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Clarification on Authorised and Unauthorised Absences

(4 Posts)
fluffycarpets Tue 25-Feb-14 12:56:42

Please can someone give me an up-to-date, final low-down on authorised and unauthorised absences, and how these are used to calculate overall attendance. Also the weight given to attendance in a school's ofsted ranking (e.g. can a school with below average attendance ever get an outstanding Ofsted).

Speficically (for e.g.):
If an absence is authorised does it still count in the overall absence statistics for that school?

If it is still counted, what difference does it make whether or not the head authorises or not? Is it only a difference to the parent (e.g. they get fined/feel bad). Or does it have some other implications e.g. are heads held to account for the number of days they authorise.

if they are held to account, who holds them to account? Ofsted? And if so, where in the ofsted report is there a breakdown of authorised/unauthorised absences?

or is it the local education authority doing the accounting? And why do they care whether or not a headteacher decides a pupil goes to a family wedding or not in term term, authorised or unathorised? what implications does it have.

if it is not counted in the ofsted ranking, then why doesn't the head authorise loads of absences? at least then it looks as if people aren't coming in for good reason?

Why are heads too scared to authorise absences with really good reasons. Or even only quite good reasons?

also re fining. is it sixty pounds per parent per absence period or per day? not clear.

Clarity sought, among all the confusion of my own post.


BreconBeBuggered Tue 25-Feb-14 13:47:06

All absences are counted in calculating attendance percentages. Within that figure, there are statistics showing whether the absences are authorised. Any school with less than average attendance figures overall will be quizzed by Ofsted about what they are doing to bring their results up to 'acceptable' standards. And of course, any casual glance at how 'good' the school is will reveal an apparently high level of absenteeism if a lot of parents take their children out in term-time. So heads don't have an incentive to authorise what might be seen as avoidable absences.

I think the fining regime is down to the individual local authority.

tiggytape Tue 25-Feb-14 14:57:58

The fine is charged to each person who has parental responsibility for the child because they each have a legal duty to ensure the child is not out of school unless ill or unless authorised.
So a family of 4 taking 2 children out would get fined £60 per parent per child i.e. £240

All LAs will have a policy document stating when and how they fine parents eg saying they won't fine parents for less than 5 days as long as attendance overall is good.

The Head has to work within the law and guidelines and professional responsibilities. They aren't going to authorise all requests just to keep the unauthorised figure low. A very high level of authorised absence is as likely to attract scrutiny and need remedying as much as a high level of unauthorised absence. The overall aim is to ensure all absences are minimal but if there is a very good (exceptional) reason that the child must be away from school they should still authorise it and have the power to do so.

fluffycarpets Wed 26-Feb-14 00:12:47


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