A parent/carer's guide to good attendance

What are my responsibilities regarding my child's school attendance?

As a parent/carer, it is your responsibility to ensure that a child of compulsory school age attends school both regularly and punctually. The local authority, working alongside the academy, has a duty to ensure that all parents/carers fulfil this responsibility. Thomas Hepburn Community Academy deems satisfactory attendance as 96% or above.

Why is it important for my child to attend school regularly?

Regular school attendance and good punctuality means your child can make the most of their education which will improve their opportunities in adult life. It will also help them when they enter the world of work. School helps children and young people with their social skills, making and maintaining friendships, building confidence and self esteem. If your child does not attend school regularly, it could affect their grades in exams, tests and assignments because of missed work.

How can I help my child to attend school regularly?

Taking a positive interest in your child's education will encourage and promote regular school attendance. Keep in touch with Thomas Hepburn Community Academy by contacting your child's Head of Year or Form Tutor and attend parent's evenings and other school events to show your child that you value their education. This will encourage your child to value his/her own education and will motivate your child to make the most of every school day.

Can I get help if my child is not attending school regularly?

You should always contact Thomas Hepburn Community Academy to support you. You can either speak to your child's Head of Year or a member of the attendance team. We are here to support you in ensuring your child receives the best possible education and attendance is a key part of this.

What will happen if my child does not attend school regularly?

We will contact you if we are concerned about your child's attendance to offer any support that may be required. A referral could be made to the local authority if your child's attendance does not improve.

Gateshead local authority will use legislation to enforce attendance at school where parents do not fulfil their duty to ensure their children attend school regularly. This could mean a parent or carer enters into the Local Authority Enforcement Procedure which may lead to prosecution in the Magistrates Court. A parent or carer could receive a Parenting Order, a Community Order, a Curfew Order and/or a fine up to ?2500.

Can I take my child on holiday during term time?

A parent or carer can also be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for any unauthorised absence including taking an unauthorised holiday in term time. If children are taken away for a two week holiday every year and have an average number of days off for sickness and appointments, then by the time they leave at sixteen they will have missed a year of school. (Charlie Taylor, 2012:2-3)

Parents are requested not to arrange family holidays during term time, as the government no longer allows us to authorise absence for this purpose. If parents choose to take their child out of the academy for a holiday they may be issued with a Penalty Notice of ?60 per child if paid within 21 days or ?120 per child if paid between 21 days to 28 days. A Penalty Notice is issued to each parent and failure to pay could lead to prosecution in Magistrates Court.

How do I know if my child is considered to be persistently absent?

The Government have raised the level at which a child is deemed persistently absent.

From September 2015, persistent absence (PA) data will include all students whose attendance is 90% or less. This means if a student misses 19 or more days over a full academic year, they will be classed as persistently absent. If a student's attendance is 90% or less and medical notes have not been provided, the academy's non-attendance procedures may commence and this may result in the case being referred to the Local Authorities Legal Intervention Non School Attendance Team. This may lead to a ?60 Penalty Notice, or legal proceedings may be taken in the Magistrates Court, where the maximum fine is ?2,500.

Please remember, Thomas Hepburn Community Academy gives our students a wide range of opportunities and experiences, both academic and social, allowing them to develop their interests and achieve their full potential. Please encourage your child to attend school every day to make the most of these opportunities.

If you would like to discuss your child's attendance and/or punctuality, please contact the attendance team on (0191) 4204555.

Attendance Leader: Mrs D Arkley