Absence from School
If your child is ill, please telephone school on the first day of their absence to let us know. If you cannot do this, we must have a letter from you on their return to school. If we do not receive a message from you, we will telephone you or send you a text message to enquire why your child is absent. If we are still unable to contact you our family worker or the Education Welfare Officer may visit you at home, especially if your child has had repeated absences. This is part of our duty of care.
Whether to keep your child off school due to illness can be a difficult judgement call to make, especially first thing in the morning. Sometimes it's obvious that a child needs to be at home in bed but very often it's not so clear. If they have diarrhoea, vomiting, high temperature or a contagious illness such as chickenpox we do not expect to attend school. In order to prevent further infection in cases of sickness and diarrhoea your child should stay home for 48 hours after the infection has cleared.
"Will I be criticised for sending a coughing, sneezing child into school?" If in doubt send them into school, particularly for minor ailments such as coughs, colds, headaches etc. As the day progresses if your child is too unwell to stay in school we will contact you. This not only encourages resilience but gives a positive message to your child how important school is. Parents who adopt this approach are unlikely to have a problem as their child gets older as the value of good attendance has been instilled at an early age.
Children are allowed a maximum of two days absence in the whole school year for the purpose of religious observance
A child who has to leave school to attend a clinic, surgery or hospital appointment, should be collected from the school office by a parent or carer. When collecting your child please come to the office, and do not go directly to the classroom door. Please bring proof of their appointment, such as hospital letter or appointment card.
Extended Leave of Absence
Parents are reminded that children should attend school unless they are ill. Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances refers to a situation that requires immediate attention such as critical illness or death of a close family member. The school may ask for documentation.
Parents are required to call into the school office to discuss any leave of absence requests. In cases where parents do not comply with this regulations, the child may lose their place at school and it may not always be possible for the child to be re-admitted, for instance if that particular year group is already full. Penalty notices are issued by the Education Welfare service.
Our Attendance Policy is available to view below, please read it carefully. It reflects changes in government regulations, particularly regarding requests for leave of absence in term time which came into effect in September 2013.
Requests for leave of absence will not be granted for the purpose of a holiday.
Requests for leave of absence will not be granted during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Be a William Austin Infant School Attendance H.E.R.O!
It is very important that children have as little time off school as possible, and we want to encourage all of our children to attend school regularly. We would like to recognise and reward children for their good attendance, and with that in mind we are launching our new Attendance H.E.R.O initiative!
Each week, the class with the best attendance for their year group wins the attendance reward, getting to keep a special teddy or trophy in their classroom for the whole of the following week. In addition, the class also gets a H.E.R.O certificate, and each child in the class receives a special Attendance sticker.
Each half-term every child who has achieved between 98% - 100% attendance is awarded with a Lucky Dip prize. Children who achieve 100% attendance for a full term (Autumn, Spring or Summer) are rewarded with a special visit/outing or gift. In the past these children have enjoyed a cinema experience in school, a picnic in the park and a visit from a children's entertainer.
We monitor individual attendance weekly, and the Attendance Officer will follow up on unexplained absences or patterns of absences. Where appropriate these are referred to the Family Worker or Education Welfare Officer.
Leave of Absence is only granted in exceptional circumstances, and will not normally be given for the purposes of a holiday. We also ask that, where possible, Medical and dental appointments are booked outside of school’s opening hours.
Any extended absence from school, particularly when travelling abroad during term-time when it can be avoided, has a significant impact on your child, as they miss valuable learning which can hinder their progress both academically and socially.
Please see our Attendance Policy and Leave of Absence Guidance for Parents under the ‘Key Information – Policies’ section of our website for more information.
School days are precious: children only attend school 190 out of 365 days, meaning there are 175 days a year that parents can use for any activities other than school.
Thank you for your continued support in ensuring your child regularly attends school.
Leave of Absence Requests During Term-time
A message from Mrs Kang, Headteacher
I am becoming increasingly concerned by the large number of parents who are still requesting term-time leave, particularly where the circumstances have not been exceptional.
Please remember that there is no right to term-time leave.
Requests for leave of absence will not be granted for the purposes of a holiday. The law does not give any entitlement to parents to take their child on holiday during term time. Requests for leave of absence will not be granted during term-time unless there are exceptional circumstances for which proof may be required if deemed appropriate.
A number of parents have taken their children out of school against our advice, where the circumstances have not been exceptional, and the absence has been unauthorised as a result.
After Easter each year Year 2 children begin the preparation and groundwork towards their Key Stage 1 National Curriculum Tests in May. This is a very important time for them in the school year, and full attendance is important for them to reach their full potential.
Please think twice about the effect an extended absence from school will have on your child’s education before you decide to request any leave of absence.
You may ask for a copy of the Leave of Absence policy from the school office and it is on the school website.
If you take your child out of school and the leave of absence is unauthorised, you will be liable for a penalty fine of £60 per parent per child, this will be issued by the Education Welfare Service. Penalty Notice fines will need to be paid within 21 days or the fine will increase to £120 within 28 days.
Unpaid Penalty Notices result in prosecution for the absence in the magistrate’s court.
You must come to the school office to discuss any possible leave of absence BEFORE you book any flights. If you don’t, and I do not authorise the absence, your child may lose their place at this school. We sometimes have waiting lists for school places and you risk having to take your children to several different schools on your return.