Absence reporting, school not telling parents for three days(17 Posts)
My DD took a day off sick last week. She is very responsible, in Year 8, travels to school via 2 buses so leaves the house at 7.30 and sometimes, if she misses a bus, does not get home until 5.30pm.
When she took the day off, I thought my DH had phoned the school and he thought I had (!) so I called in at 4pm to let them know. It then dawned on me that they had not let me know she hadn't turned up on that day.
So I emailed the school and they say it is their policy (under review) to not inform parents until day THREE of an absence. If they thought the child was 'at risk', well then they would inform parents on the first day, but the rest of them....
Is this normal behaviour for a school? This is my first time dealing with secondary, but all the infant and junior schools I have dealt with would call you before 9.30 if my daughter(s) hadn't arrived.
Obviously if anything had happened on the way to school, it would be 10 hours before I would have even been aware that she was missing! Am I being unreasonable?
I haven't replied to the school yet.
Thanks in advance
I would have thought it should be flagged up earlier
Certainly at primary I got a phone call at 10am when ds who had been sick was off. I had asked my patents to take dd in and assumed they had told reception when dd arrived.
Our high school sends a text by lunchtime if a child isn't at school and a parent hasn't phoned to say why they aren't there.
We get a text by 9.10am if not turned up for registration and first lesson. It's automatic as have electronic register. Schools I have worked in all at least call parents by 9.30am - it's a huge task for office staff and v annoying !!! It is a safeguarding issue and your school are failing in their duty of care. It's not about truancy but about knowing kids are safe. I would ask to see schools safeguarding policy - OFSTED will give a 4 rating if this is not satisfactory, even if everything else is amazing, it's that important. Good luck.
I imagine with the cuts now, it is going to be increasingly more difficult to do this. Our school has prioritised pastoral care, so we do call (within about an hour!) for any child- but it is incredibly expensive to do so (250 students per year group, one admin per year group, seven year groups...) but I know office staff have been cut in many other schools and there just isn't time to do it, as their job roles have been changed.
I can see the logic (teachers>admin) but it is also foolhardy as students NEED to be in school, and students need to know if they are late or not there- we are on it!
It is a perfectly normal policy unless the school have a particular problem with truancy.
My school is Outstanding according to Ofsted but we don't phone parents until day 3 of absence.
Dd1's school has the same policy, which was very annoying when she truanted for 2 days last year (dp found her hiding in her bedroom when he came home early one day) due to bullying. I do understand the policy though as it is a huge task for the office staff.
We had a similar experience with dd who was in Year 8 at the time. She had an out-patient's appointment at GOSH and I'd written in to her form tutor in advance and was intending to phone as well but forgot. I got called out of my own classroom to take the call from her school (meaning they insisted to my school's office that it was urgent they speak to me) asking where she was. However, this was a couple of years ago, so policy might have changed by now.
But I would think it's a priority actually, cuts or no cuts.
DD's school is supposed to call immediately if they do not turn up to morning registration according to their handbook.
However I have had an ongoing problem with them recording unauthorised absences when she has been attending various school activities such as choir rehearsal, school matches, where she had to miss registration. She had been told that her tutor would be told to mark her as present but on 5 occasions since she started at the school (now in year 8) an unauthorised absence was recorded. I only found out about them (over a week later in several cases) when i checked on her student record online. No-one rang me on any occasion. I have had to spend a lot of time chasing the school up to have the record amended. DD says several of her friends have over a week of unauthorised absences on their records for this reason but have not chased it up.
I would press for schools to get computerised registration systems (they have the ability already as its on SIMS). This can then be attached to a programme which automatically sends texts to parents mobiles if no one has reported them absent. So the only work is the attendance officer ticking off via computer the known absences. It is very important to know students are absent & rules were brought in years ago after the case of a young girl who was abducted on way to school but not reported missing until she failed to return home at 4pm. Schools should know where their students are on a school day and not assume they are safely tucked up at home.
I'm not sure what happened in 6th form, but both our secondary and primary would call parents of compulsory-age children if they had not arrived as expected.
One has computerised registers - I don't know how it works, but somehow absences are flagged, checked against notifications, and unexplained ones are followed up.
I would say from a safeguarding point of view that if a child doesn't turn up for school an no reported absence has been reported by parents then parents should be contacted .
Any school that doesn't have this policy of contacting parents should look at this again.
The DFE strongly encourages parents to be contacted on first day of absence if not contact had already been made.
I have never come across a school policy that does not contact parentst on first day of absence if it has not been reported.
Schooldidi - I would be extremely concerned about your schools safeguarding policy I'm afraid .
We have a text alert system and things were really tightened up a few years ago when a boy did not turn up at school in Scotland and had been killed and no one realised until the evening.
Exactly Rose - that's why schools should inform parents of an unreported absence ASAP.
It is unacceptable and also very worrying to do it like this. I know that if dd was off I have to ring each day of absence before 9am so it should work the other way. If a child has not arrived at dd's school then parents are sent a text just after morning registration. I got 3 of these in year 7 and was a little worried (dd gets taken to school by me by car with 2 other girls so I knew she had arrived). Was told that dd was not at school so I replied yes she is. They checked and she was obviously at school each time. Turns out that dd was sent on an errand by her form tutor each time and she forgot to mark her in!!
We get texts around 11.30am if we forget to ring.
Not sure what happens at DSs school as I have always rung in when he is absent.
However, did go to look around a 6th form college the other day and one of the things we were told was that if a student does not turn up for college and no phone call has been received, they will ring parents to ask where the student is!!!
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