Your child’s school attendance is extremely important; you can find information on guidelines and procedures here.
St Matthew’s High School helps pupils to establish patterns of regular and punctual attendance. We ensure that responsibilities regarding attendance are made clear to parents and pupils. We make it clear that unauthorised absence is not tolerated.
We expect parents to telephone to tell us if their child is ill on the first day of absence, and then to write a short note to the Form Tutor when the pupil returns to school.
Absence from school during term time will only be authorised if there are exceptional personal circumstances.
We closely monitor the attendance of our pupils and identify any attendance concerns. Early intervention strategies are in place using appropriate measures to resolve attendance issues as soon as they arise. We are aware that absences may indicate a problem at school, home or both and act promptly to minimise impact on learning.
Attendance is directly linked to progress with learning. Students are required to attend school for 190 days each year. If students do not attend school every day, they are compromising their education and potential achievement.
St Matthew’s has a target that students should be at school at least 97% of this time, but even this means missing 1 week, which is 25 lessons of School Absence.
All pupils ensure that:
- They attend school on a regular basis unless they are ill, or have other authorised reasons for not attending school.
All parents ensure that they:
- Talk to their child about school and what goes on there. Take a positive interest in their child’s work and educational progress
- Instil the value of education and regular school attendance within the home environment
- Encourage their child to look to the future and have aspirations
- Contact the school if their child is absent to let them know the reason why and the expected date of return. Follow this up with a note where possible.
- Try to avoid unnecessary absences. Wherever possible make appointments for the doctor, dentist etc. outside of school hours and if this is not possible minimise the time their child is absent from school.
- Ask the school for help if their child is experiencing difficulties
- Inform the school of any change in circumstances that may impact on their child’s attendance
- Support the school; take every opportunity to get involved in their child’s education, form a positive relationship with school and acknowledge the importance of children receiving the same messages from both school and home
- Encourage routine at home, for example, bed times, homework, preparing school bag and uniform the evening before
- Not keep their child off school to go shopping, to help at home or to look after other members of the family
If your child is going to be absent from school, then you must inform the school and follow the correct procedures, below.
- All absences must be reported before 10am each day. (The absence line is automated and available 24 hours a day 0161 681 6178). Illness is authorised at the discretion of the school.
- If you know your child is going to be absent please let us know in advance. Contact the Attendance Officer on 0161 681 6178.
- You can also use the study bugs link on the website to report an absence
- Written notification giving details of absence can be handed in to your form tutor or Student Services on return to school.
Returning to School
On return to school following 5 or more days of absence, medical evidence must be handed in at Student Services. If evidence is not received after one week, the period of absence will not be authorised.
Achievement predicted by teaching staff is based on an expected attendance level of 97%. Students with poor attendance rarely achieve their potential grades.
Absence of 5 or more days must be supported by medical evidence or Home Visit.
Absence of 5 or more days without supporting medical evidence will not be authorised.
Unauthorised Absence may then be subject to a Penalty Notice from the Local Authority.
We operate a ‘1st Day Calling’ system in order to advise and support parents/students during periods of illness.
Students who accumulate 3 or more episodes of illness, of any length, in any half term, may be asked to provide medical evidence for ALL subsequent absences.
A ‘Return to School’ meeting may be arranged in order to ensure your child is aware of the support available in school to help them reduce the impact absence can have on their learning.
Examples of Authorised Absence
- Hospital or Orthodontist appointment (evidence required).
- College/Connexions/Employment Interview (evidence required).
- Funeral (1 day only).
- Reported Illness of less than 4 days (unless medical evidence has been requested).
- Illness of 5 or more days WITH medical evidence or Home Visit.
- Emergency Doctor or Dental appointments (evidence required) Routine appointments should be made outside of school hours.
Examples of Unauthorised Absence
- Leave of Absence NOT approved by school.
- Absence NOT reported on the day or supported by written explanation upon return to school.
- Absence of 5 or more days WITHOUT medical evidence.
- Routine Doctor/Dental appointments.
- Arriving late after registers have closed.
- Truancy (both internal & external).
Requests for Leave of Absence – Changes to the law
From 1st September 2013, the law gives no entitlement to parents to take their child on holiday during term time. Any activity, holiday or event should be arranged during the 13 weeks of school closure. Leave of absence will have a detrimental impact on your child’s educational achievement.
If leave of absence is taken during term-time parent/carers will receive a Penalty Notice from the Local Authority for taking a child out of school without the school’s permission. From 1st September 2013 Penalty Notices cost £60 per child, per parent if paid within 21 days increasing to £120 per child, per parent if paid between 22 and 28 days.
If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact the School.
Examples of Medical Evidence
- Medical Appointment Card confirming attendance.
- Medical cards are available to download here
- Medical Appointment Letter.
- Copy of Prescription showing name and date.
- Prescribed medication with Pharmacist label showing name and date.
- Unfit for School declaration from GP.
- Hospital discharge letter.
A home visit may be required if medical evidence is unavailable for absence of more than 3 days. Authorisation of absence will then be at the discretion of the visiting officer.
Absence of 5 or more days may also be followed up with a Home Visit in order to ensure the safeguarding of children absent from school.
Government Announces Changes to the Definition of Persistent Absence
In September 2015 we were informed by the Local Authority that the Department for Education (DfE) had announced that any student whose attendance falls below 90% from September 2015 will be classed as a Persistently Absent student. Therefore, if a student misses 19 or more days over an academic year they will be classed as Persistently Absent.
The DfE say…
“If over 5 academic years a pupil has attendance of 90% the child will miss a half of a school year, that’s a lot of lost education.
Pupils taking unauthorised leave of absence early in the year could be categorised as persistently absent well into half term five but have perfect attendance from their return date onwards.
As parents play an essential role in supporting attendance the changes to persistent absence need to be shared with them”
The DfE also informed schools that this information must be placed on school websites and published in newsletters or a letter.
In order to ensure parent/carers are fully informed we will issue regular updates via text messages, letters or telephone calls should attendance fall below 90% at key points in the school year.
Support is Available
Arrangements can be made to help and support your child remain in school during periods of illness, injury or other circumstances that are affecting their attendance. If you are experiencing any difficulties and would like to discuss the support options available, please contact the Attendance Officer.