At Seaham we begin to become concerned about attendance if your child’s attendance drops below 95%. Regardless of the reasons why such as an authorised holiday or illness you will recieve a letter informing you of our concerns. This is so that you become aware that further absence will be detrimental to your child’s education.
If your child’s attendance drops below 95% our Student Services Team will make a home visit and refer the matter to our Education Welfare Officer. Please contact us to discuss issues regarding attendance and we will endeavour to do what we can to support you and your child.
We are always prepared, albeit reluctantly to prosecute should the need arise.
As you would expect we take our guidance from the Government and what follows is advice from the Government regarding attendance.
Regular school attendance is an important part of giving your child the best possible start in life. Talking to your child and their teachers could help to solve any difficulties you have in getting your child to go to school – and there are other forms of support available if you still have problems.
Going to school regularly is important to your child’s future. For example, children who miss school frequently can fall behind with their work and do less well in exams.
Good attendance shows potential employers that your child is reliable. Research suggests that children who attend school regularly could also be at less risk of getting involved in antisocial behaviour or crime.
School attendance and absence: the law
By law, all children of compulsory school age (five to 16) must receive a suitable full-time education. For most parents, this means registering their child at a school – though some choose to make other arrangements to provide a suitable, full-time education.
Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they attend regularly. If your child fails to do so, you risk getting a penalty notice or being prosecuted.
You can help prevent your child skipping school by:
- making sure they understand the importance of good attendance and punctuality
- taking an interest in their education – ask about school work and encourage them to get involved in school activities
- discussing any problems they may have at school – inform their teacher or headteacher about anything serious
- not letting them take time off school for minor ailments – particularly those which would not prevent you from going to work
Arranging appointments and outings after school hours, at weekends or during school holidays will help to prevent disruption to your child’s education and to the school. Under normal circumstances, you should not expect the school to agree to your child going on holiday during term time.
Support on school attendance
There are many different issues which can affect school attendance. Examples include problems with:
- housing or care arrangements
- transport to and from school
- work and money
If your child starts missing school, there may a problem you are not aware of. Ask your child first, then approach their teacher or form tutor.
Support from the school
Your child’s school is the first place to go to discuss any attendance problems. The school should try to agree a plan with you to improve your child’s attendance (eg the fast-track to attendance programme). If you don’t follow the plan and things don’t improve, the school will take further action. 1,200 schools are currently using Parent Support Advisers (PSAs) to work with parents to improve children’s behaviour and attendance. The government is expanding the availability of PSAs to allow them to reach 10 to 15 schools in each local authority.
Support from your local authority
Your local authority can also help if you are struggling to ensure that your child goes to school. Potential forms of support include:
- home tuition for children with long term and recurring illnesses, so they do not fall too far behind
- support to help reduce the burden on children where families are in difficulty (for example, if a child is spending a lot of time caring for someone)
- working with families and schools to overcome bullying and other serious problems