The school has well-above average attendance, reflecting the children’s enjoyment of school.
The law requires all parents to ensure their child attends school regularly. Research shows that children often do not catch up on work missed, and this is highly likely to have serious consequences for their learning and progress. The government is very clear that all schools must aim to have the highest possible attendance possible for all of their pupils in order for them to achieve their potential.
In November 2013, the Local Authority introduced a system where any pupil who has an attendance of 85% or less with at least 15% unauthorised absence over a six week period, or 10 consecutive sessions (5 days) unauthorised absence will meet the criteria for legal intervention which could be in the form of a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Any pupil, at any Hellesdon School, who meets either criteria, will be referred to the Local Authority for action to be considered.
If a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued it is a fine of £60 fine per parent/carer per child which has to be paid in a single payment and within 21 days. If unpaid a further invoice for £60 fine per parent/carer per child is issued. Both individual invoices would then have to be paid (making a total of £120) within 28 days. Failure to pay within these timescales usually results in prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court.
What is an “Unauthorised” absence?
An Unauthorised Absence is any absence that the school has not given permission for, or the parent/carer has been unable to provide a reason for the absence, which is acceptable to the school.
What is an “Authorised” Absence?
Regulations make it clear that schools can only authorise a leave of absence for:
- Medical appointments
- Religious observance
- Exceptional circumstances (e.g. a family funeral).
Neither should schools authorise absences if they believe it is to the detriment of a student’s education or if the absences are during school exam periods and SAT’s.
What about family holidays in term-time?
The regulations make it clear that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Family holidays do not constitute exceptional circumstances.
What happens if we still go on holiday anyway?
If you still go on holiday, the school has to refer the case to the Local Authority for action to be considered. You could be liable for a Fixed Penalty Notice.