Why we believe school attendance is so important?
We want to do our best for all our children and believe that regular attendance at school is vital for children as it promotes good learning, positive attitudes and maintains continuity in their education and in their friendships. Children should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason is unavoidable. For a child to reach their full educational achievement, a high level of school attendance is essential. We will consistently work towards a goal of 100% attendance for all children. Every opportunity will be used to convey to children and their parents or carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance.
What is the Law?
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 places a duty upon the parents of a child of compulsory school age to ensure that child receives an efficient, full-time education. Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 states that if any child of compulsory school age is a registered pupil at a school and fails to attend regularly then the parent of the child shall be guilty of an offence.
If your child stays off school without permission and good reason this is called truancy. Truancy can happen when a pupil doesn’t attend for just a part of the day, or for the whole day. Sometimes truancy happens because the student is unhappy at school. Maybe the student is being bullied, or struggling with their learning, or there is conflict with teachers or other pupils.
Parents must remember that they should not ignore or agree with or condone their child’s truancy. Please contact the school’s Education Welfare Officer, Caroline Hunt, to discuss any issues with school attendance.
Brannel School will only authorise absences for sickness (evidence may be required), religious observance, failure of school transport or where the Head teacher has given permission.
It is unfortunate that Brannel School has had a number of cases over the years where either fixed penalties have been issued, or prosecution at court has happened due to unauthorised absences from school.
On 6th April 2017, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s decision that a father who had taken his child on a family holiday to Florida during term-time, was not acting unlawfully because his daughter had a good overall attendance record of over 90%
The Supreme Court focused on what constitutes ‘regular attendance’ at school, as required by section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996. The Justices were clear that parents would have to comply with the rules set by the schools and education authorities and that a child must attend school unless for reasons of sickness, religious observance, failure of school transport or they have received permission by the Head teacher.
The ruling means that parents who take their children out of school during term-time, even if their child has regular attendance, can be fined or potentially prosecuted, if they do not receive permission from the Head teacher, such permission being granted in exceptional circumstances only.
At Brannel School requests for holidays will NOT be authorised except for in exceptional circumstances.
Our Attendance Policy clearly states that we view good attendance as 95% and above, so if your child’s attendance falls below this when taking your holiday, you are at risk of committing an offence under the Education Act 1996. Any requests should be made at least two weeks in advance, using the ‘Request for Leave of Absence’ form. Schools in the Cluster will confer if there are siblings in more than one school. If the school refuses a request for term-time leave and the child is still taken out of school, this will be recorded as unauthorised absence. The school will not consider more than one leave of absence request per academic year. We are committed to following our attendance policy in respect of the prosecution process in relation to any unauthorised holidays.
If parents or carers take their child(ren) out of school without permission, they will be committing an offence under the Education Act 1996. We may refer the matter to Cornwall Legal Services who may decide to prosecute. A conviction may result in a fine of up to £2,500, a prison sentence of up to three months or both. Alternatively, a penalty notice may be issued under Section 444A and 444B of the Education Act 1996. This carries a fine of £60 if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid after this but within 28 days. Failure to pay the penalty notice may result in court action.
What do we do at Brannel to promote good attendance?
We like to celebrate good attendance at Brannel. Over the last 2 years we have seen our overall school attendance increase from 93% to 94.6% which is extremely positive news. We will, however, continue to work hard to reach our target of a whole school attendance of 96%. Some of the things we have introduced are:
- Recognition of those students that attend 100% for the week by awarding merits, and those that are making improvements with their attendance
- Fortnightly highest tutor group award
- Half termly attendance awards, including Amazon vouchers, cinema tickets and merits
- Individual attendance support plans for students who need extra help with their attendance issues
- Recent introduction of tutor attendance reports to encourage students to attend more regularly, giving them responsibility for their own attendance
- Regular meetings with Heads of Year and Senior Leadership Team about school attendance
- Regular update on attendance matters on our Facebook page and website
How can I get help if I am having problems with my child’s attendance?
Keep an eye our for early signs of your child not wanting to go to school, such as moodiness, headaches or stomach aches, especially at important times like transition to year 7 or after the school holidays. Act upon these signs early and don’t be worried about contacting the school.
At Brannel, we monitor attendance regularly, and if your child’s attendance falls lower than 90% or causes concern, you may be contacted by the school Student Welfare Officer, Mrs Caroline Hunt. She will be able to support you have with your child’s attendance.
Your child has a right to an education and to be safe and happy at school. But sometimes children and young people can be anxious about going to school. This can happen for lots of reasons but can happen when they have a worry about something like homework or a class test, or if they are being bullied or had a fall out with other children or teacher.
Sometimes parents let their child stay off school because they think the school isn’t handling these kinds of things well enough. Unfortunately, this will not help find a solution. It is important to talk to the school if this kind of problem happens.
If would like to discuss any issues your child may be having which is preventing them from attending school, please contact the school as soon as possible and speak to someone in the Pastoral Team. The key members of this Team are: Mrs Caroline Hunt, Student Welfare and Attendance Officer, Mrs Jordan Nash, Pastoral Support Officer, including school lead on bullying and Ms Liz Dando, Pastoral Support Officer.