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Effectively Managing Attendance and Punctuality and Developing a

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					             -1-




   Effectively Managing

Attendance and Punctuality

                and

       Developing a

    School Attendance

              Policy


           May 2004



      London Borough of Merton
    Education, Leisure and Libraries
                                    -2-




Effectively Managing Attendance and Punctuality
and Developing a School Attendance Policy

                                                         Page

Introduction                                             3

Part 1

Sections 1 – 4     Law policy and practice               4

Part 2

Sections 5 – 10    Registration and absence management   19

Part 3

Sections 11 – 15   Education Welfare Service (EWS)       33


Appendices

Appendix 1         Holidays in term time                        45

Appendix 2         Off roll procedures (and graph)       48

Appendix 3         Dual registration form                50
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Introduction
This document aims to provide guidance to schools on managing and developing
effective systems and policies to promote and ensure attendance and punctuality.
Promoting good attendance is a priority for all schools. The development of an
effective school attendance policy can have a substantial impact on improving rates of
attendance and pupil achievement. A successful policy will form part of a school’s
strategy for managing pupil welfare. It will also relate to policies on behaviour, pastoral
care and special educational needs. Sensitive awareness of pupils’ home backgrounds
and community values, good communication with parents, coupled with high
expectations of pupils to achieve and an effective curriculum offer, need to be
considered when developing a school policy on attendance.

The pupils’ perception and experience of school is important in any approach for
promoting good attendance.           Developing school ethos and relationships, the
involvement of pupils and the attitudes of teachers, are important aspects of school
policy. As in other areas of school life, the expectations of teachers and how those
expectations are communicated to pupils are critical for improving attendance. Poor
attendance seriously affects pupil achievement. The curriculum offers continuity and
progression in pupil learning and any absence from school will adversely affect the
pupils’ ability to participate and benefit from the learning programme. Absenteeism by
some pupils is also disruptive for the progress of others. High levels of fixed term
exclusion count as authorised absence and can disrupt learning. Schools that have
kept children in school, separated form their peers have been able to maintain their
continuity of learning.

Good attendance is also reliant on good administrative systems – which accurately
code absence, where authorised and unauthorised can be challenged as appropriate.
Children and families with significant attendance issues may need multi agency
support. Schools are increasingly becoming the co-ordination point of this work either
through full service schools or in every school thorough the Child Concern Model.

The good practise outlined in this policy has been adopted by many Merton schools to
successfully raise attendance.
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        Part 1



    Sections 1 – 4



Law Policy and Practice
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Section 1: Legislation
The legislative framework that relates to school attendance is extensive. The following
is a summary of the principal legislation and statutory instruments. For further
information, please refer to the appropriate document.

Education Act 1996

Parental Duty (Section 7)
      The parent of every child of compulsory school age (1) shall cause him to
      receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude, and
      to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at
      school or otherwise. 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 term ‘parent’ includes those who have parental responsibility for,
      or care of, a child (which includes the local authority in the case of looked-after
      children). Magistrates may impose a parenting order if this would help prevent
      further pupil absence. The order will require parents to attend counselling or
      guidance sessions for up to three months. It may specify other requirements, for
      example ensuring the child is escorted to and from school for up to twelve
      months.

School Attendance Orders (Sections 437–443)
      A school attendance order (SAO) gives a LEA powers to help it ensure that
      children attend school. A LEA must serve a SAO on the parent of a child of
      compulsory school age who fails to prove the child is receiving suitable
      education, and where the authority believes the child should attend school. The
      attendance order specifies the school (or pupil referral unit) that the child should
      attend. Failure to comply with a SAO is an offence, unless the parent can prove
      the child is receiving suitable education outside school.

Prosecution for irregular attendance (Section 444)
      If a pupil of compulsory school age fails to attend school regularly, the LEA can
      prosecute a parent unless the parent can prove that one of the statutory
      defences2 apply. LEAs must judge whether and when to prosecute on a case.

1 I
 . In law compulsory school age is the term after the child reaches their 5th birthday until the last Friday in June in
the academic school year that the child reaches 16.
2. The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of his absence from the
school (a) with leave, (b) at any time when he was prevented from attending by reason of sickness or any
unavoidable cause, or (c) on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which
his parent belongs.
The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school if the parent proves (a) that the school at
which the child is a registered pupil is not within walking distance of the child’s home, and (b) that no suitable
arrangements have been made by the local education authority for any of the following (i) his transport to and from
the school, (ii) boarding accommodation for him at or near the school, or (iii) enabling him to become a registered
pupil at a school nearer to his home. Walking distance means (a) in relation to a child who is under the age of eight,
means 3.218688 kilometers (two miles), and (b) in relation to a child who has attained the age of eight, means
4.828032 kilometers (three miles), in each case measured by the nearest available route.
If it is proved that the child has no fixed abode, the parent shall be acquitted if he proves (a) that he is engaged in a
trade or business of such a nature as to require him to travel from place to place, (b) that the child has attended at a
school as a registered pupil as regularly as the nature of that trade or business permits, and (c) if the child has
                                                 -6-



         by case basis. Sometimes prosecution will be a last resort; in other cases, it
         may be right to begin prosecution at a much earlier stage to prevent problems
         worsening. Continuity of learning is critical to educational progress, so LEAs
         should adopt a vigorous stance to truancy. A block of prosecutions could help
         prove to parents how seriously the LEA regards truancy and condoned
         unjustified absence. LEAs should make sure local magistrates are aware of
         truancy problems including problems with parentally condoned unjustified
         absence. Parents may be prosecuted for the non attendance of their child/ren.
         On conviction of a Section 444 section 1 offence each parent of each child may
         be fined up to £1,000. In order to prove the higher offence the LEA as the
         prosecutor must show that the parent had knowledge of the child’s absence. On
         conviction of a Section 444 1A offence each parent may be fined up to £2,500
         and or imprisoned for up to 3 months. If they fail to attend court a warrant for
         their arrest may be issued.

Education Act 2002

         LEA’s and the Secretary of State were given powers to intervene in schools
         with serious weaknesses or those placed in special measures. The Secretary
         of State could instruct LEA’s to seek the involvement of external partners to
         enable schools to improve. An Interim Executive Body could replace governing
         bodies that obstruct rather than enable progress.

Children Act 1989

Education Supervision Orders (Section 36)
      An Education Supervision Order (ESO) makes the LEA responsible for
      educating a child of compulsory school age. LEAs may apply for an ESO
      instead of, or as well as, prosecuting parents for poor attendance or failure to
      obey a school attendance order. ESO's should ensure that such a child
      receives full-time education suited to their age, ability, aptitude and any special
      educational needs, and that both parent and child are given sufficient support
      and guidance. A supervising officer is appointed to work with the child and
      family. ESO proceedings are ‘family proceedings’ as defined by the Children
      Act; this means the child's welfare is the main consideration. An ESO normally
      lasts one year or until the young person reaches 16 years of age. ESO’s may
      be extended for up to three years if an LEA applies within three months of the
      expiry date, and may be extended more than once.


Parental Responsibility (Section 3 (1) )

        Parents married to each other at the time of a child’s birth have shared parental
        responsibility.
        Fathers who are unmarried at the time of a child’s birth even if the father’s name
        is on the birth certificate do not have parental responsibility unless (a) he has a



attained the age of six, that he has made at least 200 attendances during the period of 12 months ending with the
date on which the proceedings were instituted.
                                                  -7-



         parental responsibility order, (b) has a residency order or (c) becomes the legal
         guardian of the child.

Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 1995
     These regulations govern the creation and administration of admission and
     attendance registers. They contain:
     The criteria that permit a school to remove a registered pupil from their roll (1).
     The procedures for register inspections.
     The circumstances in which a school must notify the LEA of non attendance or
     the removal of a pupil from roll. (See appendix 2 page 48)
     The preservation of registers (2).

The Local Education Authority (Behaviour Support Plans) Regulations 1998.
      These regulations required each LEA to publish, and keep updated,
      a behaviour support plan.

Crime & Disorder Act 1998
     Introduced Anti Social Behaviour Orders. As part of obtaining an ASBO
     Acceptable Behaviour Contracts were evolved as a source of evidence. These
     have now been used for poor attendance and behaviour in school. They have
     also been incorporated with ABC’s being sought by other agencies such as
     Police and Housing.

Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced in April 2004
      Section 19 relates to the making of Parenting Contracts for exclusion from
      school or truancy.
      Section 20 refers to the opportunity to apply for a Parenting Order in relation to
      exclusion from school or truancy.

Race Relations (amendment) Act 2000
     LEA’s and schools must have regard for the need to eliminate unlawful racial
     discrimination; promote equality of opportunity; and promote good relations
     between people of different racial groups. Schools must assess the impact of
     all policies on race equality.

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2001
      Schools must make reasonable adjustments to overcome disadvantages
      caused by disability. There is a legal duty to avoid discrimination on the grounds
      of disability.

1. (9d) The child has ceased to attend the school and no longer ordinarily resides at a place, which is a reasonable
distance from the school.
(9e) The pupil has failed to attend the school within ten school days immediately following a period of granted
absence for holiday and the Head teacher has not been informed that the pupil cannot attend because of sickness
or unavoidable cause.
(9g) The pupil has been continually absent for a period of four school weeks and both the head teacher and LEA
have after reasonable enquiries been unable to locate the child.
(9k) Where the pupil has been permanently excluded and the governing body has upheld this exclusion.

2.Every entry in the admission or attendance register shall be written in ink and any corrections shall be made in
such a manner that the original entry and the correction are both clearly distinguishable. If the registers are kept by
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means of a computer a print of the attendance with a record of change should be printed regularly. All admission
and attendance registers should be preserved for a period of three years from the date of entry or change.



Section 23 deals with the authority for the issue of Fixed Penalty notices for truancy.

This Act requires that the local authority draw up a code of conduct in respect of the
issue of Fixed Penalty Notices, for consultation with Head Teachers and Police.
Included, though not legally required, will be included a code of conduct in relation to
both Parenting Contracts and Parenting Orders.

Children & Young Persons Act 1933 and Merton’s local bylaws relating to child
employment

Deals with Child Employment and child health and safety. Any employer of a child of
compulsory school age must ensure that they have a work permit which legally entitles
them to work. An employer may be prosecuted for employing children and young
people illegally.

Children (Performance) Regulations 1968 & Children & Young Persons Act 1963
Covers licensing for children employed in entertainment and the licensing of
Matrons/Chaperones. Any child from birth until they cease to be of compulsory school
age who is employed in entertainment including modelling, filming, television work,
sports or music for example must be licensed to do so. The law stated what hour’s
children may work and when they may do this. The production company should apply
for the licence for the child to perform at least 21 days in advance. Those wishing to
become matrons or chaperones require a CRB check, references, passport photo’s,
proof of identification and address and will need to complete an application form.
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Section 2 : Government Guidance
In addition to the legislative framework, a considerable amount of guidance information
is available. For full details, please refer to the appropriate documents.

DfEE in Circular 1/98 (LEA Behaviour Support Plans).
      In the section relating to school attendance, the DfEE states, “LEAs are
      responsible in law for enforcing the regular school attendance of registered
      pupils of compulsory school age. Plans should therefore include details of the
      LEA’s policy for encouraging regular and punctual attendance, including its
      policy on prosecution and the use of education supervision orders, the role of
      schools in monitoring attendance, and information as to the point at which the
      LEA’s education welfare service (or its equivalent) will become involved with
      individual pupils. Where formal referral systems and service level agreements
      for schools and the education welfare service exist, these should be referred to.
      Plans should also set out how education welfare officers (EWO's, known in
      some authorities as education social workers) will work with schools, families
      and pupils to deal with attendance issues. If special arrangements apply in
      relation to particular groups (such as young carers), these should be set out.
      Any policy or plans to change the balance of interventions on attendance
      matters—for instance, to give more emphasis to unauthorised absence from
      primary school or during transition to secondary school—should be mentioned”.

DfEE circular 10/99 (Social Inclusion: Pupil Support).
      The governing body should “advise the head teacher of their views on specific
      measures for promoting good behaviour. This might include such issues as
      bullying, racial or sexual harassment, and maintaining regular attendance. The
      governing body also has a general duty to ensure the school follows policies to
      promote good behaviour and discipline among pupils”.

DfEE circular 11/99 (Social Inclusion: Pupil Support).
      The government's priority in respect of school attendance is to reduce the
      current high levels of unauthorised absence. National and LEA-level targets
      have been set to secure a one third reduction by 2002. The government looks
      to LEAs, through their education welfare services (EWS), to focus their efforts
      on achieving these targets.

      “Schools should keep their attendance registers secure and retain them for
      three years from the last date of entry. EWO’s should check registers regularly
      to ensure that they are being completed in accordance with the school's policy
      and to identify any patterns of absence which have not already been notified”.

      “LEAs need to co-operate about any attendance problems, and where many
      children attend school in neighbouring authority areas, they should have
      standing arrangements for co-ordination to prevent truancy. Early warning of
      attendance problems will normally be to the LEA where the pupil attends
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        school, but any necessary legal action is the responsibility of the LEA where the
        child lives”.3

Practice for Securing Effective Relationships Between LEAs and Maintained
Schools 1999
      “The Secretary of State will make regulations requiring governing bodies of
      maintained schools to set targets for a reduction in unauthorised absence on
      the part of registered day pupils of compulsory school age. The power will be
      applied only where a school has an attendance record significantly below the
      national average. The trigger point for the imposition of this requirement will be
      set out in regulations. The actual target itself will be for the governing body to
      decide in the light of local circumstances and in discussion with the LEA. The
      Government will however expect the target to be challenging. As with LEA
      targets, the national objective of reducing unauthorised absence by one third by
      the year 2002 should be borne in mind and the school-level target will clearly
      need to reflect, and contribute to, LEA targets. There will therefore be a
      framework within which agreement can be reached. If there is disagreement,
      this should be resolved through discussion with the Education Welfare Service.
      Good practice at school level needs to be mirrored by multi-agency approaches
      to support schools. The Behaviour Support Plan of the LEA will identify local
      agencies that can help schools with pupils’ behavioural difficulties, including
      poor attendance. The education welfare service (EWS), educational
      psychologists, health workers, social services departments and child and
      adolescent mental health services each make distinct contributions”.




3
 10/99 and 11/99 are being updated in 2004. The sections on Behaviour and the role of the LEA in
managing reintegration and PRU's has been published. New guidance is available on the use of
Alternative education, however the sections on attendance at the time of this policy have not been
published, Always refer to DfES websites to check current guidance.
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Section 3: What Improves Attendance

Work between schools
Schools need to set up expectations for attendance early in primary school including
Nursery and Reception. Punctuality has been highlighted as an issue in year 1 in some
schools.

Reducing transfers between schools of non attenders unless arrangements have been
agreed. This will assist in preventing children with attendance issues being moved
between schools instead of resolving the issues.

Support for transitions of vulnerable pupils needs to communicate what has worked
and what are the issues as these children move from primary to secondary. Children
with attachment issues may need additional help and support to transfer to a new
environment.


