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Attendance Policy Years 7 to 11

Author: Emma Silvestri-Fox
Reviewed By: Simon Milner
Date: January 2022
To be Reviewed: January 2024

Principles:

One of Jersey College for Girls’ core values is ‘belong’: we aim to create an inclusive and welcoming environment which students want to attend and in which they want to learn. We also aim to support students and families in removing barriers to achieving good attendance wherever possible.

We recognise that 100% attendance will not always be possible. Students may sometimes be unwell, and there may also be occasions where authorised absences are appropriate, for example for important religious or cultural observations. The British Psychological Association notes that ‘the conclusion that a student cannot afford to miss even a few days at school without a significantly detrimental effect appears to be based on unsubstantiated beliefs’(School attendance, exclusion and persistent absence, 2017).

However, they go on to note that ‘persistent absence from school – defined in 2015 as less than 90 per cent attendance – incurs costs: Economic, social and psychological, for the children and young people involved, for their communities and for society.’

Even 90% attendance entails significant learning loss: ‘Achieving 90 per cent in an exam or test is a fantastic result but if your child is at school for only 90 per cent of the school year then they will have missed 19 days - almost four whole weeks of school.’(https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/school-attendance-and-absence)

As such, we believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that students make the best progress possible and we recognise that attendance is crucial to this. For a child to reach their full educational potential, a high level of school attendance is essential.

Jersey College for Girls, working together with parents and in partnership with other professionals when needed, encourages all students to achieve excellent levels of attendance and punctuality.

Aims / Objectives

  • To promote and improve student attendance and punctuality and encourage students and parents to realise the importance of good attendance and punctuality, aiming for a target of 96% for all students.
  • To work with students, families and other professionals to remove barriers to attendance wherever possible.
  • To give a high priority to attendance and punctuality amongst all stakeholders, in acknowledgement of the role attendance plays in the safeguarding of our students.
  • To ensure that statutory requirements, including the proper maintenance of registers and the submission of attendance data, are met.
  • To allow effective use of attendance data in the College.
  • To give clear guidance on expectations and procedures regarding attendance and punctuality and the taking of registers to all stakeholders.
  • To refer to the Education Welfare Officer as part of the graduated approach in response to attendance concerns.


Supporting cases of persistent non-attendance  

‘Any single case of persistent non-attendance might include elements of one or more of the following factor-categories of causation.

  1. Emotionally-based: where there are mental health issues affecting the student; or other family members
  2. Physical health related: ranging from unusually frequent coughs and colds to chronic conditions that necessitate episodic in-patient treatment
  3. Attitudinal/systemic: absenteeism that becomes significant when it is habitual or too frequently a pragmatic solution, e.g. where the value of 100 per cent school attendance is not supported by the value system of a student, their family or the student’s peer culture.
  4. School behaviour-related: e.g. exclusion, managed moves, alternative provision and part-time timetables. ‘

(Adapted from School attendance, exclusion and persistent absence, 2017)

The causes of persistent non-attendance are complex, individual and dynamic. As such, students experiencing persistent non-attendance may benefit from the support of various professionals including the following:

  • Form Tutor and Head of School
  • School-based counsellor
  • School Nurse
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Education Welfare Office
  • CAMHS
  • Family Partnership Worker (through Early Help process)


Procedures

Students should be encouraged to take responsibility for:

  • Maximising their own attendance (as per Home School Agreement
  • Being present at all lessons.
  • Being punctual to all lessons.
  • Signing in at the office should they arrive at school late (after registration has been taken in form time / a lesson) and stating the reason why they are late.
  • Seeking proper permission in order to leave the premises during the school day and signing out at the office if they leave the premises.
  • Giving all of their teachers notice and seeking work for any planned absence.
  • Asking their teachers for missed work and catching up after any absence.
  • Reminding parents to communicate with the office should they be unable to attend.
  • Going to the College office if they feel unwell during the school day; the Office will contact home in the event of students needing to be collected to go home, students should not call their parents asking to be collected during the school day.

