Information about school attendance
By law your child must attend school regularly and punctually. Your child should only miss school if he/she is ill or unable to attend for some other unavoidable reason.
If your child is absent and school either does not receive an explanation from you, or considers the explanation unsatisfactory, it will record your child’s absence as ‘unauthorised’, that is, as truancy.
Most absences for acceptable reasons will be authorised by your child’s school:
- unavoidable medical or dental appointments (if possible, arrange these for after school or during school holidays)
- days of religious observance
We are no longer able to authorise ten days holiday. Headteachers are only able to authorise leave in exceptional circumstances. The information sheet below explains what constitutes exceptional leave. If you require leave in exceptional circumstances please request a form from the school office.
At Townley we have a local authority Education Welfare Officer who helps us manage attendance. They can be contacted through the school office.
If your child’s attendance is unsatisfactory and not improving despite support from the school, the school will make a referral to the local authority. You may be invited to attend a PACE meeting (Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984) or may proceed straight to penalty notice fine or prosecution.
Cambridgeshire is working with schools to secure an early sustained improvement in attendance and has introduced a fast track direct referral process for the application of Penalty Notices. The fast track approach seeks to act quickly in cases of unauthorised absence. Cambridgeshire County Councils Penalty Notice Code of Conduct now states that there must be at least 8 unauthorised sessions over an 8 week period with all absences recorded as unauthorised or 90% and below mostly unauthorised over a longer period for the Penalty Notice to be issued together with confirmation of school’s efforts to intervene early to support improvement.
Your rights and responsibilities
- You have a legal duty to ensure that your child receives an appropriate education.
- If your child is registered at a school, you must ensure that they attend.
What you can do
Make sure your child arrives at school on time. This encourages habits of good timekeeping and lessens any possible classroom disruption. If your child arrives after the register has closed without a good reason, this will be recorded as an ‘unauthorised’ absence for that session, our register closes at 9.25am.
If your child has to miss school, it is vital that you let the school know why, by 9.30am on the first morning of the absence. If we have not heard from you our absence procedures are that we will call all the emergency contacts for your child and if necessary we will visit your home. If we are unable to make contact with you we will ask the police to carry out a 'Live and Well' check.
If you know or think that your child is having difficulties attending school, you should contact the school. It is better to do this sooner rather than later, as most problems can be dealt with very quickly.