By Urs Cunningham | Posted: Thursday May 6, 2021
Attendance for the first term of the school year has been compiled and analysed, and we will be sending out the first of our 2021 attendance communications shortly.
Children who attend school consistently are likely to stay at school longer and live more successful lives. Of particular interest is the link between attendance in the first two years at school and longevity at school. What this suggests is that a pattern of attendance develops very early in school life and does not easily change. Children whose attendance is lower are more likely to leave school before achieving the necessary qualifications for success.
The Board of Trustees is expected to take all reasonable steps to ensure that students do attend school whenever it is open. The Education Act 1989 requires all children enrolled at a school to attend school whenever that school is open unless they have a justified reason not to attend; just giving a reason does not necessarily justify an absence.
However, of greater concern than the legal requirements is the long term impact on their life-chances as a result of students developing problematic attendance patterns. A pattern that concerns us, for example, is a student whose overall attendance for any year never reaches above 90%; the child who is often absent for a day here or there - especially on Mondays or Fridays. These students may have all explained absences, but this does not mean they are really justified. These students are likely to develop big gaps in their learning because by the end of year 8 they will have missed almost a year of school, and they will not have learned to persevere with their learning because their regular absences mean they often lose momentum. Please notice your child's attendance level and be aware of whether he/she is developing a problematic attendance pattern. It can happen without you realising it. On your child's main learning page on Hero, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see an overview of your child's attendance for terms 1 and 2 so far this year. It is a good idea to look at this now and again, so that you can keep an overview of your child's attendance - a pattern of absence can creep up on you without you noticing.
As a result of the importance of good attendance, we have set a school target attendance level of 96%.
We send out communications about attendance each term to notify parents of any students whose attendance levels or levels of lateness are of concern, that is if they have 90% absence level or below, or 10% lateness or more. This is done not to pass judgement, but to ensure that parents are informed of the absence/lateness rates of their child/ren; this way parents can make informed decisions about their child/ren's attendance. This information will be sent out at the start of Terms 2 and 3, and part way through Term 4. The communications come from our admin team rather than from individual teachers, as it is our admin and leadership team who complete tracking of overall attendance across the school. Please note that if you received communications in previous terms about your child's attendance or lateness, and these levels have since improved, we will not send further communication, even if your child's attendance is still low. We are satisfied if we can see that steps are being taken to increase attendance.
We do appreciate that in the first term of the year it is easy for a child's attendance percentage to drop, and a few absences here and there can quickly mount up. We also understand that there were a number of bugs and sicknesses around during the previous term, and people were very conscious of keeping their children away from school if they showed any signs of sickness. However, we will still inform parents of a child's attendance rate if it is at 90% or below for the school year so far, so that parents are fully informed and aware.
Attendance communications will be sent out in the next few days to parents of students showing concerning attendance or punctuality levels. In one of our following school digests we will also send out some summary information about our attendance rates across the school for term 1. If you would like to discuss your child's attendance further, or you would like support from school with this, please contact Urs Cunningham ([email protected]).
The Amesbury team