 

Parents have responsibility for:

  • Encouraging their children to maximise their attendance and arrive at school punctually (as per Home School Agreement) (Appendix 1).
  • Arranging family holidays during the school holidays in order to avoid absence.
  • Seeking permission in writing from the Principal well in advance (at least 7 days) for any planned absence.
  • Trying, wherever possible, to make medical (or similar) appointments for their child outside school time. If appointments are absolutely necessary, ensuring that an email requesting absence is submitted in advance.
  • Monitoring their child's attendance via the SIMS ParentApp and checking data provided in full reports annually.
  • Negotiating an appropriate education plan with the College in the event of long-term absence.
  • Meeting their legal obligation of ensuring that their child attends school on a regular and full-time basis.
  • Ensuring that should their child be considered to be too ill to remain in school during the school day, either they or an appropriate adult collects their daughter from reception.
  • Immediately informing the College by telephone or email if their child is unable to attend school and giving a reason (reasons which qualify for authorised absence are specified in Appendix 4).
  • Requesting a note from any GP or consultant appointments relating to school absence and passing this to the Assistant to Head of School for attendance records.
  • Responding to any punctuality and attendance letters using the appropriate reply slip in a timely manner.

 

Subject Teachers have responsibility for:

  • Being aware of their legal obligation to complete accurate registers (See Appendix 3).
  • Keeping a head count of all students in class so that in the event of a fire drill or alarm, teacher knows how many students should be at assembly point.
  • Completing a registration for each lesson, at the start of the lesson, and submitting it on SIMS employing the codes specified in Appendix 4.
  • Submitting register immediately should you receive a reminder from Office staff.
  • Contacting the office as soon as possible, using the absence email address, should a student not arrive for any session after period 1, without a pre-entered code appearing in the register.
  • Amending registers when a student arrives late (changing ‘N’s to ‘L’s).
  • Ensuring lessons are sufficiently stimulating and useful from the moment they start in order to promote punctuality and attendance.
  • Promoting good attendance within their lessons and praising students for their good attendance.
  • Monitoring attendance in their lessons and referring any concerns regarding attendance or punctuality to their Head of Department and the student’s tutor.
  • Dealing with individual students regarding punctuality to their lessons (refer to Improving Behaviour Policy)
  • Assisting students to keep up-to-date with work should they need to miss or have missed lessons.


Heads of Department have responsibility for:

  • Monitoring attendance in their department
  • Checking if there are any patterns of attendance or punctuality which relate to their subject or a particular subject teacher specifically (e.g. a student who is frequently absent for the same lesson each week)
  • Supporting subject teachers with any issues related to attendance and punctuality.
  • Informing College Business Manager of any visits or activities which might require registers to be completed by the office.
  • Informing a student’s tutor regarding any concerns relating to attendance or punctuality in the department.


Tutors have responsibility for:

  • Promoting good attendance and punctuality amongst their tutees.
  • Ensuring that registration (which acts as morning roll call) is complete by 8.35am.
  • Ensuring that afternoon registration (which also acts as afternoon roll call) is completed by 2.25pm.
  • Completing afternoon roll call registration on all days using the procedures in place (including assembly day and House day)
  • Monitoring the attendance and punctuality of students in their tutor group.
  • Discussing attendance and punctuality in academic mentoring sessions either to praise or promote improvement and to link this with academic achievement.
  • Liaising with subject teachers, Heads of Department and Head of School regarding a student’s attendance and punctuality.
  • Contacting parents, in the first instance, should there be any concerns regarding a student’s attendance and punctuality, using the suggested email template provided by Heads of School: https://jerseyedu.sharepoint.com/:w:/s/JCG/JCGStaff/EY29kjowu0RCoXynFIOnMrsB3zWJiV9jzQe-Boc3NSsr4w?e=71d6mN (Please see Appendix 2)
  • Informing office of any communication from parents regarding absence of a student.

