Young children in schools have a habit of picking up all sorts of colds and viruses, which is a normal part of growing up. Where a child has been sick (vomited or diarrhoea) we ask that they are kept off school for 48 hours. However, if they simply have a cold or injury which could be managed in school then we encourage parents to send their child into school.
The vast majority of our children work extremely hard to attend school everyday and we would like to thank all parents for this - it is the single most important factor that leads to educational success. But together, we can ensure that all children attend school regularly and that no child fails academically from missing too much school.
When a child’s attendance drops below 90%, it is deemed to be low and is a problem that the school is legally obliged to act to improve. At this point, parents are invited to a formal ‘School Attendance Meeting’ where attendance issues are discussed. For example, it could be the case that a child has an ongoing medical condition and the school would then seek to work with parents and the school nurse to draw up a care plan. However, if there is no underlying reason, then at this point all subsequent absences are marked as ‘unauthorised’ unless a doctor’s note is provided.
Holiday requests during term time.
During this academic year (particularly in Term 6) we received a number of requests from parents for permission to take their son/daughter out of school on a family holiday during term time. These requests were refused as a direct result to changes in the legislation.
New government guidelines, which came into effect on 1st September 2013, prevent Headteachers from granting any leave of absence during term time, unless there are exceptional circumstances. A family holiday during term time does not fall into the category of “exceptional circumstances” and therefore such requests for leave of absence have been refused.
If parents chose to ignore or disregard our decision then such absences will be recorded as unauthorised and South Gloucestershire Council will be advised of the issue and may be requested to issue Penalty Notices in line with their policy.
A fixed penalty notice will be issued and a £60 fine must be paid within 21 days. Failure to pay the fine within the timescale will result in the fine being doubled to £120 which will then need to be paid within 28 days of the original fine being issued. If a fine remains unpaid after 28 days, parents may face legal action. If found guilty, parents will receive a criminal record and could be fined up to £1000.
I realise that the vast majority of parents do not take family holidays in term time as they recognise the significant impact this can have on their son/daughter’s education. We hope that you will continue to support us in reducing the amount of school missed due to holidays, by not planning a family holiday during term time.
More information on attendance can be found in the 'Pupil Attendance' section of the website under 'About Us - Key Information'