Children must attend school under the Education Act 1989 (revised).
Poor attendance at school can result in one or more of the following:
- a Parenting Order
- an Education Supervision Order
- a School Attendance Order
- a fine (sometimes known as a ‘penalty notice’)
Parents should understand that attendance is an issue for too many children at our school –
This impacts on outcomes for children individually and the school as a whole.
As a school, we will actively seek to enforce the necessary legal actions to address absence affairs where improvements are not seen and /or parents do not engage with or recognise the legitimate concern.
Frequently asked questions about attendance & punctuality
1) Does attendance really matter?
Yes it really does! Children who attend school for less than 95% of the time, underperform significantly and have ominously reduced lifetime opportunities.
2) My child has been ill and I have told you this
Absence is absence, and impacts on a child’s learning and wellbeing, regardless of the reason. This is clear in the actions taken under national policy. Whilst we have utter respect for parents/carers who state that absence has been a result of specific unavoidable illness, this does not negate the fact that their child has been impacted by it, or that the policy applies to all. To be clear, under policy and in reality, absence through illness has the same impact as absence for any other reason and as such is included in your child’s absence figures. This is a national requirement.
3)Are you saying you want me to bring my child into school when they are ill?
No. However, we do ask parents to consider carefully if absence is really necessary. We are not medical practitioners and cannot make decisions on behalf of health professionals, or indeed parents – the choice is yours.
4)My child always attends school, yet there are ‘unauthorised absences’ on their attendance record, how can this be?
Your child arrives late, beyond the close of register, the late mark is converted to an unauthorised absence. Again, this is a national requirement, not schools. This is done because too much time in school has been missed.
5) I cannot afford the fine so how can I pay it?
Firstly, fines are not issued by, or paid to the school – despite what you may have read on social media or in popular press. The courts issue fines and the revenue is taken by them. If you cannot pay a fine, this is a matter for the courts and is dealt with in line with any other unpaid debts to the Crown. The school has no say in this.
6)What are the consequences for not paying a fine?
Simply put, the fine increases to up to £2500. If you continue not to pay, you can get up to a 3-month prison sentence.
7) I did not realise this and I have received a letter regarding my child’s absence. What can I do?
At Christ the King Catholic Primary School, we are here to help you when and where we can.
- The first step is to attend the meeting and work with the school. This will be your chance to seek support if there are underlying reasons for the absences. Whilst we cannot act on your behalf, we can point you in the right direction and look to see if there is anything we can do to help.
- Recognise that there is an issue, and do all you can to reverse any absence trends. This may be easier said than done, but it cannot be ignored for your child’s sake. It is never too late.
- Act promptly if you receive notices, attendance letters and/or court notices. They will not go away.
The vast majority of parents at Christ the King Catholic Primary School ensure their children attend in line with the expectation and we are grateful for this. We have a firm stance on attendance matters and will continue to do so.