 

Heads of School and Assistants to Heads of School have responsibility for:

  • Communicating to parents via Parent Information Evenings the College’s graduated approach to attendance (Appendix 6).
  • Checking monthly statistics relating to attendance (where attendance is below 95%), considering amount of absence and any patterns of absence.
  • Discussing concerns with Assistant Head Teacher (AHT) Student Progress and Welfare in weekly meeting and contacting parents, using standard letter or other appropriate channels.
  • Responding to individual cases, as appropriate, according to the level of absence, previous communication and individual circumstances.
  • Recording the concerns and actions on the attendance spreadsheet in the staff area.
  • Supporting tutors and subject teachers in ensuring that students attend lessons and arrive punctually.
  • Meeting on a termly basis with the AHT Student Progress and Welfare and Education Welfare Officer to discuss attendance and punctuality.
  • Communicating to parents in writing (using letter similar to this example and enclosing up-to-date attendance statistics sheet - see Appendix 5) when there are concerns about attendance / punctuality.
  • Communicating with parents to praise student if attendance improves significantly.
  • Communicating with AHT for Student Progress and Welfare when there is a concern regarding attendance and punctuality.
  • Setting up a meeting with parents and student to discuss an attendance plan / punctuality plan if this action is considered necessary.
  • Liaising with parents and negotiating an education plan in the event of long-term absence.
  • Arranging a home visit, completing EBNA (emotionally based non-attendance) paperwork and strengths and difficulties questionnaires with students and parents as appropriate to inform a potential referral to the EWO.
  • Liaising with Education Welfare Officer where there is a serious concern in the Lower or Upper School, and we are not satisfied with the results of our own action.
  • Informing staff in briefings of actions and students to monitor in relation to attendance and punctuality.


Administration support (AS) and Assistants to Heads of School (AHOS) have responsibility for:

  • Running an AM register report by 9am and subsequently following up any incomplete registers. (AS)
  • Ensuring that should a student (Y7-11) be absent without a reason provided, parents are contacted (preferably by 10am on the same morning) in order to determine the reason for the absence. (AS)
  • Managing the InVentry electronic sign in system, including supervising students who sign in late. (AS)
  • Completing roll calls with appropriate codes (see Appendix 4) should a student be absent. (AS and AHOS)
  • Liaising with Heads of Department regarding any visits or activities that may require the office to complete registers. (AS and AHOS)
  • Liaising with the examinations officer regarding students who are involved in examinations and completing registers as appropriate. (AS and AHOS)
  • Checking that lesson by lesson registers are completed by all staff. (AS and AHOS)
  • Sending reminders to staff when lesson-by-lesson registers have not been submitted by the next morning. (AS and AHOS)
  • Informing AHT Student Progress and Welfare if any members of staff persistently fail to submit registers. (AS and AHOS)
  • Including accurate attendance figures on student summer reports sent to parents of students in Lower and Upper Schools. (AS and AHOS)
  • Collating accurate attendance statistics for Heads of School on a monthly basis. (AHOS)
  • Collating accurate attendance statistics for Heads of School and AHT Student Progress and Welfare when required. (AHOS)


Assistant Headteacher Student Progress and Welfare has responsibility for:

  • Communicating and promoting the importance of good attendance and its link with good academic progress throughout the school.
  • Supporting Heads of School in ensuring that good attendance and punctuality is promoted throughout the school.
  • Meeting with Heads of School in order to monitor their analysis of attendance and discuss any concerns.
  • Supporting and challenging staff who persistently fail to submit registers or submit inaccurate registers and referring these cases to the Principal should there be no improvement.
  • Communicating serious concerns relating to student attendance to Vice Principal and Principal.
  • Meeting on a termly basis with the Education Welfare Officer to discuss attendance and punctuality.
  • Making initial contact with the Education Welfare Officer to report cases of serious concern and liaising with Education Welfare Officer as required.
  • Monitoring the attendance statistics provided by the Assistant Heads of School and EWO.
  • Providing statistics to Principal as required by Education.
  • Reviewing and updating this policy document.

