At St Mary's we are committed to the continuous raising of achievement of all our pupils. Regular attendance is critical if our pupils are to be successful and benefit from the opportunities presented to them.
One of our basic principles is to celebrate success. Good attendance is fundamental to a successful and fulfilling school experience. We actively promote 100% attendance for all our pupils and we use a variety of weekly, termly and annual awards to promote good attendance and punctuality.
The Governors, Headteacher and Staff in partnership with parents have a duty to promote full attendance at St Mary's.
To help us promote regular attendance and punctuality and ensure that absences are kept to a minimum, St Mary Primary School now work with The South Eastern Attendance Advisory Service (SEAAS) who provide focused support to improve school attendance.
Working with SEAAS, we continuously monitor and review the attendance of all pupils. If we have concerns about a pupil’s attendance level or that a pupil’s attendance is having a negative impact on their education, we will refer the matter to SEAAS who will work with you to improve the attendance.
SEAAS will work on behalf of the school to address all attendance concerns including lateness and holidays in term time. In cases where attendance does not improve and or parents are not engaging with the process, SEAAS will consider all the legal options available to them including penalty notices and referrals to the Local Authority for prosecution under Sec.444(1) Education Act 1996.
At St Mary's registers are taken at 9am and 1pm any children arriving after these times will be marked as late (code L/U). All absences must be reported to the School Office by 8:45am each day, any absence not reported will be marked as unauthorised (code O)-this may result in Penalty Notice action. Absences in excess of 3 days or if your child's attendance is below 90% require medical evidence to authorise.
Holiday's within term time are not permitted at St Mary's unless there are exceptional circumstances. Again, holiday's taken without school permission will result in a Penalty Notice.
What does the research tell us?
1. A pupil's absence in the first month of the school year (September) can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. At least half of pupils who miss 2-4 days in September will miss a month over the school year. (Olson 2014)
2. Absenteeism starts early. Pupils who have poor attendance in Nursery and Reception classes, are more likely to continue with this pattern over their school life. (B.E.R.C. 2011)
3. There is a direct connection between poor attendance, achievement and progress. If your child is not in school every day to be taught the curriculum, they can be left behind, miss out on a block of learning, or develop misconceptions which are embedded. This is particularly the case for reading. (DfE 2015, B.E.R.C. 2011)
4. Poor attendance in Primary has an impact upon performance at Secondary School.
5. Where attendance is improved, achievement is stronger and the child is more likely to succesfully graduate from school and university.
6. Attendance is likely to improve if a school makes the effort to engage with families, and provide a link in school that parents and pupils are happy with.
7. Schools must track attendance alongside achievement to ensure that resources are well placed and pupils are successful learners.
What is St Mary's doing to ensure that all pupils attend and are successful?
At the moment our attendance figure for the whole school is 94%. This is low, and we need to make an effort to improve this. To make this improvement we need your help!
1. Our attendance officer will contact you if there are any concerns about your child's attendance. This will be a supportive visit, and you are able to identify what we can do to help you. It is likely that we will offer a referral to Early help, who may be able to support you with health appointments, benefits, concerns you have about your child, housing, and return to work support. You can ask for an Early Help referral at any time, and just need to make contact with the school office, Mrs McGarrigle (Headteacher) or Mrs Wattam (SENCO).
2. Mrs McGarrigle will be looking at the data for achievement alongside attendance and reporting on this to the Governing Body. The Governing Body will hold the school to account if they are not doing enough to improve attendance, so this is vital.
3. Mrs McGarrigle and our Attendance Officer will look at attendance from the previous school year, and try to see a pattern (for example are September's poor attenders continuing this pattern over the year). They will also look at attendance in Nursery and Reception, to ensure we offer support where it is needed.
4. Pupil attendance will be discussed at every Governors meeting.
5. The school will not authorise holiday in term time, unless there are exceptional circumstances. If holiday is taken in term time, rather than in the 14 weeks of school holiday pupils have every year, we will follow Kent policy and issue a penalty notice.