School policies and procedures

There needs to be a whole school approach – clear policies with daily routines
providing consistency in registration procedure, clearly explained to all staff and where
all absences are vigorously followed up resulting in an attendance culture that
supports and challenges students and parents.

-   Involvement of the senior management team.
-   Identify a senior member of staff with oversight and responsibility for attendance.
-   Establish clear lines of responsibility and procedures across the school office,
    heads of year/ teachers, class teachers and support staff. Each person needs to
    be clear about their role and how others depend upon them. This includes
    registers being returned to the central collection point as soon as possible after
    each registration period.
-   Ensure good communication within the school.
-   Ensure the attendance policy is adopted as an integral part of the pastoral policy of
    the school and that the SENCO is involved with all non-attendance issues of
    children with Special Educational Needs.
-   Use every public forum to comment on attendance and punctuality (parents’
    meetings, assemblies, etc.).
-   Regularly monitor the effective use of the school’s registration system.
-   Policy clearly makes the link between performance and attendance. “Action to
    improve attendance and behaviour is most effective when it is linked to well
    designed efforts to improve attitudes to learning and attainment” OFSTED.
-   Attendance data is linked to performance data and used for target setting.
-   Policy focuses on punctuality and attendance, getting those achieving attendance
    rates in the 90’s to move towards 100%, as well as those achieving attendance
    rates of 50% to increase to 60% for example.

-   Use of IT – use of Admin staff to do first day calling to support teachers/ senior
    managers by producing reports that they can analyse.
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-   Senior managers to analyse data to generate action. Is the non attendance class
    based, subject based, related to lunchtimes, lack of pre / post school provision,
    related to registration practise in tutor groups, in assemblies, supply teachers,
    curriculum areas?
-   Termly data is analysed by all senior managers and governors to find patterns and
    generate action. Comparisons are made with like schools and action is included in
    the JAR and school development plans as appropriate. A wide range of reports are
    possible from all schools attendance systems that allow the senior manager to
    check coding as well as patterns of attendance. If schools would like advice on
    producing reports or analysing the data they may contact the Educational Welfare
    and/or Research and Statistics.

-   Schools should actively encourage parents to make contact on the first day of their
    child’s absence and ensure that the procedure for doing so is clearly
    communicated to the parent and pupils.
-   First day contact by a respected member of the school staff has been shown to
    significantly improve attendance.
-   Publish attendance figures and focus on pupil achievements.
-   Encourage competition between year groups and class groups.
-   Frequently use merits or similar systems to reward good attendance and
    punctuality.
-   Recognise and praise good attendance and punctuality.
-   Provide detailed information to parents as part of the pupil’s annual report.
-   Governors taking a leading role in considering attendance issue especially a
    school response to holidays.


Welcoming school
A school needs to ensure that all it pupils and parents feel welcomed and wanted:
– School environment, which is welcoming – including where a child who has been
   permanently excluded from another school is welcomed.
– Staff frequently welcome pupils into the school at the beginning of the day and
   there is a formal conclusion or summing up of the pupils’ experience at the end of
   the day.
– School staff are aware of, and plan for, cultural and religious events and occasions
   when particular pupils are likely to be absent, or by celebrating them in school
   encourage children to attend.
– Curriculum that motivates and is differentiated to meet the needs of students.
– Reward systems which value academic and non academic progress.
– Low levels of fixed term exclusions, causing less disruption.
– Develop effective reintegration systems to help all returning and new pupils feel
   part of the school. Refer to the LEA Reintegration, Teenage Pregnancy and
   Medical guidelines. - Systems to help non attendees/ excludees catch up missed
   work.
– There is a good level of adult supervision and presence around the school at all
   times, with positive interaction, which has a powerful influence on pupils, especially
   as they enter and leave the school. Very few children leave the site to go out during
   lunchtime. Potentially threatening areas of the school supervised, corridors
   supervised at lesson change over.
– School staff lead by example and are punctual and have good attendance.
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–   Develop effective home school links – by visiting homes, in conjunction with the
    EWO where necessary, if it will improve communication and help to improve pupils’
    achievement and attendance. See a family where they feel safe, so long as staff
    are safe to do so.


Support for children
A school needs to value and involve its pupils so that the pupils feel that the school is
theirs:
 - Involvement of the pupils.
 - Seek the views of pupils through questionnaires, discussion, and school council
    meetings.
 - Seriously consider and implement when appropriate, pupil suggestions for school
    improvements.
 - Give pupils responsibilities and encourage them to take an active part in the life of
    the school.
 - Invite feedback from pupils who usually attend school.
 - Develop quiet areas, social areas and facilities for pupils.
 - Provide a range of planned games, leisure and play facilities during breaks,
    lunches and after school that are particularly targeted at poor attendees and
    vulnerable children so that they feel part of the school. These activities may also
    build on the strengths of less academically able pupils.
 - Provide peer counselling/ peer playground work – to reduce isolation.
 - Provide frequent feedback to pupils on their progress, referring to attendance.
 - Enable pupils to make some choices to develop their own self-control.
 - Develop an effective anti bullying policy in line with the LEA anti bullying policy.
 - In school counselling.
 - Peer support processes set up.
 - Specific work targeted at vulnerable groups: young carers, travellers.
 - Designated teacher for Children In Public Care to monitor the attendance of all
    children in care in the school and to inform the EWS of any child that has been
    absent for a total of more than 10 days in any one academic year.
 - Designated teacher for child protection to monitor attendance of those pupils on
    the child protection register.
 - School to ensure that an appropriate teacher makes referrals to the medical group
    of the SMART Centre.
 - Use of Alternative education projects for KS4 long term non attendees to re –
    engage.


Support for parents
Parents need to be involved in the learning of their own children, supported and
challenged:
 - Involvement of parents.
 - Communicate frequently with parents about positive achievements and
    improvements and in ways that emphasise the responsibility and role of parents in
    partnership with the school.
 - Ensure parents are welcomed into the school and can gain easy access to staff.
 - Create a parents’ room.
                                      - 14 -



-   Support parents in understanding their role in promoting good attendance by
    including attendance and punctuality as part of the home school agreement, and
    the link to academic success.
-   There are clear expectations for parents and consistent follow up to counter any
    casual attitudes towards school attendance that parents may not challenge.
-   Home school relationships set up and maintained especially with parents who are
    hostile/ defensive about school.
-   Complaints dealt with promptly and fairly.
-   Direct help for parents to cope with their children: play to adolescents.
-   Consideration of parent’s culture, language and any special needs that they may
    have.
-   Peer support processes are encouraged between parents.


Support for teachers
Teachers need clear guidelines and expectations:
– Clear written daily routines, especially for supply staff – include how to fill in optical
   mark sheet, or electronic registration systems.
– Clear coding systems.
– Clear communication system between tutor and office.
– Simple late system.
– Use of admin staff to support Tutors/ pastoral staff.
– Non contact time for pastoral staff.
– Use of Connexions PA's, learning mentors/ youth workers to mentor young people
   and help them cope emotionally with school / parents close 1:1 support.
– Training in use of IT systems.
– Behaviour training.
– Tutors have a clear role with a planned programme to start each day and a
   planned PHSE curriculum. “form tutors have a significant influence on pupil’s
   attitudes and progress” OFSTED.


