register, but the school has met with parents/carers and has clearly communicated that they will categorise as unauthorised any further lateness, and where the threshold of 10 sessions (five days) has been met
    • absent for any public examinations, formal school assessments, tests or examinations of which dates are published in advance

Penalty notices will be issued if a student’s attendance crosses any of the above thresholds. If a fine is raised, then each responsible parent will be fined £60 per child per week of absence. Failure to pay within a set period will incur further penalties. Principles have the authority to grant leave of absence but only in exceptional cases. Fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ circumstances are absences that are rare, significant, unavoidable and short. By ‘unavoidable’, it is meant that an event could not reasonably be scheduled at another time.

Absence from the Academy, for whatever reason, can disadvantage a child by creating gaps in learning. Research shows that these gaps affect attainment when attendance falls below 95%. As such, we monitor all absence thoroughly and all attendance data is shared with the Local Authority. If your child’s attendance is falling towards 90%, then we will first contact you to raise our concern. All academies within our CAT are committed to working together to support the improvement of student/young people’s attendance and punctuality. Please support us by giving your child the best opportunities through good attendance.

Mrs J Bailey
Assistant Principal