Spotlight on Attendance - A very important message for all parents

16th October 2017

Dear Parent,

Prince Albert Community Trust are working in partnership with parents to improve school attendance.   We would like to congratulate the many parents who make sure their children attend school regularly. 

It is a parent’s legal responsibility to ensure their children receive appropriate education.  Failing to send your child to school regularly without good reason is a criminal offence.  

Absence disrupts the education of the individual pupil and the whole class. Are you aware that children who do not attend regularly:

  • do not achieve well in exams
  • find it difficult to maintain friendships
  • are more likely to become involved in crime
  • miss out on opportunities in further education and the world of work?

Absence can only be authorised by the Head Teacher, within the boundaries set by the Education (Pupil Registrations) (England) Regulations 2006.  

You may be aware that Head Teachers may not authorise leave during term time except where the circumstances are exceptional.  If your child takes leave that has not been authorised by the Head Teacher, it will result in the absence being recorded as unauthorised and legal action may be taken.

Please remember that parental illness, going shopping, visiting family, truancy, not wanting to go to school, alleged bullying (speak to school immediately to resolve the issue) are not acceptable reasons to be absent. All of these will be recorded as unauthorised absence, including if your child arrives at school after the close of registration.

Family emergencies need careful consideration. It is not always appropriate or in the best interests of the child to miss school for emergencies which are being dealt with by adult family members. Being at school, friendship with peers and support from staff can provide children with stability. The routine of school offers a safe and familiar background during times of uncertainty.

 

Legal action that may be taken include:

  • Issuing penalty notices: Each parent receives a penalty notice for each child who has unauthorised absence. The penalty is £60 or £120 depending on how soon payment is made.  So, if there are two parents and two children the total penalties could be up to £480. Failure to pay may result in prosecution.
  • Taking parents to court for persistent unauthorised absence: Education Act 1996 Section 444(1A) - court can fine each parent up to £2,500 per child, order payment of the prosecution costs, impose a Parenting Order and/or sentence you to a period of imprisonment of up to 3 months.
  • Taking parents to court for unauthorised absence: Education Act 1996 Section 444(1) - court can fine each parent up to £1000 per child, order payment of prosecution costs and/or impose a Parenting Order. 

Being taken to court could result in you having a criminal record.

Attendance during one school year

equals this number of days absent

which is approximately this many weeks absent

which means this number of lessons missed

90%

19 days

4 weeks

100 lessons

80%

38 days

8 weeks

200 lessons

70%

57 days

11.5 weeks

290 lessons

 

Frequent absence can add up to a considerable amount of lost learning and can seriously disadvantage your child in adult life. 

 

If your child’s level of absence is of serious concern you will receive another letter advising you about improving attendance.   After this, any further unauthorised absence may result in the School and the Local Authority taking legal action. 

Again, we would like to thank those parents who make sure their child is attending school regularly and are therefore benefiting fully from their educational opportunity. 

  

Yours sincerely,

Mr S. Gulzar (CEO)                                                
Executive Head Teacher