Working with Education Welfare and other agencies
Schools and agencies must find ways to work together to support children, families
and communities:
– Clear criteria for which pupils a school is dealing with and which pupils require
   EWS support.
– Regular meetings with a senior manager to have an overview of attendance.
– Regular referrals.
– Education Welfare Officers used to support whole school policy not just hard
   cases.
– Focus on attendance issues.
– Truancy patrols.
– Targeting work at vulnerable pupils prior to non attendance becoming entrenched
   using project or group working.
– Good practise is shared across LEA/ nationally.
– Legal enforcement.
                                  - 15 -



Other agencies
- Ensuring all staff are fully aware of the LEA and ACPC procedures for Child
   Protection.
- Attendance at meetings with social services, health, youth offending service and
   network meetings.
- Effective Pastoral Support Programme systems involving outside agencies.
- Effective planning for young carers and children in public care.
- Effective Special Education Needs support in school.
- Consider the role of the school as the hub of the community and the agencies that
   serve it.

Sources:
More Willingly to school 1995, Improving Attendance And Behaviour in Secondary
schools, KS3 and Primary Behaviour and Attendance strategies, OFSTED 2001.
                                       - 16 -




Section 4: Developing A School Policy
An attendance policy communicates values and expectations to the school community
and outlines strategies for promoting attendance. It is part of a framework of school
policy documents. The development of an attendance policy and strategies to improve
attendance will also be managed and implemented within the framework of the
School’s Development Plan.

When drawing up an attendance policy schools may wish to consider the following:

   •   How you communicate the school’s belief that education is important.
   •   Stating why the school thinks attendance is important.
   •   Using language that is accessible to all.
   •   Positively phrasing statements.
   •   How the policy integrates with all other school policies.
   •   Where the additional financial and staffing resources will be procured.


MODEL FOR ATTENDANCE POLICY
INTRODUCTION

This may include:
Your overall admission statement or schools motto
How you communicate your belief that education is important
The link between attendance and attainment
The start and finish of school sessions
When parent will be provided with dates of school terms and INSET dates.


AIMS AND TARGETS

These may include:
Ensuring that parents, pupils and all school staff understand the procedures and expectations
about attendance.
How you will communicate these expectations to pupils, students and staff.


RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES, ROLES AND EXPECTATIONS

These may include:
The LEA’s responsibility to offer educational provision for those of compulsory school age.
The parents right to express a preference for a school
The legal position (Education Act 1996) and that parents are responsible for ensuring their
children attend.
The legal position regarding taking a register (Pupil Regulations 1995).
Who in the school has responsibility for managing attendance overall and how this is
delegated.
What the parent and students can expect from the school.
What the school expects from its students.
                                       - 17 -



What they expect form tutors to do.
What the attendance officer is or the person with responsibility for attendance will do.
What the Education Welfare officer will do.
What are acceptable reasons for absence (authorisable) and what are unacceptable reasons
for absence (unauthorisable).
Taking family holidays in term time.
Dental, optical and doctor’s appointments in school time.


PROCEDURES – WHO DOES WHAT & WHEN

This may include:
• The start and finish times of the school day including any breaks.
• The stages, processes and staffing involved in registration.
• A system for lateness including the time the register closes
• Who the parent should contact on the first day of their child’s absence.
• When the school will contact the parent if the child fails to arrive at school.
• What parents should do if they don’t have access to a phone or are unable to write an
    explanation for the absence.
• Signing in and signing out systems.
• How and when problems with attendance are communicated to parents.
• What processes are set up to reintegrate students returning to school after absence.
•


STRATEGIES USED BY THE SCHOOL IN THE AREA OF ATTENDANCE AND
PUNCTUALITY

This may include:
• How will this policy integrate with other policies which impact upon attendance e.g.
• Rewards and incentives.
• First day contact schemes.
• Attendance support groups.
• Individual target setting.
• Meeting with students and parents.
• Referrals to other support networks.
• Referral to EWS.
• Parent and community initiatives.
• Reintegration programmes.
• Sanctions.


MONITORING, EVALUATION, REFLECTIONS AND DEVELOPMENT

This may include:
• HOW the school will monitor the effectiveness of the policy.
• When will monitoring and evaluation take place and who will carry this out?
• Which students, staff, parents, governors and the wider community will be involved?
• Will you need additional funds to carry this out?
• How are any evaluations to be fed back into the various stages of the policy?
                                       - 18 -



It is clear that the complex nature of attendance issues requires the involvement of parents,
pupils, teachers and support staff, as well as external agencies, in the process of developing
an effective school policy. The policy should give clear guidance on practice and be easily
communicated to parents, pupils and staff.

Conclusion
Research has shown that schools’ success in improving attendance depends on continual
attention to detail, consistent applications of agreed procedures and most of all the provision
of a stimulating and appropriate curriculum for the needs of all pupils. Attempts to maintain
pupils’ regular attendance are an important equal opportunity issue for schools and the LEA in
ensuring justice, equal rights and access for all pupils. Approaches to promoting good
attendance are one of the ways in which schools act to deliver these objectives.
              - 19 -




              Part 2




           Section 5 – 10


Registration and absence management
                                     - 20 -




    Section 5:   Recommended Registration Procedures
   for Manual Registers
The register is a legal document that must be maintained in a good condition, kept
accurately and marked in ink. The register may be required in a court of law as
evidence where the LEA is prosecuting a parent / carer for non attendance.

   •   Legally registers should be kept for a minimum of 3 years from the last date of
       entry. Schools may wish to keep records for longer than this especially where
       students are attending for 6 years at primary and 5 years at secondary school.
   •   DfES guidelines recommend that schools keep their register open for a
       maximum of 30 minutes at the start of the school day. Schools are free to set
       shorter periods if they wish.
   •   The class teacher or another member of staff, who is informed of the
       registration procedure, may complete the register. Staff should never allow a
       student to mark a register.
   •   Registers must be taken twice daily. A register must be taken at the start of the
       school day and again in the afternoon.
   •   Pupils should be marked as either present or absent. Blank spaces should not
       be left in the register.
   •   Black ink should be used to mark students as present.
   •   Red ink should be used to circle absences
   •   Tippex, pencil and other coloured inks should not be used
   •   Where a pupil arrives late before the close of registration they should be
       marked as Late (L) for the session.
   •   Where a pupil arrives after registration having attended a doctors, dental,
       optical or other medical appointment the code (S) may be used.
   •   Where a student arrives after the close of register without a valid authorisable
       reason an unauthorised late absent mark should be applied (@).
   •   Teachers should retain and record reasons for absence for one academic year.

Recommended Registration Procedures for Computerised Registration Systems

The register is a legal document that must be maintained in a good condition, kept
accurately. The register may be required in a court of law as evidence where the LEA
is prosecuting a parent / carer for non attendance.

   •   Where schools keep a computerised registration system they should print out a
       hard copy of the original entry and a record of change on a monthly basis.
   •   Legally registers should be kept for a minimum of 3 years from the last date of
       entry. Schools may wish to keep records for longer than this especially where
       students are attending for 6 years at primary and 5 years at secondary school.
   •   DfES guidelines recommend that schools keep their register open for a
       maximum of 30 minutes at the start of the school day. Schools are free to set
       shorter periods if they wish.
   •   The class teacher or another member of staff, who is informed of the
       registration procedure, may complete the register. Staff should never allow a
       student to mark a register.
                                     - 21 -



   •   Registers must be taken twice daily. A register must be taken at the start of the
       school day and again in the afternoon.
   •   Pupils should be marked as either present or absent. Blank spaces should not
       be left in the register.
   •   Attendance data from registers or OMR sheets should be entered into the
       computer daily in a secondary school and weekly in a primary school
   •   Teachers should record and store explanations for absence and retain this for
       one academic year.
   •   Schools should use the computerised registration system to generate letters
       about absence.
   •   Where a pupil arrives late before the close of registration they should be
       marked as Late (L) for the session.
   •   Where a pupil arrives after registration having attended a doctors, dental,
       optical or other medical appointment the code (S) may be used.
   •   Where a student arrives after the close of register without a valid authorisable
       reason an unauthorised late absent mark (@) should be applied.



