Rationale

This policy reflects current guidelines in West Lothian Education Service on attendance and also reflects the Council’s Safe Arrival at School policy, copies of which are available from the Council Intranet for education (Edweb). It is designed to enable us to tackle identified attendance issues which are a barrier to effective learning.

Aims

The staff at The James Young High School believe that regular school attendance is vital to raising attainment. We are committed to providing a full education suited to the needs of each child. To this end staff are committed to the implementation of policies and procedures, which encourage students to attend school on a regular basis; and to ensuring that any problems which impede full attendance are identified and acted upon as efficiently as possible.

Principles

We expect pupils to:

  • Attend school regularly
  • Arrive on time and be appropriately prepared for the day

We expect parents/guardians to:

  • Encourage their child to attend school
  • Ensure that they contact school whenever their children are unable to attend
  • Ensure that their children arrive in school on time and that they are well prepared for the day

Parents/guardians and students can expect the following from the school:

  • Regular, efficient and accurate recording of attendance
  • Early contact when a student is absent without a reasonable explanation
  • Early contact when a student is late on a regular basis
  • Immediate and confidential action on any problem which is notified to us
  • Steps to be taken to encourage good attendance
  • A high quality of educational provision

The Role of the Tutor/Personal Support Teacher

Tutors not only play a key role in ensuring accurate recording of absence in a school but are also the first line in monitoring patterns of explained and unexplained absence in students. Findings/concerns, etc. should be passed to the Pupil Support Team for further investigation. It is only by working together effectively that we can increase rates of attendance and therefore attainment.

Updating Registers

Any notes to explain absences should be sent to appropriate Pupil Support Workers who are responsible for updating registers with the correct code.

Information from phone calls is an acceptable basis for making amendments- although staff must be vigilant in ensuring that the information is from a reliable source. If in doubt, consult the Pupils Support Team.

Advance information about holidays or other absences will be marked on the register in advance by the Pupils Support Team.

Unwell Students

Any students sent home will be marked ‘medical’ for the rest of the day.

Absent Tutors/Personal Support Teachers

Absent tutors will be covered by members of staff according to the current rota system, which normally includes staff who have no allocated tutor group. Staff on the rota will be advised by office staff around 8.30am if they are required for cover.

Lateness

All doors into the school will be locked by 8.35am. Thereafter pupils will enter by the front door.

  • Between 8.35am and 9.00am, a Pupil Support Worker will meet late pupils at the front door, record their arrival time and issue a time of arrival slip for the period 1 teacher
  • In the event of paper registers being taken, they should not be sent to the office prior to 8.45am
  • Pupils who arrive between 8.45am and 9.00am will be sent to their period 1 class and will not report to their tutor first
  • From 9.00am onwards pupils should report to the office where their arrival time will be recorded

Procedures for Pupils Persistently Late

  • For 5 or more lates in a one month period a letter of concern will be sent and timekeeping monitored for the following month
  • If the late-coming continues with a further 5 or more lates within the subsequent 4 weeks, parents/guardians will be contacted by the Pupil Support Team and disciplinary procedures will commence. Please see additional information below for strategies to combat lateness
  • Referral to the West Lothian Attendance Group will be made if there is no further improvement

Holidays During Term Time

Permission must be granted for holidays in term time. However, this will only be in exceptional circumstances. On receipt of a letter from parents indicating that they intend taking their child/children on holiday during term time, it should be sent to the Pupil Support Workers. Based on the information, the Pupil Support Manager will either grant or refuse the request and the register will be updated accordingly.

General Points

Tutors are asked to highlight concerns such as the following by e-mail to the Pupil Support Team:

  • Dissatisfaction with explanation for absence
  • A pattern of absences building up, e.g. every Friday
  • Failure to bring notes to explain absence
  • Prolonged absences
  • Suspicious phone calls/absence letters
  • Frequent lateness
  • Frequent medical absences

Role of the Class Teacher

All teaching staff must maintain accurate registers for every period they teach. The Pupil Support Team will check the anomalies report throughout the school day and track pupils who are absent from class. They will contact home if necessary and follow up on truancy and unexplained absences, passing on to the year head when required.

Role of the Pupil Support Manager

  • Manage the Attendance Policy and the Pupil Support Team
  • To ensure procedures for the recording of attendance and absences are in place and implemented
  • Monitor and review procedures regularly
  • To ensure that parents are informed of unexplained absences
  • To liaise with the Children and Young People’s Support Team and refer to AIMS(Attendance Improvement Management Service) as appropriate.
  • To ensure that the Attendance Group is supplied with accurate information; and representation is made by the Pupil Support Team or DHT Student Support at meetings
  • To issue Achievement Certificates to students who have achieved 95%-100% attendance
  • To monitor effectiveness of the Groupcall system and complete risk assessments following Groupcall updates

Role of the Depute Head Teacher (Student Support)

  • To ensure policy and procedures for the recording of attendance and absences are in place and are implemented
  • To monitor and review procedures with the Pupil Support Manager
  • To review whole school figures each term

Latecoming Strategies

Aims:

  • To reduce the number of students who are late for school/class
  • To reinforce the importance of being punctual in terms of learning
  • To reinforce the importance of punctuality in preparation for the world of work
  • To clarify the roles and responsibilities of all staff in combating lateness
  • To identify strategies to combat lateness
  • To ensure consistency of approach throughout the school