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Attendance procedures

(13 Posts)
Rewn7 Tue 06-Feb-18 15:30:15


This is purely curiosity as DD has good attendance but I was wondering if anyone on here works within the attendance teams of a school or council and could say what the standard practice is for when children’s attendance at secondary school falls.

Is there a set protocol or can Schools/academies decide their own?

E.G. if a child only had 80% attendance now, considering we are only half way through the year, what steps are normal?

I know 80% now might only equal 90% by end of the year so was curious how it all works as it’s something that I (oddly) find interesting.

Perhaps I should consider a career change grin

LadyLapsang Wed 07-Feb-18 21:29:30

Are you considering taking your child out of school?

Rewn7 Wed 07-Feb-18 21:49:11

No not at all. Just genuinely curious about procedures. I find the subject interesting. Also find admissions fascinating but was asking about attendance in this post.

fleshmarketclose Wed 07-Feb-18 21:58:05

Dd got a letter when her attendance fell below 70% to advise me of this have had nothing since and it is considerably lower than that now. I engage with school and health services and seemingly that is enough. No idea when or if dd will ever manage school full time again but nobody but me seems to consider it their concern tbh.

Lexi123 Wed 07-Feb-18 22:05:17

Hi, I work in a secondary school where attendance targets are set annually. 90% or lower is classed as below target. Authorised absences are medical appts, illness or exceptional circumstances re a bereavement, family engagement, funeral etc although it is stated that medical appts should be made out of school hours ideally. Unauthorised absences include, holidays, refusal to come into school or any absence where a valid reason isn’t given. If your daughter is already at 80% now you certainly don’t have anything to worry about.

admission Wed 07-Feb-18 22:08:04

Schools are responsible for the attendance at their school. So most now assume that 95% + is the norm and therefore as soon as attendance dips below 95% they will be sending letters and asking questions. The best schools have well rehearsed procedures so that they know who are their poorer attenders and are constantly looking for ways to improve attendance. So for instance I know of one primary school where they paid for a taxi for three siblings where attendance and lateness was a major problem. Result was subsequently 100% attendance, which was a successful intervention.
At some stage in the process the EWO will also get involved (usually when the attendance has dropped to 85% or less) because in many instances the poor attendance is to do with family circumstances. The school will need to work in tandem with the EWO to try and keep attendance at a high level.
There is another issue in schools and that is lateness because the 15 minutes that the pupil is late in the morning does accumulate to a sizable amount of time. Again the best schools have good processes to monitor and continually work to improve lateness.
There is also another aspect to this and that is that poor attendance and especially lateness is a big clue that there are issues in the home. If the school can spot this and maybe arrange a TAF (team around the family) it can head off some of the more difficult social situations. So there is actually to me a good reason for schools working on attendance and lateness over and above the much stated and questionable need to cram in every available minute for education purposes.

Rewn7 Wed 07-Feb-18 22:20:47

Thanks all. DD has 100% attendance (for years) so it’s not out of any concern for her. I just find it a very interesting subject.

I’ve heard of people locally being fined and also taken to court in extreme circumstances, but wondered how schools improve it when a child simply keeps not turning up.

It’s also interesting to understand the difference between authorised and unauthorised.

I didn’t realise that ‘sickness’ was authorised? Does this mean that if a child is regularly off sick less action would be taken? Even without medical proof? Whereas refusal to come in would be unauthorised and therefore provoke more action? In that case surely parents of these children would lie and say they are ill.

It’s all very interesting and I think a very hard area to manage. I do think perhaps I need to get a job in a school since it all intrigues me so much grin

Lexi123 Wed 07-Feb-18 22:37:56

Illness is only authorised if a parent contacts school. If for instance it is a week or more medical proof is required. For those who are sick long term,there are procedures in place whereby,there are medical letters/ hospital review letters and regular contact with parents. Work is also sent home for the child. School refusal isn’t that common but it is referred to the EWO who take it into their hands.

Rewn7 Wed 07-Feb-18 22:45:41

Thanks Lexi. So is the overall attendance % looked at or is the ‘authorised’ absence not taken into account when establishing attendance percentages/triggers for further action?

Astronotus Wed 07-Feb-18 23:41:57

Lexi123. I have read of a school with currently over 20% persistent absence rate. Is this unusual and what might this mean?

Lexi123 Thu 08-Feb-18 09:21:02

Astronauts that is unusually high and in that instance I wouldn’t be surprised if the school required an inspection.

Lexi123 Thu 08-Feb-18 09:40:45

Go to yiubcan compare with local schools re attendance/persistent attendance.

Astronotus Thu 08-Feb-18 13:50:02

Thank you Lexi, that is very helpful. The school is Ofsted Outstanding and has been for a number of years but the persistent absence has soared in the last few years. They have a new head though and I believe Ofsted inspect in the first year of a new head.

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