Statutory Duties to Inspect Register

The LEA has a statutory responsibility to inspect manual or computerised registration
systems. Schools legally have to make registers available to HMI and the LEA when
required. The EWS will conduct termly inspections of registers and make any
observations necessary to ensure that schools comply with legal requirements and are
implementing good practice using the following format:
                                    - 22 -




Section 6: Register Inspection – Manual System REG-INS1
School

Academic Year

Term

                       The Local Education Authority has a duty to inspect school
                       registers. The Education Welfare Service will conduct
                       inspections of the school’s registration system.

1. All registers were available for inspection at the          Yes   No
   approved central collection point.
2. All registers are maintained in good condition.             Yes No
   (Appearance and state of repair).
3. The name of the school, the class/form and the national     Yes No
   curriculum year is clearly recorded on front cover of all
   registers.
4. Pupil names, dates of birth and addresses are clearly       Yes No
   recorded in an easily accessible place.
5. Information relating to the school year, term, week and     Yes No
   day is recorded in all registers.
6. Summary information relating to pupil attendances and       Yes No
   absences is recorded in all registers.
7. All registers were complete and up to date.                 Yes No

8. All registers are completed in permanent ink and            Yes No
    corrections are made in a manner that preserves the
    original entry.
9. Authorised and unauthorised absence codes are               Yes No
    correctly used in all registers.
10. Authorised and unauthorised lateness codes are             Yes No
    correctly used in all registers.
11. Evidence relating to the management of absence and         Yes No
    lateness was correctly recorded in pupil files. (Random
    Sample)

If the answer to any on the above statements is no, please refer to the
supplementary sheet attached.
                      - 23 -




Supplementary Sheet

School

Academic Year

Term
                                    - 24 -


Section 7: Register Inspection – Computerised System
           REG-INS2

School

Academic Year

Term

                       The Local Education Authority has a duty to inspect school
                       registers. The Education Welfare Service will conduct
                       inspections of the school’s registration system.

1. All collection registers were available for inspection at    Yes No
   the approved central collection point.
2. Access to the computerised system was available at the       Yes No
   time of inspection.
3. All collection registers are maintained in good condition.   Yes No
   (Appearance and state of repair).
4. All collection registers were easily identifiable (Class,    Yes No
   tutor etc.).
5. All collection registers were complete and up to date.       Yes No

6. Pupil names, dates of birth and addresses are easily         Yes No
    accessible.
7. The official registers were printed in accordance with       Yes No
    DfES requirements. (Monthly and including the record of
    change).
8. Statistical information relating to attendance, absence      Yes No
    and the usage of absence codes has been prepared and
    forwarded to the LEA at the end of each half term.
9. Authorised and unauthorised absence codes are                Yes No
    correctly used in all official registers.
10. Authorised and unauthorised lateness codes are              Yes No
    correctly used in all official registers.
11. Evidence relating to the management of absence and          Yes No
    lateness was correctly recorded in pupil files. (Random
    Sample)

If the answer to any on the above statements is no, please refer to the
supplementary sheet attached.




                                                                                    24
                      - 25 -

Supplementary Sheet

School

Academic Year

Term




                               25
                                     - 26 -


Section 8 : Attendance codes for SIMS DOS
Attendance codes for SIMS DOS as recommended by the EWS January 2004

CODE     DESCRIPTION                     STATISTICAL            PHYSICAL MEANING
                                         MEANING
!        No Attendance Required          Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                         Required
#        Holiday For All                 Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                         Required
*        Not On Roll                     Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                         Required
-        All Should Attend               Authorised Absence     No Mark For Session
/        Present                         Present                In For Whole Session
\        Present                         Present                In For Whole Session
@        Late (After Reg Closed)         Unauthorised Absence   Late For Session
B        AEAMertonLink/yr11/Franc        Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
         hise/Speech therapy             Activity
C        Other Authorised                Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
         Circumstances
E        Excluded                        Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
H        Holiday (Annual                 Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
         Family)(Agreed)
I        Interview                       Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
         (School/College/Work)           Activity
L        Late (Before Reg Closed)        Present                Late For Session
M        Medical/Dental (Full            Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
         Session+)
N        No Reason Yet Provided          Unauthorised Absence   Out Whole Session
         For Abs
O        Unauthorised                    Unauthorised Absence   Out Whole Session
         Circumstances
P        Sport Activity - Out Session    Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
                                         Activity
R        Religious Observance            Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
         (Parent)
S        Treatment (Part Session)        Present                Late For Session
T        Traveller Absence               Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
V        Visit – Educational             Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
                                         Activity
W        Work Experience / Study         Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
         Leave                           Activity
X        Only Staff Should Attend        Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                         Required
Y        Enforced Closure                Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                         Required
Z        Not Part Of School's Year       Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                         Required


                                                                                       26
                                  - 27 -

Section 9 : Attendance codes for SIMS Windows
Attendance codes for SIMS Windows as recommended by the EWS September 2004

COD    DESCRIPTION                    STATISTICAL            PHYSICAL MEANING
E                                     MEANING
!      No Attendance Required         Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                      Required
#      Holiday For All                Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                      Required
*      Not On Roll                    Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                      Required
-      All Should Attend              No mark                No Mark For Session
/      Present (am)                   Present                In For Whole Session
\      Present (pm)                   Present                In for Whole Session
@      Late (After Reg Closed)        Unauthorised Absence   Late For Session
B      AEA-Merton Link                Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
       /Y11/Franchise/Speech          Activity
       therapy
C      Other Authorised               Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
       Circumstances
D      Undefined
E      Excluded                       Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
G      Undefined
H      Holiday(Annual                 Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
       Family)(Agreed)
I      Interview                      Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
       (School/College/Work)          Activity
L      Late (Before Reg Closed)       Present                Late For Session
M      Medical/Dental (Full           Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
       Session+)
N      No Reason Yet Provided For     Unauthorised Absence   Out Whole Session
       Abs
O      Unauthorised Circumstances     Unauthorised Absence   Out Whole Session
P      Sport Activity - Out Session   Approved Education     Out Whole Session
                                      Activity
R      Religious Observance           Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
       (Parent)
S      Treatment (Part Session)       Present                Late For Session
T      Traveller Absence              Authorised Absence     Out Whole Session
V      Visit – Educational            Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
                                      Activity
W      Work Experience / Study        Approved Educational   Out Whole Session
       Leave                          Activity
X      Only Staff Should Attend       Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                      Required
Y      Enforced Closure               Attendance Not         Out Whole Session
                                      Required
Z      Undefined


                                                                                    27
                            - 28 -

Section 10: ABSENCE CATEGORISATION ADVICE – MAY 2004

!   NO ATTENDANCE      Attendance not This code may be used to facilitate a
    REQUIRED           required       staggered or phased entry plan for
                                      children entering reception. Alternatively
                                      where the SEN panel have agreed that
                                      mainstream education is no longer
                                      appropriate and the student is awaiting
                                      placement.

#   HOLIDAY FOR ALL    Attendance not This code should be used to denote
                       required       school holidays.

*   NOT ON ROLL        Attendance not This code should be used for students
                       required       who start late or leave before the end of
                                      the academic year. It can also be used
                                      where students in the nursery are only on
                                      roll for one session.

-   ALL SHOULD         Attendance      This code shows up where there is a
    ATTEND             required but no missing mark and counts as an
                       mark entered    authorised  absence  for   statistical
                                       purposes.

/   PRESENT                             This code should be used when students
\                      Present          are present for registration.

