There is a clear link between poor attendance at school and lower academic achievement. Regular attendance and punctuality is important to young people's future. Children who frequently miss school often fall behind with their work because they fail to learn the basics which are built upon later.
New regulations state that Head teachers may refuse any leave of absence during term time unless there are "exceptional circumstances". Therefore, to get the very best from educational opportunities, children should only be absent from school for the following reasons.
Illness: For absences of up to 7 days, foster carers or the child's primary carer must contact the school by telephone on the first day and confirm by letter on the child's return. Longer absences should be supported by a GP sickness certificate. Social Workers should be informed of the absence and the reasons. If the child has been absent from school for more than 10 days, the Social Worker should talk to carers, the school and the child, and any other relevant person to understand:
- The reason for the absence,
- How to ensure the child returns to school or education,
- How the child can be helped to catch up on what they have missed.
Medical Appointments: Absence can be authorised by the school for absence for medical or dental appointment during the school day however every effort must be made to try to make these appointments outside of school time.
Education off Site: For pupils attending alternative education provision, the originating school will remain responsible for the attendance of the child. They will be registered as attending education elsewhere. Examples of this are: part-time attendance at a Pupil Referral Unit or Special School, work experience or tuition. In the case of an absence, the carer must inform the alternative provider on the first day of absence giving the reason.
LAC reviews and meetings: These will normally be authorised by the school, although it is expected that these will take place outside school hours wherever possible.
Other reasons for authorised absence: Religious holidays, interviews, study leave (up to 15 days arranged by the school to prepare for Year 11 exams), approved educational activities (e.g. school trips), family bereavement, family contact arrangements that cannot be arranged outside school time.
Useful resources and further guidance
- Information regarding absences from school (NYCC)
- Children Missing Education - Statutory guidance for local authorities (GOV.UK)
- Improving Attendance and Reducing Exclusions (Achievement for All)