We believe that school attendance is crucial for all children, but especially for ours. This is because at Woodlands School nearly all our pupils start here behind others in their age group for various reasons. Noone can make progress if they are absent. We also know that children are much more likely to get into trouble in the community if they are not in school. From experience we assertained that some of our pupils are very good at avoiding being in school and putting pressure on their parents/carers to achieve this, particularly when they wish to avoid negative consequences in school.
“The school has worked hard to improve attendance. More students attend school on a regular basis now and enjoy being greeted warmly by staff. They choose a nutritious breakfast to start the day on a positive note. Although attendance is below average, it is improving. The school has good plans in place to ensure it continues to rise.”
(Woodlands School Ofsted 2013)
- The parent/carer role in supporting attendance
We believe that parents play a vital role in the attendance of their child. It’s very important therefore that all parents and carers support their child and the school properly, not by giving in at these points but by ensuring attendance. We ask all parents to consider carefully the longer term impact of their decisions. We know for some that there will be days when it is easier to allow a child to have a day off in order to avoid a conflict with them. Not only are parents required by law to send their children to school reguarly but we also know from experience that this is storing up trouble for the future, as your child will have learnt that if they put pressure on you, you will allow them an absence. This will make it harder to get your child to attend school. So you can see we have high expectations that our parents and carers, but we do provide some support and advice through our home liaison officer.
- Woodlands School role in supporting attendance
We promise to:
- have high expectations for your child and treat them with respect
- ensure your child is safe in school, dealing with issues that arise quickly and sensitively
- provide a curriculum, including visits and other enrichment opportunities, that will engage your child by teaching this in as exciting a way as possible
- send a taxi to transport your child to and from school each day
- help your child make progress by providing whatever support they need in terms of their emotional and learning needs, with mentors assisting with this
- work effectively with other agencies in support of your child’s education, including the Education Welfare Service
- provide support as far as possible through communication, advice and the work of our dedicated home liaison worker
- Holidays in term time
Parents do not have a legal right to take their children out of school in order to go on holiday. We will therefore not authorise any holiday in term time unless:
- parents and carers can show there are special circumstances, and
- the request is made in advance by the parent with whom the child normally lives.
So what are special circumstances?
Special circumstances are unique e.g. due to a parent’s work/employment commitments, where there has been a trauma or bereavement in the family or where the opportunity for such a leave is unlikely to arise in the future.
We will not consider the following to be special circumstances:
- the availability of cheap holidays
- the availability of the desired accommodation
- adverse weather during the school holiday period
- an overlap at the beginning or end of the school term
If you do make a request for leave to go on a family holiday during term time in responding your request we will consider:
- whether there are any special circumstances for the request
If the answer to this is yes, we will then also consider:
- your child’s previous attendance request
- the time of year when the holiday is to be taken
- how long the holiday is for
- the likely disruption the holiday might cause to your child’s education
- whether similar requests have been made in the past
If you take your child out of school for a family holiday without the school’s prior authorisation the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and noted in your child’s school records. The school may ask the Local Authority to serve a Penalty Notice. This Penalty Notice is a fine of £60 which, if not paid within 28 days, rises to £120. If you are issued with a Penalty Notice and you fail to pay it within 42 days you could be prosecuted in court.