 

Principal has responsibility for:

  • Authorising or not authorising, at his discretion, any requests for absence.
  • Monitoring attendance in the school.
  • Reporting attendance statistics at each Governors’ Meeting.
  • Providing the annual attendance return required to Education.


Relationship to other policies

External Policies 

  • Data Protection

Internal Policies :

Appendix 1 – suggested email from tutor to parent for consecutive 3 days or more of absence

Dear

I’m aware that NAME has been quite unwell this week. I just wanted to make contact to find out how she is and to ask if there is anything I can do to reassure her until she is well enough to return to school? Although her priority must, of course, be getting better some students worry about missing work and about the quantity of work that needs to be caught up. To put NAME's mind at ease I can arrange to collate work for her in her absence, if she would like, and work with her to create a ‘catch up timetable’ when she returns. If it looks as though NAME may be absent for longer, please could I ask that you send us a doctor’s note for our files.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,


Tutor

Appendix 2 – Extract from Fire Advice issued by Jeremy Harris and Roy Bedson, Education Policy in relation to Fire Safety.

  • In addition to School Secretary keeping up-to-date registers in the School Office, all class teachers should be responsible for keeping a head count of all students, so that in the event of a fire drill or alarm, all teachers know how many students should be at the assembly point and this head count can be compared with the School Secretary’s records
  • There should also be another person allocated to obtain the records if the School Secretary is temporarily unavailable for any reason
  • Schools may have their own procedures for maintaining a written register (e.g. keeping an up-to-date printout of names with the School Secretary)


Our interpretation:

  • In the event of a full school evacuation for fire or any other reason, the responsible person or their delegate in the Admin Office will take the InVentry and office mobile device with them to the assembly point. InVentry is updated with visitor information and sign-out records of students and staff. The office mobile device will allow access to SIMS and students records, including attendance records.
  • All class teachers are be responsible for keeping a head count of all students, so that in the event of a drill or alarm, all teachers know how many students should be at the assembly point. Teachers should take their school mobile devices with them as the mobile device will allow access to SIMS and students records, including attendance records.

Appendix 3 – Registration guidance and codes

Registration guidance

Unless an alternative symbol has been entered by the office and you follow it, please only use the symbols as per below. Please don’t worry about the ‘P’, ‘V’ etc. on the SIMS screen.

AM Registration 8.25am and Period 1

Scenario

Action

Student is present

/

Student is absent and office have pre-entered a symbol

Submit register with the pre-entered symbol

Student is absent

N

Student arrives late (8.25 or after register has been submitted)

Send to the office to sign in

Student has music/exam/sport/ other activity in school but no symbol entered by office

N


Period 2 onwards

Scenario

Action

Student is present

/

Student is absent and office have pre-entered a symbol

Submit register with the pre-entered symbol

Student is absent (and office have not pre-entered a symbol)

N *Get message to the office*

This can be done using group office email: [email protected] or by telephoning the office

Student arrives late

L

You know the student has music/exam/sport/ other activity that is in school as you have seen a list to say they are involved.

Q


PM Registration 2.00pm (may be 1.50pm in the event of a ‘live’ assembly)

Scenario

Action

Student is present

/

Student is absent and office have pre-entered a symbol

Submit register with the pre-entered symbol

Student is absent

N *Get message to the office*

This can be done using group office email: [email protected] or by telephoning the office

Student arrives late

L

Student has music/exam/sport/ other activity in school but no symbol entered by office

N

 

Medical appointments

Discretion can be used if the student has only missed part of the am / pm session. If an M is pre-entered for the morning and a student returns before 11am, the M can be changed to ‘/’ when they arrive, for the morning session only. A note of the time and initials will be added to SIMS. The M will remain for the lessons they have missed. In the afternoon, if a student arrives back from the appointment before 3.00pm the M will be changed to ‘/’ retrospectively for the session.