@ LATE                 Unauthorised     Guidelines from the DfES suggest that
  (UNAUTHORISED )      absence          registers are left open for up to 30
                                        minutes following the end of the
                                        registration period but that schools may
                                        set a shorter period if they wish. Where
                                        pupils miss registration and fail to provide
                                        an adequate explanation this constitutes
                                        unauthorised absence even though the
                                        pupil is now on site.

B   AEA-MERTON LINK/ Approved           This code may be used where pupils
    yr 11/ FRANCHISE/ Educational       attend a college link course or alternative
    SPEECH THERAPY    Activity          education (YDC)/ SMART for part of the
                                        week. Alternatively this could be used for
                                        children who are attending special tuition
                                        for dyslexic children or speech therapy.

C   OTHER AUTHORISED Authorised         This code should only be used in
    CIRCUMSTANCES    absence            exceptional circumstances.
                                        Schools should consider the nature of the
                                        event, its frequency and the overall
                                        attendance pattern of the pupil.

                                        Weddings, graduation of a parent or
                                        sibling, bereavement, funeral, young
                                                                                 28
                            - 29 -
                                     carer, maternity leave, public performance
                                     (with licence), prison visit to immediate
                                     family member if no alternate weekend
                                     visit can be offered.

E   EXCLUDED           Authorised    This code may only be used when a child
    (FORMAL)           absence       is legally excluded from school and can
                                     only be used for the duration of the
                                     exclusion period itself. While a pupil
                                     remains on the school roll, teachers are
                                     responsible for setting work for the
                                     excluded pupil.
                                     In the case of those students who are
                                     permanently excluded the absence is
                                     treated as authorised while any appeal is
                                     in progress. If the permanent exclusion is
                                     upheld the pupils name may be removed
                                     on the following school day.

H   ANNUAL FAMILY      Authorised    Parents are not entitled to withdraw pupils
    HOLIDAY (AGREED)   Absence       for holidays during term time. Schools
                                     may grant up to 10 days of annual leave
                                     for one family holiday in any year at the
                                     discretion of the Head Teacher. Only in
                                     exceptional circumstances may schools
                                     agree leave in excess of ten school days.
                                     Each request for leave of absence should
                                     be considered individually. Schools
                                     should have regard to continuity of
                                     learning and take into account
                                      (1) the age of the child,
                                      (2) the time of year proposed for the trip,
                                      (3) if the child is in examination years
                                     (SATs 2, 6 & 9) or taking GCSE’s (yr.10 &
                                     11) or transferring from nursery to
                                     reception, reception to Year 1 or to
                                     Secondary school (yr.7)
                                     (4)the overall attendance pattern of the
                                     pupil,
                                      (5) the nature of the holiday and parental
                                          wishes.
                                     Where a parent fails to ask for a holiday in
                                     advance, or where a school does not
                                     grant leave of absence and the parent
                                     takes the child away the absence should
                                     be recorded as unauthorised.
                                     School should confirm in advance and in
                                     writing to the parent if the request is
                                     granted and the absence will be
                                     authorised or if they have declined the
                                     request and the absence will be
                                     unauthorised.

                                                                              29
                              - 30 -
I   INTERVIEW            Approved       This code may be used where the school
                         Educational    have agreed that the pupil may attend an
                         Activity       interview or sit entrance exams for
                                        admission     to   another      educational
                                        establishment. For pupils in year 10 it is
                                        appropriate to authorise interviews prior to
                                        work experience. For year 11 pupils it is
                                        appropriate to authorise interviews with
                                        prospective employers.

    LATE                 Present        This code may be used where the pupil
L                                       arrives after the registration period but
                                        within a maximum of 30 minutes after the
                                        start of a school day. Schools should
                                        actively discourage and be alert to late
                                        arrivals.     Schools should set up
                                        procedures for dealing with late arrivals
                                        signing in.


    MEDICAL /            Authorised     This code should be used when a child is
M   DENTAL               Absence        absent for a whole session due to illness,
    (out full session)                  medical or treatment. A pupil receiving
                                        medical treatment on site should be
                                        marked “present”.
                                        If a pupil is present for registration but
                                        returns home due to illness or attends a
                                        medical, optical or dental appointment no
                                        absence should be recorded.
                                        Schools should be clear with students and
                                        parents about what the view is on
                                        arranging appointments in school time
                                        and this should be clearly communicated.
                                        Schools should expect to see an
                                        appointment card before authorising the
                                        absence.
                                        Schools should ensure that they record
                                        students entering, leaving or returning to
                                        the school site as a matter of good
                                        practice and to ensure heath and safety.
                                        If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt,
                                        or if a pattern of medical absence is
                                        developing, schools may meet with
                                        parents and students to investigate
                                        problems. Schools may ask for medical
                                        evidence to be provided for the absence.
                                        Schools may wish to refer to the school
                                        nurse or the EWO if they meet the referral
                                        criteria.

N   NO REASON YET        Unauthorised   This code should be used when a student
    PROVIDED FOR         Absence        is absent from school and no reason has
    ABSENCE                             yet been provided for this absence. As
                                                                                    30
                           - 31 -
                                     this is recorded as an unauthorised
                                     absence schools should endeavour to
                                     seek an explanation for the absence at
                                     the earliest opportunity to enable the N
                                     code to be changed. If no explanation is
                                     forthcoming in a four-week period the N
                                     code should be changed to O. By the end
                                     of the academic year there should be no
                                     N codes from September-June inclusive.

O   UNAUTHORISED      Unauthorised   This code may be used for all absences
    CIRCUMSTANCES     Absence        that the school considers to be
                                     unauthorised. A parent/carer may offer an
                                     explanation to the school. The school
                                     should make a decision based on the
                                     advice given under each category if the
                                     absence may be authorised. The school
                                     should not authorise the absence if they
                                     do not believe the reason given or for the
                                     following reasons: truancy, not attending
                                     whilst waiting for a transfer to another
                                     school, not returning on a specified date
                                     after exclusion, unauthorised lateness,
                                     oversleeping, shopping (school uniform,
                                     shoes, Christmas or birthday), birthday of
                                     student, sibling or parent, prison visit to
                                     boyfriend or girlfriend, unauthorised
                                     holiday, car breaking down for the whole
                                     day. Parents who fail to provide an
                                     explanation for the absence must be
                                     advised that the absence will be recorded
                                     as unauthorised. Any absence still
                                     unexplained after 4 weeks should be
                                     recorded as unauthorised.

P   SPORTS ACTIVITY   Approved       This code may be used when a pupil is
                      Educational    participating in a sporting activity that is
                      Activity       being supervised by school staff.

R   RELIGIOUS         Authorised     This code may be used when the religious
    OBSERVANCE        Absence        body the parents belong to has a day set
                                     aside exclusively for religious observance
                                     or a religious festival. This should not be
                                     used where parents withdraw children to
                                     avoid certain religious festivals.

S   TREATMENT         Present        This code may be used when students
    (part session)                   arrive within one and a half hours of the
                                     start of the school day having been to the
                                     doctors, dentists, opticians and can
                                     provide an appointment card to confirm
                                     this.

                                                                              31
                           - 32 -


T   TRAVELLER         Authorised      This code may be used where traveller
    ABSENCE           Absence         families are in the process of travelling or
                                      engaged in work or where the child is dual
                                      registered and away from their base
                                      school. For specific advice on Traveller
                                      Education contact Kate Evans – Merton
                                      and Sutton Traveller Education Service
                                      on 0208-648-3267

    ONLY STAFF        Attendance Not This code should be used for INSET
X   SHOULD ATTEND     Required       days.

