In light of government changes regarding school attendance and requests for leave of absence during term time I would like to clarify the responsibilities of parents and carers regarding their child’s attendance at school.
The law states all children of compulsory school age (5-16years), who are registered with a school, must receive full time education.
It is the parents’/carers’ legal responsibility to ensure their child attends school every day on time.
If you or your child is experiencing problems that prevent regular school attendance it is vital to contact the school as soon as possible.
School will be happy to help with any issues that might be interfering with your child’s education.
At Greenfields Primary the school day begins at 8.50am – children should be in class, ready to learn by that time. The school gates open at 8.40am.
The national average for children’s annual attendance is 96% - anything below this is cause for concern. There is clear evidence that any absence can and will have an impact on a child’s achievement, it is therefore important that schools maintain good attendance levels and that parents/carers support this by ensuring their children attend school regularly.
As of September 2013, Greenfields Primary and the Local Authority have decided they will issue warnings and Fixed Penalty Notices under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 to parents/carers for failing to ensure the regular school attendance of their child.
Whilst parents/carers can provide explanations for absences, it is at the school’s discretion as to whether this absence will be authorised or unauthorised.
The change in Government legislation means that family holidays are no longer authorised absences. Leave of absence during term time will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances. A family holiday taken in term time will result in a warning and Fixed Penalty Notice being issued. Other criteria include a high number of unauthorised absences within an academic year.
A Fixed Penalty Notice results in -
• A cost of £60 per parent/carer for each child. This will require payment being made to the Local Authority within 21 days.
• The cost increases to £120 per parent/carer for each child if payment is not received within 28 days.
• If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 28 day period , the Local
Authority will instigate Court Proceedings and the outcome of a prosecution could be up to £1,000 per parent/carer.
Further advice and guidance on this matter can be located through the Department of Education website entitled “Advice on school attendance”.
I am confident we all want the best possible outcome for the children in our school and as such am sure we will continue to work together, parents/carers and staff, to improve attendance, ensuring our children receive the maximum benefit from their education and achieve their full potential.