At Tadley Community Primary School, we believe that attendance is everyone’s business and have based our policy and procedures on the ‘Working together to improve school attendance’ document from the Department for Education published in May 2022.
We understand that the barriers to accessing education are wide and complex and are often individual to your child. We know that some children find it harder to attend school and we want to work together with parents/carers to help remove barriers and build strong and trusting relationships.
The law entitles every child of compulsory school age to an efficient, full-time education suitable to their age, aptitude and any special education need they may have. It is the legal responsibility of every parent to make sure their child receives that education either by attendance at a school or by education otherwise than at a school.
Where parents/carers decide to have their child registered at school, they have an additional legal duty to ensure their child attends that school regularly. This means their child must attend every day that the school is open, except in a small number of allowable circumstances such as being too ill to attend or being given permission for an absence in advance from the school.
Regular attendance is important because poor attendance to school affects a child’s outcomes. The children with the highest attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 have higher rates of attendance over the key stage compared to those with the lowest attainment.
How to prevent your child from missing school
To avoid disrupting your child’s education, you should arrange appointments and outings:
You should not expect Tadley Community Primary School to agree to your child going on holiday during term time.
The Strategic Approach
Tadley Community Primary School adopts the 5 Foundations of Effective Attendance Practice Framework, this is modelled on the work of Professor Katherine Weare. The emphasis is on developing a school culture and climate which builds a sense of connectedness and belonging to ensure all children can attend school and thrive.
The approach ensures we prioritise building solid working relationships with children and parents prior to any escalation.
The staged approach ensures we identify triggers early that can lead to poor attendance issues such as: mental health issues, lack of trust, communication and relationship breakdowns and possible lack of networking opportunities both internal (in-school) and external (external agencies).
The Foundations Framework has most recently been reviewed by the Department for Education and received an excellent report following the four-day review.
'The Foundations approach is an excellent example of best practice; there are very clear and detailed systems and procedures in place to manage absence and attendance consistently.'
(Michelle O'Dell DFE Attendance Advisor, March 2022)
The 5 Foundations of Effective Attendance Practice Framework is evidence-informed and completely child-centred. Each foundation is supported by 5 Key Performance Indications, there are used to ensure the school can embed the Foundations Framework and understand the strategic direction regarding attendance improvement.
The Framework allows the school to understand the whole school approach to supporting and improving attendance, this is completely aligned to our school values. We create a welcoming environment to allow all children to gain a sense of belonging and ultimately achieved academically through regular school attendance.
The school policy is translated into practice through the processes and systems we follow. The escalated approach supports children at each stage, parents who do not engage with support understand why, at times, we must follow this process.
All staff receive attendance training to support the whole school approach, they understand their role in improving attendance. Certain staff are identified to engage in specialist training to continue to support families and children who work with external partners.
We use data information to support children as this allows us to understand the groups, and individuals, who require specific programmes of intervention. Reviewing each programme allows us to understand the effectiveness of support and change what is not working.
Finally, we train and support all staff to understand the 'root cause' of concerns. Staff use the wider curriculum to allow all children to feel valued and accept themselves. We celebrate attendance success and ensure children returning from long absences receive a planned transition.
From September 2022, the DFE: Working Together to Improve Attendance paper replaced all previous guidance on school attendance except for statutory guidance for parental responsibility measures. The Secretary of State has committed to it becoming statutory from at least September 2023.
The table above identifies how the 5 Foundations of Effective Attendance Practice underpins the DFE 2022 paper in meeting the summary of expectations.
The paper can be found here.