Attendance and Punctuality
Regular Attendance and Punctuality at school is essential if students are to achieve their full potential.
The information below highlights procedures and responsibilities that parent/carers and the school has for each child.
Thank you for your support and co-operation.
Good attendance at school is important for academic progress, social interaction with peers and the opportunity to participate in clubs and try new activities. At Stepney All Saints School we have a clear expectation that students should aim for 100% attendance every year.
We recognise, however, that illness happens, children get sick and there will be occasions when your child is too poorly to come into school. To guard against truancy we presume all absence is unauthorised until a valid reason is given by a parent or carer. Should your child’s absence become more persistent however, it is important to discuss this with the school to see if there are other barriers to their attendance.
Academic studies have shown a direct link between attendance and progress towards GCSE grades. 19 days of school missed per year (attendance of 90%) equals one GCSE grade dropped on average.
By law, all children must attend the school they are registered at regularly. We view attendance above 98% as excellent. Attendance below 95% is concerning and should attendance fall to 90% or below a student is considered a ‘persistent absentee’ (PA). The school is required to report all students who don’t attend regularly to the Local Authority. Should your child’s attendance fall to 90% or below we will invite you in to discuss the reasons and provide support if necessary to overcome any barriers to attendance.
Should there not be a good reason for continued low attendance at school we are required to work with the Local Authority to explore why the support put in place is not working. Ultimately the Local Authority could proceed towards legal action, should the situation not improve.
There are a few ways in which you can help support your child’s attendance:
- When ill, ensure the illness is genuine then phone the main school number to report the absence. See the Reporting Absence or Appointments section below.
- If you discover your child is worried about anything at school, contact your child’s tutor.
- Only take family holidays during the school holidays. There are 190 school days in a year leaving 175 in which to take a holiday.
Reporting Absence or Appointments
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My child is unwell, what should I do?
A: Please call the school absence line no later than 8.30am, 020 7790 6712 (Option 1), leaving a message stating your child’s name, tutor group and a brief explanation of the nature of the illness. A call is requested for every day of absence unless you have spoken directly with the Attendance Officer.
Q: Why do I need to call every day?
A: We cannot assume that a student is unwell just because they were off school the previous day. If you believe an absence due to illness may be prolonged, please contact us so that we can make arrangements to avoid you calling daily.
Q: I know in advance that my child needs to leave school early for an appointment, what should I do?
A: Send your child to school with a note in their planner stating the reason they need to leave school and the time you wish to collect them. The note should be handed in at reception. The student can then sign out of school.
Q: I have just remembered that I need to collect my child during the school day, or I have forgotten to send a note in the planner, what should I do?
A: In the first instance, please call us. Reception will endeavour to pass a message to your child within your given timescale. However, it is not always possible to locate students straight away, for example during lunch or break times.
Q: I wish to take my child out of school for a family holiday (or other reason) during term time.
A: It is important to note that The Department for Education only allows an absence/holiday in term time in “special circumstances”. Few requests fall into this category, the majority are refused and fines can be imposed for taking time off without the school’s permission.
If a family needs to make a leave of absence request, this must be done in writing to the headteacher. Parents will be invited into school for a meeting to discuss the application following which a decision will be made.
Please send a letter requesting leave to the headteacher and submit prior to the purchase of any travel tickets and at least two weeks before the start of the requested period of leave. In order for the headteacher to reach an informed decision please include as much detail as possible to explain why exceptional circumstances apply. You will be called into school for a meeting to discuss your request.
Attendance line: 020 7790 6712 option 1
Attendance Officer: Tamjid Hussain
The Penalty Notice Scheme
In partnership with Tower Hamlets Local Authority (LA), this school will be implementing the Penalty Notice Scheme as required under statutory guidance issued by the Department for Education (DfE,2013) in order to improve attendance and punctuality.
A Penalty Notice may only be issued in cases of unauthorised absence or lateness or where parents/carers fail to ensure that their child is not in a public place during the first five days of exclusion from school.
Penalty Notices apply on an individual child per parent basis. Therefore a parent with 3 children who meet the criteria may receive 3 Penalty Notices. In a family with 2 parents/carers with three children who meet the criteria, each parent/carer may receive 3 Penalty Notices – meaning that a total of 6 Penalty Notices may be received.
The issue of a Penalty Notice may be considered appropriate in any of the following circumstances:
- In instances of a pupil having 6 sessions (3 days) of unauthorised leave/holidays in term time. A session is a half-day and unauthorised means without the consent/authorisation of the school.
- Where parents/carers fail to attend without reasonable cause LA led In-School Attendance Panels, to which they have been invited to discuss their child’s unauthorised absences and/or leaves.
- In cases of pupils identified as having Persistent Absence (where the attendance of pupils falls below 85% in a period of a school term they are designated as having Persistent Absence) with 20 or more sessions of unauthorised absence (not authorised by the school) and with substantial evidence of failure on the part of the parent/carer to work in cooperation and partnership to address and improve the situation.
- In cases of frequent late arrival at school (10 minutes after the register has closed) with 20 or more avoidable late marks occurring over a period of a school term. The journey involved and particular issues such as adverse weather conditions and disruptions to transport will be taken into account as necessary.
- Where there is a combination of unauthorised absence and avoidable lateness amounting to 20 sessions or more over the period of a school term.
- In cases where a pupil has been stopped by the truancy patrol on more than one occasion within the period of a school term, with no valid reason for not being in school. This would include pupils accompanied by parents/carers.
- Where parents/carers fail to ensure that their child is not in a public place during the first five days of exclusion from school without reasonable justification.
The school will refer pupils where there is cause for concern about unauthorised absence and/or lateness to the Attendance & Welfare Service. In most circumstances each liable parent/carer shall receive a formal warning of the possibility of a Penalty Notice being issued.
If following the issuing of the warning notice the pupil has further unauthorised absence or avoidable late marks, the parents/guardians of the pupil may each receive a Penalty Notice for £60 which must be paid within 21 days or it will increase to £120 each which must be paid within a further 7 days. Failure to pay the Penalty Notice will lead to prosecution in the Magistrates Court for the original non-attendance and a possible criminal conviction.
In those specific circumstances related to;
(i) the taking of 6 sessions (3 days) or more of unauthorised leave/holidays in term time where it can be clearly demonstrated that the parent/carer understood that permission had not/would not be given
(ii) where parents fail to ensure that their child is not in a public place during the first five days of exclusion from school without reasonable justification
the pupil will be referred immediately to the Attendance & Welfare Service for issue of the Penalty Notice.
The school and Tower Hamlets Attendance & Welfare Service will be working closely together on this as it is essential that pupils attend regularly and punctually at school to obtain the full benefit of their education. Please therefore ensure that your child attends school regularly, prepared and on time. If you are experiencing any difficulties regarding your child’s attendance or punctuality, please inform your child’s tutor, so that the school may work with you in assisting you in whatever ways possible.