The importance of regular school attendance
Regular attendance at school is vital to help children achieve and get the best possible start in life. Children who frequently miss school often fall behind. In fact, there is a strong link between regular school attendance and achieving good grades at GCSE. Having an attendance rate of 80% is equivalent to missing a day a week.
Your responsibilities as a parent
Children must receive a full time education between the school term after their fifth birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16 (Y11). If your child fails to attend school regularly you may be guilty of a criminal offence and this could result in a prosecution. All Milton Keynes schools have their own attendance policies and are responsible for managing pupil attendance.
Authorised and unauthorised absence
If your child cannot attend school, you should contact the school as early as possible to explain why your child needs to be absent and to obtain permission to ensure the absence is authorised.
Only the school can authorise your child’s absence. An authorised absence is where the school has given approval in advance or has accepted an explanation for the absence afterwards. In most cases this will be due to your child being ill. If your child has a lot of absence due to illness the school may ask for GP or other medical evidence to enable them to make a decision about authorising the absence.
If the school does not accept the reason for absence or no reason is given the absence will be marked as “unauthorised” and you will place yourself at risk of prosecution or of receiving another financial sanction.
Try to arrange appointments during school holidays, at weekends or after school hours. We understand that this is not always possible. If your child has a medical appointment during school hours, please bring an appointment card/hospital letter in to the school office as soon as possible so that we can make a note in the register.
If your child is unwell and they will not be attending school, please advise the school office on 01908 561366 before 9.00am on the day of sickness, providing details of their illness.
There is the facility to inform us of your child’s absence on Parentmail, as well as our voicemail service.
We have a strict 48 hour policy on vomiting and diarrhoea. If your child has either of these symptoms please do not send them back to school until 48 hours has passed since their last episode, even if they are feeling better. Tummy bugs are highly contagious and it is imperative that we prevent children and staff from catching them.
Please notify the school office in advance if you need to your child to have time off for religious reasons. Only the day of the actual religious festival/celebration will be “authorised”.
Persistent lateness after the register has closed
If your child is going to be late, for reasons that are unavoidable, please advise the school office as soon as possible. You will need to sign your child in at the main office when they arrive. If your child is persistently late after the register the school can ask the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Every minute counts …
If your child is late every day: in a year your child would lose the following days of education
5 minutes late - 3 days
10 minutes late - 6.5 days
15 minutes late - 10 days
20 minutes late - 13 days
30 minutes late - 19.5 days
Holidays/Leave during term time
Schools are no longer allowed to authorise requests for children to be taken out of school in term time unless there are “exceptional circumstances”. If you take a holiday which is not authorised by the school then they may refer the matter to the Local Authority who will consider the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) are issued to each parent and are for each child. A FPN is £60 if paid within 21 days, and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days. If the fine is not paid, parents will be prosecuted in the magistrates’ court.
If a FPN is issued, it will be one fine to cover the whole period of the absence. So the fine would be the same amount for an absence of five days or 10 days.
Leave of absence request form
In school we review your child’s attendance regularly. At the end of every week we look at the cumulative attendance of every pupil in school and should your child’s attendance fall below 90% they will be added to our concerns list and you will be sent a letter highlighting the need to improve your child’s attendance. Should your child’s attendance not rise above 90% in a 4 week period of attendance watch or, should the figure continue to drop without extenuating circumstances, you will be asked to come into school for a meeting to discuss why attendance is important and how we can support you in getting your child’s attendance back up to the desired percentage. If attendance still does not improve your details will be passed onto Milton Keynes Council who will pursue a Fixed Penalty Notice.