The Importance of School Attendance
Penn Wood School has high expectations for every child from the moment they join our school. Children have the right to a high quality education and we provide this at Penn Wood. High attendance is necessary to ensure that your child benefits fully from the learning opportunities on offer.
Why is it so important that my child attends school regularly?
Children who attend school regularly will achieve their full potential. Not only does school provide high quality learning experiences to enrich children’s lives, but we also provide numerous opportunities for children to develop social skills and to grow into well-rounded individuals. Good attendance means children will benefit greatly from these aspects of school life.
However, children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school. Missing school leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Not only does this affect academic attainment, but children with poor attendance can often feel left out, find it hard to make and keep friends, feel insecure and lack confidence. Their overall attitude to learning can be inhibited; behavioural problems may develop and health and wellbeing may be affected. If poor attendance continues, children can find it harder to secure a job in later life.
Celebrating Good Attendance
We love to celebrate good attendance at Penn Wood and have different incentives and recognition systems in place. ‘Spencer’, our school’s attendance bear, travels around the classes spending the week with the school’s best attending class. Termly attendance celebration assemblies take place where the children love to receive stickers, pencils, certificates, medals and Penn Wood mugs! Weekly attendance results can be found on our school website and in the school’s entrance foyer. Do have a look to see how your child's class is doing!
Parents have a legal responsibility to provide an education for their child. It is an offence not to have your child attend school regularly. Your child must attend the whole school day, every day, on time and be ready to learn unless the absence is completely unavoidable. The national average attendance for a child in Britain is 96.5%. Penn Wood expects attendance of at least 97%. Attendance falling below 95% is therefore cause for concern. Absence of under 90% falls into the category of ‘persistent absenteeism’ and is referred to the Local Authority with possible warnings, fines, parental orders and court action applied. The school will do its best to support families to prevent action being taken this far. Reception year group is now oversubscribed and by accepting a place at Penn Wood, you agree to make attendance at school a high priority.
The School Day
The school day is split into an A.M. session and a P.M. session and your child will be registered at both, as this is a statutory requirement. To safeguard our children, a text will be sent to parents if no reason for absence is received. Further intervention will take place i.e. calls home, home visits and outside agencies being contacted to ensure all is well if no communication is received. Attendance is separated into authorised or unauthorised absence. Records are kept, and attendance is monitored and tracked by the Attendance Leader. Please note: Parents will be notified of the school’s action if leave is going to be unauthorised, by text, email, letter, in person or by a phone call/voice mail message. Class teachers will be able to discuss your child’s attendance in the autumn and spring parents’ meetings. Please make a note of our school calendar dates which include INSET dates. These can also be found on our school website www.pennwood.slough.sch.uk. Early collection from school and extended leave are both completely discouraged. Please note - it is your responsibility to inform school of any changes of contact numbers.
What to do if your child cannot attend school:
The following information provides you with clear instructions for what to do if your child is unable to come to school on a given day. Please take time to read this information and keep it in a safe place for easy reference. You must contact the school (preferably before 9am) on the first day of absence. Please leave a message with your child's name, class and the reason why they cannot attend. If they are ill, please give a clear explanation of their condition.
IMPORTANT: You will be required to adhere to the attendance criteria found below.
Any illness that requires home rest and in general is not treated by prescribed medication will be authorised on a ‘day by day basis’ to the maximum of two days only. On the third day of illness, parents must take their child to be medically assessed. Supporting evidence will be required in order to authorise from this point.
· Parents who have a child diagnosed with a contagious disease should alert the school as soon as possible. Parents will be advised on a case by case basis.
Children with an existing medical condition previously recorded by school still have to follow the same attendance criteria.
Medical consent forms can be obtained from the school office to enable staff to administer medication during school hours.
Appointments, where possible, should be made outside of school hours or in the holiday period. This includes routine dentist appointments. If this is unavoidable, your child should still attend school before/after the appointment where possible. Any session missed that was deemed reasonable to attend will be marked as unauthorised leave. Any sibling should attend school as normal. Emergency doctor/dentist appointments will be authorised with supporting evidence. All referred clinic/hospital appointments must be made in advance and be supported by an appointment letter in order to authorise any missed sessions. We understand that it can be hard to obtain medical evidence on occasion. Please request a medical confirmation card from the school office to help with this process.
Medical evidence, when requested, should be provided in one of the following ways: - text, email, letter or by a phone voice mail message. Parents can also present a prescription, medical paper work or an appointment card/letter at the school office upon their return. If evidence is not received during the week of the missed session/s or is deemed insufficient, the leave in question may be recorded as unauthorised.
Extended Leave - this is not a parental right.
Understand your child’s attendance percentage - what does it really mean?
¨ 90% Attendance = ½ a day of school missed each week.
¨ Over a whole school year, this would equate to 4 weeks of missed school.
¨ Extended to 5 years, this would mean your child would have missed ½ a year of school.
¨ Research from the Department for Education shows the following:
Þ Children with no absence are more than 50% more likely to achieve the expected standard by the end of primary school.
Þ The same children are 5 times more likely to achieve the higher standard by the end of primary school.
Encourage your child to achieve great attendance!
How to contact us
The school office is open from 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday – Thursday and 8.30am - 4.00pm on Friday.
School’s telephone number: Tel 01753 521811
School Times 8.50am - 3.15pm. Please be punctual every day.
For any attendance concerns or to seek advice please contact Mrs Wallace or Ms May, our Attendance Leaders. More information can be found in our Attendance Policy which can be located on our school website.