  WORK EXPERIENCE / Approved          This code may be used for students who
W STUDY LEAVE       Educational       are     undertaking    approved      work
                    Activity          experience that is supervised by the
                                      school or LEA. It should not be used
                                      where parents are taking their children to
                                      work with them or providing unofficial
                                      work experience that hasn’t been agreed
                                      by the school.
                                      This code may be used where schools
                                      are supervising study leave just before
                                      public examinations.

Y   ENFORCED          Attendance not This code may be used when the whole
    CLOSURE           required       school is forced to close. This could be
    (whole school)                   because of an election, no water or
                                     heating or flooding etc.




                                                                               32
        - 33 -




         Part 3




    Sections 11 – 15


Education Welfare Service




                            33
                                    - 34 -




Section 11: School Based Intervention and Referrals to EWS
Before a referral is made to the Education Welfare Service we would expect the school to
have attempted to address any attendance or punctuality issues. School based
interventions should include the following:

   •   Ensuring an accurate register is taken every morning and every afternoon.
   •   A policy for dealing with late arrivals and how this has been implemented.
   •   Asking parent / carers to contact the school on the first day of absence and
       ensuring that a policy is developed to facilitate this.
   •   Making contact with parents by telephone, letter or in person on the first day of a
       students absence.
   •   Discussions with the student about your concerns and in school strategies to
       support and promote attendance.
   •   Meeting with parents / carers or others involved in the child’s care to discuss
       attendance and punctuality issues and other factors that may be effecting
       attendance and to work towards developing and implementing a plan to support
       attendance.
   •   Discussions with the EWO for general advice and suggestions on other strategies
       that may be tried before a referral is considered.


If the above strategies have failed to improve the student’s attendance and the school
consider it appropriate to make a referral to the EWS the school should complete the
referral form as thoroughly as possible.

   •   Referral should be clearly signed and dated by the school and state who the contact
       person is within the school.
   •   The senior manager with responsibility for attendance should have a clear overview
       of the number of referrals being made by the school and may need to prioritise
       cases with the EWO to ensure that a workable case load may be maintained.
   •   The first page of the referral should include all the students, parents /carers and
       siblings details if known and an indication if they belong to a vulnerable group.
   •   The second page requires details of all school based interventions, the presenting
       problems, attendance issues, contact with parents/ carers, pupil’s relationships,
       attainment and other issues that are pertinent to the case.
   •    A certificate of attendance should be attached, as should any copies of letters.
   •    Referrals that don’t comply with the requirements of the service will be returned
       thus delaying any intervention.




                                                                                       34
                                        - 35 -

Section 12: Referral from school
London Borough of Merton, Education Welfare Service
Referral From School                             OPEN TO CLIENT
To                                 Education Welfare Service, London Borough of Merton,
                                   Education Leisure and Libraries, Merton Civic Centre,
                                   London Road, Morden, Surrey SM4 5DX

From (School)                                     Staff Contact’s Name




Subject Child
Last name                                        First name

Date of Birth                                    Gender                     Male     Female
Address

NC Year                                          Registration Group
Looked After                                     SEN
Child Protection                                 Exclusion from school
Young Carer                                      Traveller


1.           Parent or Other Significant Adult     2.           Parent or Other Significant Adult
Title                                            Title
Last name                                        Last name

First name                                       First name

Gender                      Male    Female       Gender                        Male     Female
Address                                          Address

Telephone Number                                 Telephone Number
Ethnicity                                        Ethnicity
Interpreter Required                             Interpreter Required
Language Spoken                                  Language Spoken
Relationship to Child                            Relationship to Child
Parental Responsibility     Yes    No            Parental Responsibility       Yes     No
Care of the Child           Yes    No            Care of the Child             Yes     No

Sibling or Other Child                           Sibling or Other Child
Last name                                          Last name

First name                                         First name

Date of Birth                                      Date of Birth
Gender                    Male     Female          Gender                    Male     Female
Address                                            Address


                                                                                               35
                                   - 36 -
London Borough of Merton, Education Welfare Service

Referral From School                                  OPEN TO CLIENT

Reasons for Referral
Please include information on:

   •   Presenting Problems

   •   Attendance Issues

   •   Contact with Parents

   •   Contact with Support/
       Advice Agencies

   •   Contact with Pupil

   •   Pupil’s Relationship with
       Peer Group

   •   Attainment

   •   Expectations from
       Referral to EWS

   •   Please Attach Copies of
       Relevant Documents
       etc.




Attendance Information
Attached: Registration
certificate for the preceding 12
School weeks
Signature of designated
member of staff
Name (Please Print)

Designation

Date




                                                                   36
                                    - 37 -

Section 13 Statutory Action

Statutory framework governing school attendance enforcement and basic guidelines on
the use of enforcement strategies adopted by the service are communicated to schools.
This method of intervention is most appropriate where parents are unwilling, as opposed to
unable, to ensure their child’s attendance at school.

ATTAINMENT LEVELS FOR STATUTORY CONSIDERATION

Secondary Aged Pupils (Key Stages 3 & 4).
In this group, all pupils are expected to attain attendance levels of 90% or more.
Pupils whose attendance falls below 80% may be referred to the Education Welfare
Service if at least half of the absences are unauthorised.
For Absences of between 50% and 80% Education Welfare Officers will attempt to engage
with the family to resolve attendance related issues. Statutory action will only be
considered in cases where there is evidence to suggest that the parent is failing to comply
with agreed action plans.
For Absence of more than 50% Education Welfare Officers will institute statutory
enforcement action unless there is compelling evidence to suggest that this would be
inappropriate.

Primary Aged Pupils (Key Stages 1 & 2).
In this group, all pupils are expected to attain attendance levels of 95% or more.
Pupils whose attendance falls below 90% may be referred to the Education Welfare
Service if at least half of the absences are unauthorised.
For Absences of between 50% and 90% Education Welfare Officers will attempt to engage
with the family to resolve attendance related issues. Statutory action will only be
considered in cases where there is evidence to suggest that the parent is failing to comply
with agreed action plans.
For Absence of more than 50% Education Welfare Officers will institute statutory
enforcement action unless there is compelling evidence to suggest that this would be
inappropriate.


Once a pupil has come within the above ambit and following interventions or attempted
interventions the attendance has failed to improve to an acceptable level the case will be
discussed with the courts officer.

The discussion will consider whether it is appropriate to apply for an Education
Supervision Order (sec 447 Education Act 1966) or to pursue the matter under Sec 444,
failure to ensure child’s attendance at school. Consideration will be given to a prosecution
under Sec 444 1A where there is evidence that the parent knowingly and without
reasonable justification failed to ensure attendance.

A minimum period of eight weeks will be considered for assessing the level of attendance
and a Certificate of Attendance for the determined period will be obtained from the head
teacher.




                                                                                         37
                                      - 38 -
The courts officer will then gather the appropriate statements. Application will be made to
the Magistrates Court for a Summons. These together with the requisite documentation
will in most cases be served by 1st class post, otherwise by hand.

Education Supervision Order (ESO) Sec 36 Children’s Act 1989. This is a strategy for
dealing with poor attendance where the parents have engaged with the Education Welfare
Service but have been unable to effectively ensure their child’s attendance at school.

A Planning Meeting inviting School Staff, Social Services, Police, Other agencies,
Parents/Guardians, Pupil, EWO and Senior EWO Statutory. At this meeting an action plan
should be drawn up and a review date set.

If the meeting decides it is appropriate to move for an ESO. The EWO will complete a
statement together with Forms C1 & C17. These will be passed to Legal Services for
allocation.

