New measures by the government to improve school attendance.

18th November 2022

Dear Parents/Carers,

We want to thank parents for working in partnership with us to ensure that your children miss a minimum of school days. Children only have one opportunity to be at school and our school places great emphasis on full learning time – we believe that every day, every hour, that a child is out of school means lost time to their education that cannot be recovered.

We also appreciate that we have multi-cultural community and that after lock-down many families wanted to see families that they had not seen for so long. We also recognise that travel agents do not help and that holidays can be far cheaper during term time.

That said, we have a duty of care to provide children with the best education possible which we cannot do if children miss school. Attendance figures for our school are now below the national expectation of 97% and puts us in the bottom 20% in the county which is cause for concern. We therefore would like to share guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) with you.

As well as outlining how the school leaders and staff should engage with children and their parents to maintain and improve attendance (we will, for example, especially reward children who achieve high attendance rates), the guidance gives particular attention to persistent absenteeism by pupils and absence (usually for holidays during term time).

These are the most consistent and worrying issues for some children in our school and we will be considering and acting upon any measures that we don’t already use when dealing with these issues.

As well as a pathway for support for parents and children in a voluntary way in such cases, such as Parenting Contracts which the school can require in order to improve a child’s attendance, the DfE

has laid down legal measures that can/will be taken where parents fail to comply with ‘informal’ steps. Parents can then be prosecuted in a Magistrate’s Court by the Local Education Authority. Proceedings can be taken against them for committing a range of offences – with fines of £1,000 or £2,500 and/or a Community Order or imprisonment of up to 3 months depending on the degree of non-compliance.

We need you to be aware of these stricter sanctions and procedures which we can follow if children are not in attendance at school without good reason or are persistently absent.

Again, we want to emphasise that as a staff, many of whom have young families themselves, we fully appreciate the challenges but we must put the education of our children first and ensure that holidays and trips to visit family abroad only happen in school holiday time.

We appreciate your understanding.

The Governing Body