CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - SCHOOL CLOSURE Baldersby St James Primary School is currently closed. Those requiring essential child are cover (children of key workers, those with SEN needs & vulnerable children) can access care at Burton Green Primary School

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Attendance and absence

Children should be in school by 9am when registers are taken.  If your child is not going to be in school due to illness or an appointment please let us know as soon as possible either by calling the school office (messages can be left), or by email.  If your child needs prescribed medicines due to an illness these must be brought to the office and an 'administration of medicine' form can be completed.  If we do not hear from you by 9:30 we will contact you to find out why your child is not in school.  Children who arrive after 9am but before the registers are closed are recorded as ‘late’; for children who arrive after 9:30am when the registers close this is recorded as an ‘unauthorised absence’ due to the negative impact on that child’s learning.


Absences are recorded as authorised or unauthorised according to criteria set by the Department for Education; when a child transfers to another school (such as moving from primary to secondary school) their attendance record is shared.


Support for Attendance

We monitor every child's attendance and punctuality closely and follow up unexplained absence with parents/carers by telephone. Where a child's attendance record reaches a concerning level, we will contact parents/carers to discuss ways in which the school can support you and your child.  This may include a referral to North Yorkshire’s Early Help service, who can advise and support.


If you have any concerns or are aware of any issues which may impact on your child’s attendance, please contact their class teacher or the school office so that we can support you and your child.


Leave of Absence (including term-time holidays)

Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence. The government strongly urges parents/carers to avoid taking their children out of school for family holidays as this will disrupt their education. The Headteacher is under no obligation to authorise any leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances why this cannot be arranged out of school time. We cannot and will not authorise leave of absence unless the circumstances are exceptional.  A child who misses 2 weeks of school misses 50 hours of learning.  Any request should be made well in advance and in writing using the form available from the school office. Requests for absence for reasons such as compassionate leave, special family events, sporting or musical competitions, should be made in the same way.  Absence will not be authorised for reasons such as shopping for uniform, birthdays, day trips, or weekends away.  All requests are considered individually, taking into account the circumstances of the request.


Where a parental request has been refused, and parents continue to take their child out of school, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised. We reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This is a fine of £60 per parent for each child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent for each child if paid between 22 and 28 days. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court. This legislation also applies if no prior application has been made or where a false reason for the absence has been provided.


Persistent Absence

The Government describes any student with attendance of 90% and below as a Persistent Absentee. Persistent absence has a serious impact on children as much of the work children miss when they are off school is never made up, leaving these children at a considerable disadvantage to others.


Children with this level of absence are less likely to achieve their educational potential and their friendships at school can suffer. As a result, the Government makes it clear to schools and Local Authorities that they have a responsibility to intervene and take action to improve attendance.  All schools have to report their attendance figures, including persistent absentees, to the Department for Education, so this can be compared and reported on.

The government has strengthened schools’ ability to respond by increasing Penalty Notices (fines) to £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days.

Just 20 days of absence over a school year means that your child will be automatically reported as a persistent absentee: this includes illness, appointments and music exams as well as any holiday taken.


Where a child misses a significant amount of school due to ill health or a medical condition the school may ask for medical evidence to provided.


Legal Sanctions

Parents/carers have a legal duty to make sure their child attends school regularly. Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 states that “if a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.” The school can make a referral to the Local Authority where parents/carers are failing in their legal duty. The Local Authority has the power to enforce school attendance where this becomes problematic, including the power to prosecute parents/carers who fail to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school. If found guilty, parents/carers could be fined up to £2500 and/or imprisoned for 3 months.

Penalty notices are an alternative to the prosecution of parents for failing to ensure their child attends school regularly and are fines of £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 22 and 28 days.


We understand that this may seem very formal, but good attendance is a significant factor in success at school both academically and socially; we also have a legal duty around safeguarding to follow up concerns over school attendance.