At Cwmbach we want the best for all the children in our care and we would like to start the new year by reminding you of the importance of good attendance at school. The significance of improving attendance is evidenced through the School Improvement Plan where it forms a key focus for this academic year.
Following Local Authority guidance and the full support of the Governing Body, Cwmbach Community Primary School adopts a firm approach to requests for absence in term time. This approach has resulted in improvements in attainment levels and school attendance rates across Rhondda Cynon Taf. Whilst there are generous school holiday periods, there are also three ‘exceptional’ circumstances criteria:
• Families of serving armed forces personnel
• Parent or child experiencing a life limiting illness (advice is sought from the Local Authority in this instance)
• Families that have suffered an acute trauma
Each absence request received at school is considered on its own merit and in line with this and the school’s Attendance Policy. The school considers continuity of learning and takes into account relevant factors (though not exhaustively) such as:
• Overall attendance pattern of the pupil
• Length and purpose of the absence
• The time of year proposed for the trip
• If the trip falls on WG assessment week
• Duration of the holiday request
Good attendance is above 95% and we expect this to be the minimum level for all children at Cwmbach. Last year we did not hit our target and so it is more important than ever that we work hard to improve our attendance. As a school, we are open for 190 days a year; this leaves 175 days for holidays, rest and non-urgent appointments.
The importance of regular attendance
There are many good reasons for encouraging regular school attendance which has been well researched and documented. For pupils the benefits include:
· Keeping up with their school work
· Ensure they meet their expected progress
· Develop better personal and social skills
· Learn habits needed for adult life e.g. punctuality and time management
Combined with benefits for school, staff and the wider community regular attendance at school has far reaching advantages for all parties concerned.
Research shows a close link between attendance at school and a child’s achievement. Being late adds up to a loss of learning. If a pupil arrives after registration has closed the absence will be recorded as unauthorised for that session.
Minutes late per day
Equivalent of missing:
5 Minutes - 3.4 school days a year
10 Minutes - 6.9 school days a year
15 Minutes - 10.3 school days a year
20 Minutes - 13.8 school days a year
30 Minutes - 20.7 school days a year
Where a pupil is absent due to sickness and is genuinely unable to attend school, then the school, after being informed, may authorise a child’s absence. It is important to keep the school informed if your child is going to be absent at the start of the day. The school will have a clear process for you to follow. In law only a headteacher can authorise a pupil’s absence, and may require additional evidence such as a letter from your GP.
The law states that parent/carer(s) must ensure that their child regularly attends the school where they are registered. With this in mind, the school governors have agreed that from September ALL holiday absences will be unauthorised. This means that any child who is taken out of school during term time to go on holiday will receive an unauthorised absence in the register from their class teacher.
Actions due to poor attendance
Regular attendance is required by law and Wales is introducing Fixed Penalty Notice and Fines from September 2014 for parents who have children with more than 5 days of unauthorised absence.
A School Attendance FPN is £60 if paid within 28 days of receipt of the notice and rises to £120if paid after 28 days but within 42 days of receipt. If the FPN is not paid in full by the end of 42 days RCT may prosecute parents/carers in the usual way using section 444(1) and (1A) of the Education Act 1996
Fixed Penalty Notices may be considered appropriate when:
· At least 10 sessions (5 school days) are lost due to unauthorised absence during the current term. These do not need to be consecutive;
· Unauthorised absences of at least 10 sessions (5 school days) due to holidays in term time or delayed return from extended holidays; or
· Persistent late arrival at school, i.e. after the register has closed, in the current term. “Persistent” means at least 10 sessions of late arrival;
· Truancy, where the child has come to the attention of the Police or public during the school hours for being absent from school, without an acceptable reason.
To promote good attendance in school we offer our pupils a number of incentives. We are currently redeveloping our attendance prizes and will be working with the school council to identify our future rewards.
We all need to work together to raise levels of attendance at school and I hope that you will support us in our drive to increase the attendance of all children at Cwmbach.
New Holiday / Out of School Request Form
Please think carefully about taking your child out of school during term time, however, if you require a holiday form or leave of absence form then they are available from the school office or download from the link below.