New Attendance Policy
An update to our Attendance Policy has been announced.
Those of you who have been with us for a while, will know what a good job we had done, in partnership with families, to improve children’s attendance. Those of you who are new to us know that it is one of the things that we talk to you about at transition and induction meetings. We know that in last year’s parent questionnaire, all the responses either agreed or strongly agreed that school did all it could to improve attendance.
We also know just how important it is that children attend school every day and on time, especially given the disruption to their learning and development over the last few years. We know the impact of missed schooling is huge, not just on children’s academic achievement, but on their personal development and wellbeing too.
I’m sure that you will also have heard in the news, that attendance in schools nationally since the pandemic has been a concern. That is the case at Grendon. We know that we are not seeing a clear enough impact of all the action that we currently take. So, using our WE CAN attitudes, we have revisited and updated our attendance policy! This can be found in the policies section of the website HERE.
The policy has been approved by Governors and we will share it with children next week. It is obviously vitally important that we share the changes with you too. We know that this isn’t something that we can improve by ourselves. We most definitely need your support to do this.
Our new policy makes roles and responsibilities very clear. For families, we ask that they will:
- ensure children are in school every day from 8.40am, and by 8.50am at the latest.
- accompany children to the school office if they are late.
- notify the school by phone call (0121 474 2460) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) of unexpected absence, and give the reason for this by 9.20am on the first morning of absence.
- ensure that they do not take leave during term time, except in the most exceptional of circumstances, where requests to school are made in the correct way.
- attend meetings relating to their child’s attendance or request for term time leave and access support made available to them.
- provide medical evidence of absences when requested by school.
- work with school to access recommended Early Help strategies.
- check that children have everything that they need for school.
We will ask children to:
- come to school every day that they can.
- bring everything with them that they need for the day.
- come into school ready to learn.
- ask for help if they need support to do this.
Our policy also highlights the importance of communication between school and families. Each half term, you will receive a print out of your child’s attendance, alongside a letter that sets out how this compares with our expectation. We will no longer wait until attendance is a concern, or for our end of year reports in July to share this information with you.
One of the most exciting changes for the children is that we would like every one of them to become an attendance HERO! HERO means “Here Everyday, Ready & On time”. For this reason, we are changing the way that we reward attendance. Every day, children will have access to a HERO stamp and an individual record card. As long as they are in the classroom by 8.50am, they will be able to stamp their own cards. If they are late, after 8.50am or of course absent, the stamp will have been put away, and they will miss their stamp for that day. At the end of the week, every child who has 5 stamps will receive a small reward from the HERO box.
In this way, we encourage not only good attendance, but also punctuality. It also allows children to try again the very next week if they miss their reward for one week. The time scale is short. This will replace our old system of termly attendance rewards or trips. We will also use a badge system to reward 100% attendance in a term, with children able to earn bronze, silver and then a gold badge for 100% attendance across the whole year.
We know and understand that absence is sometimes unavoidable. We will listen, empathise and support. An important part of our policy has always been to offer early help where attendance is a concern. This remains unchanged and will continue to be our priority. We will work with you, when necessary, to identify barriers to good attendance and provide as much support as we are able to remove these. We will never however, simply just accept poor attendance.
You will be aware that we are a Fast-Track school. This means that we are part of Birmingham City Council process, where, if there is no improvement in attendance over time and despite support given, fines may be issued. This will always be a last resort. The school attendance message letter from BCC can be downloaded below for your information. This also refers to leave during term time, for example for holidays. Please be aware that unless there are very particular circumstances, leave will not be authorised. Under the conditions of the BCC policy, fines can now be issued after 5 days of unauthorised leave.
We really cannot stress the importance of children being in school every day. I know that I can rely on your support with this change to policy. We will obviously evaluate and review this policy regularly, and I will ensure that you have the opportunity to have your views heard at this point.
We look forward to seeing all children Here Everyday, Ready and On time when the policy launches after half term on 1st November.