At Mabel Prichard School we recognise the importance of consistency if learning is to be effective. Consequently, it is our policy to encourage full attendance, if possible, for all pupils and to act early in order to address patterns of absence. We know that attendance rates for special schools are generally below those of mainstream schools because of the complex nature of some of our pupils’ special needs including associated medical needs. As a result of this, some of our pupils are more prone to illness and hospitalisation. We also fully understand the value of close home-school partnership. It is these three main factors which underpin the school’s policy towards attendance.
The school will:
- Take an Attendance Register at the beginning of each morning (any amendments for the afternoon session will also be recorded) and will indicate whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised. This will be done by using the agreed Oxfordshire coding system.
Authorised absence would usually be:
- when a pupil is prevented from attending by sickness or any unavoidable cause (e.g. – when the school transport does not run).
- absence exclusively set apart for religious observance by the persuasion to which the pupil’s parents belong.
- attending an approved off-site educational activity
- Follow up any absences to ascertain the reason, ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary, identify whether the absence is approved or not and identify the correct attendance code to use.
- Fulfil our obligations to publish data on absence. However, as individual pupils could be identified in this data, these requirements will be sensibly and sensitively applied by only publishing figures for the whole school and not individual year groups.
- Ensure that teachers discuss any concerns about a pupil’s attendance rate with the senior leadership team so that, if necessary, appropriate action can be taken. The Special School Nurse based on the school site supports us in this aspect of our work.
We ask parents to :
- Remember that registration time at school is between 8.50 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. and that pupils arriving after this time will be registered as late.
- Let us know immediately, either by phone or email, if their child is sick so that their absence is not recorded as unauthorised.
- Avoid, where possible, arranging medical and similar appointments for their child during school hours.
- Amendments to the registration regulations, which came into force on 1st September 2013, remove references to family holidays and extended leave as well as the threshold of ten school ATTENDANCE days. The amendments make it clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. The school considers each application for term-time absence individually, taking into account the specific facts, circumstances and relevant context behind the request. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the headteacher’s discretion.
Reviewed by: Lucy Wawrzyniak September 2022