If we are not notified in advance of an appointment the M will not be changed.

The mark in the registration/session box will be amended to present as this alters the student’s overall % attendance. It will always be done retrospectively in case of a fire alarm.

 

Additional codes to be used by Assistants to Heads of School and Administration Support only:

Present

/

Use this if the student is in your lesson and on time

Unauthorised absence

O

Do not use this without confirmation from SLT

Late

L

Use this if a student arrives for a lesson late unless it is morning registration when the office will enter lateness when you have already marked student as ‘N’

Educated off-site

B

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Other authorised

C

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office (this usually means that the student is authorised to not be in school for an exceptional reason; office staff to enter the reason when they pre-enter the C code)

Dual Registration

D

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Unauthorised Holiday / Leave

G

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Approved holiday / Leave

H

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Illness

I

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Medical Appointment

M

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Approved Sporting Activity

P

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Religious observance

R

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Study leave

S

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Late - 30 minutes after register

U

You should not have to enter this one

Educational visit/trip

V

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Work experience

W

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

Interview

J

Only use if code has been pre-entered by office

No Reason yet provided

N

You should use this one when a student is not present in your lesson and no code has previously been entered by the office. If it is not registration, you should contact the office to see if they know where the student is.

Not required to attend

Q

Present in school but not in your lesson for a legitimate reason (e.g. sitting an exam).


The main codes class teachers should use are / or N for AM registration. In subsequent lessons, the office should have already pre-entered a code (e.g I /S/M etc.).

Appendix 4 – Example of type of letters used for absence / lateness*

*Please personalise this letter where possible.

Dear

I am writing to you with regard to Name’s attendance for this current academic year. I am enclosing a copy of her attendance record, which is kept electronically. I am aware that your daughter has been unwell this year and this has contributed towards her absence. However, I would like to make you aware of the fact that her total attendance this year is ??%, which is well below the expected attendance for students at JCG.

If Name is experiencing a recurring illness or she is having ongoing treatment please inform me in writing so that it can be kept on file for future reference. Year 10 is a very important year and this term sees the start of coursework and exams in many of her subjects.

Should you wish to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me on …

I hope that your daughter’s attendance can further improve this term.

Yours sincerely

Head of School…


Dear ….,

Each month, a punctuality report is generated to assist us in monitoring student lateness and identify any potential punctuality issues.

We understand that there are usually valid reasons for arriving late to school. We want to ensure that communication is maintained between parents and the College and we therefore feel it is important that you are aware that, according to our records, ….has been registered late for registration at 8.25am on the occasions listed below during the last month.

I would be grateful if you could sign an acknowledgement below for the lateness and return this slip to school. If you feel that there are any notes that are important for us to know, please provide details on the acknowledgement slip. This will help us to understand the situation and allow us to help where appropriate.

If you would like to discuss ---------’s punctuality or well-being further, please do not hesitate to contact her tutor or myself on tel. 516… or email ….


Yours sincerely,

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Student Name:

Student Form:

Dates when late

Notes (if appropriate)







I acknowledge receipt of the letter informing me of my daughter’s recent punctuality record.


Signed: Date:

Appendix 5 – template of ‘Unauthorised’ letter following parental request

Dear ……………..

Thank you for your letter requesting absence for NAME on DATE.

I receive many requests for absence and only authorise those for significant family events. I do know you understand the importance of attendance and the positive impact it has upon the students’ educational outcomes. I also hope you understand my need to be fair and consistent in my response to parental requests. Therefore NAME’s absence will be marked down as unauthorised.

Yours sincerely

Carl Howarth

Principal

Appendix 6 – JCG Attendance Action