Holiday Penalty Notices – Update – June 2017
The Education Welfare Service has been issuing penalty fines for unauthorised absences on behalf of schools since the introduction of the fines in 2003 under Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, 2003.
Penalty Notices are an alternative to the existing sanctions available under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 and Section 36 of the Children Act 1989, allowing parents to discharge liability for conviction for the offence. The fine is £60 per parent per child if paid within 21 days, increasing to £120 per parent per child if paid within 28 days from the date of issue.
In 2013 the Education (pupil registration) (England) (amendment) Regulations 2013 removed references to family holidays and extended leave. The amendments made clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist. So on behalf of schools the Education Welfare Service also issued penalty fines for leave taken in term time.
Following the Isle of Wight v Platt case in 2016, penalty notices for leave in term time was suspended until a decision was made by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court overturned the decision made by the High Court recently so the Education Welfare Service will be reinstating the issue of fines for holidays in term time.
Unauthorised leave for 10 sessions (5 school days) or more will qualify for a fine. No warning will be issued from the Local Authority because it is assumed that school will inform all parents that leave in term time will not be authorised unless it is exceptional circumstances. ‘Exceptional circumstances’ can be described as rare, significant, unavoidable and short and that the leave/absences could not reasonably be scheduled at another time.
As a school we will clearly demonstrate that the parent/carer understood that permission had not/would not be given through the meeting that parents/carers are expected to make with Ms Regan. This dialogue will also be captured on the paperwork completed at this meeting. This information has also been communicated on the school’s website and by letter. As such, the school will make a reasonable assumption that parents/carers understand this process in the unlikely event that they choose not to meet with school prior to taking their child out of school for an unauthorised term time holiday.
Spring Term 1 2016
Thank you everyone for continuing to work with school to help to improve attendance. As you will see from the comparison to the same period last year we are doing really well!
Let's keep up the hard work and try to get to our target of 97%
Autumn Term 2015
Well done to everyone for a fabulous effort with attendance this term.
Our whole school attendance (Reception to Year 6) is 96.9% for the term - so extremely close to our target of 97%. Keep going everyone and we will get it!
Well done especially to Mrs Bingham's Year 6 class who won the class with the highest attendance this term and enjoyed a fabulous trip to Stike Ten Bowling as a reward.
Let us keep up the good work in the new year!
Attendance Update - Autumn 2015 Half Term
Thank you for everyone's fantastic approach to school attendance this first half term.
You will see from the graph below what a fabulous improvement we are already starting to see.
Let's keep up the good work!
ATTENDANCE – WE NEED YOU TO WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH US!
In a nutshell, as a school our attendance isn’t good enough and we need to see a significant improvement quickly! To do this we need your help to ensure that your child is on time and in school every day. Overall, our levels of attendance as a school have been below the national average for a sustained period of time. In addition, where there have been improvements, these have been at a rate that is slower than that nationally. Our overall attendance rate is in the BOTTOM 40% OF ALL SCHOOLS NATIONALLY.
2012 2013 2014
SCHOOL 95.1% 94.7% 95.5%
NATIONAL 95.6% 95.2% 96.1%
Attendance forms a crucial part of the overall judgement that Ofsted makes on schools under ‘Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare’. It is also a crucial indicator for the Department for Education when risk assessing the overall effectiveness of a school – which is done on an annual basis. During an Ofsted inspection, inspectors will consider:
• Overall absence and persistent absence rates for ALL pupils, and for different groups in relation to national figures for ALL pupils
• The extent to which low attenders are improving their attendance over time and whether attendance is consistently low
• Punctuality in arriving at school and at lessons
To achieve a judgement of outstanding under the September 2015 revised framework, Ofsted’s Inspection Handbook states that schools would need to demonstrate that:
• Pupils value their education and rarely miss a day at school. No groups of pupils are disadvantaged by low attendance. The attendance of pupils who have previously had exceptionally high rates of absence is rising quickly towards the national average.
As a school, we cannot say that we currently fit into this category within ‘Personal development, Behaviour & Safety’ and as a result we need to work hard with your support to change this.
Raising overall attendance levels will remain a major priority in 2015-2016 and new systems have been put in place to support this. I will be working proactively alongside Ms Regan (Pastoral Manager), Becky Knox (Family Worker) and the whole staff team to support you to ensure that your child is on time and in school every day.
First Day Response
In the unlikely event that your child is absent from school, you will receive a phone call on that morning to determine why your child is not in school. If we are unable to contact you by telephone a home visit will be made. If we are unable to make contact as a result of the home visit, we will communicate in writing to you and this will be posted through your door. We do understand that very occasionally your child may be too unwell to come to school. Please help us by being proactive and informing us of this by telephone BEFORE 8.45am. Any subsequent days of absence will also be followed up by phone or home visit. It may be that you need our help in some way – please let us know how we can support you.
You are expected to make any non-urgent medical appointments (including dental) OUTSIDE of the school day for your child. Whilst we do appreciate that it is sometimes difficult to get through to your GP surgery, we need you to work with us. If your child is so ill that they need to see a medical professional immediately then of course, you would need to go to A&E without delay.
You are able to request and/or change hospital appointment times and we ask that, wherever possible, you do this. For any hospital/consultant appointments that do happen to fall within the school day, you must provide the school with plenty of notice and a copy of the letter of appointment. This MUST be communicated with the school office and not your child’s teacher. Please ensure that you make appropriate arrangements for siblings to be dropped off and picked up to avoid any requests for families of children to attend the same appointment.
If a child's attendance is below 90% we will request medical evidence for any absences linked to Illness or Medical appointments. Without this evidence absences will not b authorised.
Visits Abroad and/or Holidays
The governing body of the school has decided NOT to authorise any visits abroad and/or holidays. ALL unauthorised absences will be recorded on your child’s records. In addition, please could I remind you that it is your responsibility to inform the school of your child’s whereabouts should they not present themselves for school. This will then be communicated with the relevant parties, including the Local Authority as and when appropriate.
Penalty notices will be actioned at the point of the 10th day of any unauthorised absence.
Other requests to take children out of school part way through the school day
It is unreasonable to present at school and ask to take your child out there and then. Any requests must be made within a reasonable timeframe and following a conversation and/or meeting with myself or another staff member. Please note that the vast majority of absences will be recorded as unauthorised. To avoid unauthorised absences, please consider alternative arrangements in advance.
We need your child to be on time and in school every day in order that he/she is maximising their potential. As a result of this, we also want to be able to provide evidence that our attendance is outstanding. Please work with us to address the issue of attendance here at Marland Hill.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mrs Joanne Cunningham