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At Howden we pride ourselves on our high overall attendance rate of 95%. We see high attendance as a school priority as good attendance contributes to academic success, increases opportunities for progression and enables the school to support student’s personal development. As a school, we monitor the attendance of all students closely. We recognise high attendance and report to parents through students’ reports.

Schools are required to provide education for 190 days a year and it is expected that children who are registered at a school will attend for this time. Parents do not have an automatic right for their children to have time off school and any requests for absence are entirely at the Headteacher’s discretion. Research shows that children do not achieve as well in their education and in public examinations the more school absence they have, for example a child absent from school for a period of two weeks each year, for exceptional circumstances and with the average absence for illness may miss the equivalent of one whole year’s education over their school life.

Reporting Absence

We request that all parents avoid arranging medical and similar appointments during school hours. To report an absence for students please use the following number: Tel 01430 430448. This line has a 24 hour voice mail service and parents/carers may leave information about student absence at any time. However, if you have concerns about a particular attendance issue and wish to speak to a member of staff, please ring the main school switchboard where you can speak to our attendance officer during school hours. 

Informing school of student absence due to illness

If your child is absent due to illness you must contact the school first thing in the morning informing them of the reason for the absence and how long you expect your child to be absent. It is helpful if you let us know the nature of the illness to prevent it being spread to others in school. Under normal circumstances days 1-3 of any absence are authorised as “ill”, as it is at the parents' discretion to decide that a short period at home is required for recuperation. If the period of time is not given our attendance officer will follow unauthorised absences daily.  However, in order to authorise absence of longer than 4 days, from the 5th day we request that you supply some form of medical evidence which demonstrates a pro-active approach to recovery.

This evidence can be any of the following:

  • Doctor’s appointment slip
  • Copy of prescription or medicine packaging
  • Hospital letter
  • Receipt or packaging for “over the counter” remedies e.g. cold relief/sickness medication.
  • If you require any clarification regarding this matter please contact Mrs Stevenson, Attendance Officer.

Absence due to exceptional circumstances

The legislation regarding student attendance changed with effect from 1 September 2013.  There is no longer a provision in law for Headteachers to authorise an absence for the purpose of a term-time holiday. Parents / Carers are required under the Education Act (1996) to ensure your child attends school regularly. There is, however, a discretionary power held by Headteachers to authorise absence in exceptional circumstances. Please note this is not an entitlement. The Headteacher will only authorise absence in line with the East Riding Behaviour & Attendance Partnership ‘Absence from School for Exceptional Circumstances’ Policy. Headteachers will not authorise absences if they believe it is to the detriment of a child’s education. Please note that supporting documents to aid decision making must be submitted at the time of your request for absence. The Absence from School for Exception Circumstance Request Form can be obtained from the school office or there is a link below to download.

Please note the school day is divided into two registration periods; for example if your child is absent for one day, this equals two sessions and a five day absence equals 10 sessions.

If you would like further information, please contact Mrs Doyle (Assistant Headteacher), Mrs Stevenson (Attendance officer) on Tel 01430 430448 or the Education Welfare Service at on Tel 01482 392146.

What the Law says

The law requires that all children of compulsory school age must receive a suitable full-time education. Once your child is registered at school, you are responsible for ensuring that he/she attends regularly. The Local Authority (LA) may take legal action against you if this does not happen. Your child’s school is responsible by law for reporting their poor attendance to the Education Welfare Service (EWS), and an Education Welfare Officer (EWO) will contact you to discuss any difficulties with regard to attendance. You may be asked to provide medical support to cover your child’s regular absences due to medical reasons or a long term illness.

Parent / Carer Responsibilities

As a parent/carer you are committing an offence if you fail to ensure your child attends regularly, even if they are missing school without your knowledge.

Penalties a parent / carer may face for their child not attending school

Under existing legislation, you commit an offence if your child fails to attend school regularly and the absences are classed as unauthorised (those for which the Headteacher has not given permission). Depending on circumstances such cases may result in prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. A penalty notice, if paid in full, is an alternative to prosecution and does not require an appearance in court, thus enabling you to discharge potential liability for conviction. If parents/carers are found guilty, in a Magistrates’ Court, of failing to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school, they may face a fine.

Parents/Carers can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice if their child has 10 or more unauthorised absences. This includes holidays in term-time, lates after registration and truancy.

Attendance expectations from September

From the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year (September), attendance is mandatory for all pupils.

From September, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:

  • Parents’ duty to ensure that their child attends school regularly.
  • The school’s responsibility to record attendance and follow up absence.
  • The availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with the LA’s code of conduct.

Shielding or self-isolating pupils

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, they will be immediately offered access to remote learning via TEAMS.

Reluctance to return to school

Parents will be advised to contact the school if they have concerns about their child returning to school.

If a parent raises a concern, a relevant staff member will hold a discussion with the parent to discuss their concerns and provide reassurance on the measures that are in place to reduce risk in the school.