A Directions hearing will be held at the Magistrates Court before a Clerk of the Court.
Once directions have been agreed the case will go before the magistrates. If the Order is
granted the EWO will be the named officer who will work with the family. ESO’s last for
one year.

School Attendance Order (SAO). Sec 437 Education Act 1966. Where a child of
compulsory school age is not on roll at a school or being educated other than at school, a
SAO MUST be applied for.

SEWO Statutory will serve a notice on the parents informing them of the intention to apply
for a SAO. This notice should inform the parents of the available schools. If after 15 days
they have failed to satisfy the LEA that the child is receiving a suitable education a school
Attendance Order signed by the Director of Education will be served naming the school.

Before naming a school the Governors must be consulted. If they object they have 15
days to appeal to the Secretary of State.

Failure to comply with an order is an offence punishable by a fine.

Education Other Than at School (EOTAS) It is a fundamental right that parents can
choose to educate their children other than in school. Schools should notify the EWS if
they become aware that a child is being educated other than at school.

Where a student is on the roll of a school the school should encourage the parent/carer to
contact the LEA for more information about EOTAS before making any decisions. Schools
should ensure that they receive in writing a letter from the parent/carer of their intention to
educate the child other than at school. Schools should be clear with parents that once they
have this written confirmation that their child’s name will be removed from the roll of the
school.

When the LEA become aware that a child is being so educated, they will arrange for the
education provision to be assessed to ensure that is appropriate to the child age aptitude
and ability. This will be determined by a visit by a School Inspector who will submit a
report. The initial visit should be undertaken a short while after the LEA has been notified.
Providing the provision is adequate subsequent visits will normally be annually.


                                                                                            38
                                      - 39 -
A failed visit will result in a subsequent visit six weeks later usually with another Inspector.
Should this be found unsatisfactory the parents would be advised to place in a school. The
EWS would help in advice on admissions. Failure to voluntarily place in a school would
result in an Education Supervision Order being applied for.

Before a child with Special Needs, who is on roll at a Special school can be removed in
order to educate other than at school, the LEA must be consulted and their approval must
be given.

Fast Track Prosecutions

This system identifies poor attendees in school. There then follows a structured time scale
of action. The first 6 weeks involves school monitoring and interventions. These are
documented and meetings with parents called to identify if there are any justifiable reasons
for the absences.

After six weeks if the attendance has not reached an acceptable standard the case is
passed to the EWS. Week seven will see a home visit by an EWO to determine whether or
not there are any reasons to consider an ESO before commencing proceedings. They will
also obtain a Certificate of Attendance, signed by the head teacher, for the eight preceding
weeks.

The case is then passed to the SEWO (Statutory) who will apply for a summons 12 weeks
hence. This will be served together with a copy of the Certificate of Attendance.

The EWS will continue to monitor attendance and offer support for families where possible.

At week 15 statements and relevant documentation will be served. Week 17 EWO will
provide courts officer with up to date attendance record. Week 18 court.

Truancy Patrols

Section 16 Crime and Disorder Act 1998 introduced designated places and roles and
responsibilities for dealing with truancy. Merton Division of the Metropolitan Police and the
Education Department of London Borough of Merton have agreed to adopt a co-
coordinated approach, working in partnership.

Merton Partnership Against Crime (MPAC) determined by crime analysis the days and
areas of Merton where school age children commit crime during school open times.

This information is then used for determining where and when the police together with
EWO’s patrol. Other agencies such as Neighbourhood Wardens and CCTV are called on
for support.

The patrols are carried out during periods, usually three weeks, when a co-coordinated
National truancy initiative is undertaken, as determined by the DfES. This doesn’t preclude
the undertaking of patrols outside these times.



Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s), Parenting Contracts & Parenting Orders


                                                                                             39
                                    - 40 -
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced the power to issue FPN’s for truancy. They
also introduced the provision of Parenting Contracts and Parenting Orders in cases of
excluded pupils and truancy.

In respect of FPN’s the Act requires that a consultation and a Code of Conduct be agreed
with LEA, Merton Police, Merton Schools and YOS. Whilst not a legal requirement we will
also consult schools on Parenting orders and Contracts.

It is intended that subject to agreement January 2005 will see the implementation.

Anti-Social Behavior Orders (ASBO) & Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC)

The EWS (SEWO) works closely together with agencies, such as police and housing in
tackling behaviour both in and out of school.

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts are a voluntary agreement in order to correct behaviour,
which is unacceptable; they last initially for 6 months and are renewable. This is often
coupled with attendance issues. School will provide an incident log. In school they are
used in an effort to prevent exclusion.

Breaches of an ABC are to be noted as the ABC may be used together with other
evidence in seeking an ASBO.

The SEWO will take a lead role in gathering education based evidence when police are
seeking an ASBO




                                                                                     40
                                   - 41 -

Section 14: Working With Vulnerable Groups
Looked After Children:

“Quality Protects” and DfES Guidance The Education of Young People in Public Care
issued in May 2000 placed additional requirements on schools and the LEA to support this
vulnerable group. It is recommended that each school has a designated teacher for
children in public care, that education should take priority in decisions about care
placements, that children in public care shouldn’t be without a school place for any more
than 20 days and that the LEA intervenes where the students has 10 days (20 sessions) in
one academic year. Schools may wish to intervene well before this point. The LEA will
monitor all LAC’s attendance. A termly printout should be sent to the CHANCES team and
an overall attendance printout at the end of each academic year by schools. Further
advice around providing support for LAC may be obtained from the Chances Team.

Children on the Child Protection Register:

The EWS will review each child’s attendance who reside in Merton and attend a Merton
School with the school and recommend appropriate action. Where the EWS has
involvement they will attend Child Protection Case Conferences and contribute to the core
group and care plan where necessary.

Child Protection:

Where schools have concerns about the welfare of a pupil they should follow the guidance
in the All London Child Protection Procedures. Advice may be sought from the EWS, The
Vulnerable Children’s Manager and Social Services Referral and Assessment Team. It is
the schools responsibility to make a referral where concerns have been identified.

Children and Young People with Medical Needs:

Children and young people who are absent from school because of physical or mental
health issues need to be reviewed regularly and sensitively. They are entitled to
educational provision and the EWS can give advice on dealing with medical absence as
can the school nurse. The SMART Centre policy on The Education Of Children And
Young People With Medical Needs can provide further guidance to schools.

Teenage Pregnancy:

Schools should refer to the Merton Education Department Policy (devised with multi-
agency partners) for supporting young woman of school age who become pregnant and
young men who may become fathers. The Education Welfare Service can offer advice to
schools around supporting young pregnant women within the school setting.

Merton Youth Offending Team:

There is an Education Welfare Officer within the YOT who works with vulnerable young
people who are engaging in antisocial and criminal behaviour and to prevent young people
aged 11 and over from becoming involved in crime. They work closely with schools and
young people to identify needs and address issues.



                                                                                      41
                                     - 42 -
Merton Youth Inclusion Support Panel:

The Turnaround Project is aimed at reducing and preventing those children aged 8-13
from entering the criminal justice system and is being piloted in a primary and secondary
school during 2004/5. The project will take referrals that meet the criteria, which will be
distributed by YISP when it goes borough wide. The Chairperson of this group is the
SEWO. Further information may be obtained from the Youth Offending Service.

Young Carers:

A Young Carers Project exists in Merton to support young carers aged up to 18 years old
whose life is affected by looking after someone with a long term illness, physical disability,
learning disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol misuse or HIV/Aids. Schools, young
people and families can refer to the project, which offers practical support and social
activities for young people. School should be sympathetic to those who are undertaking
caring duties and may need to make arrangements to allow extra time to complete
homework for example. The EWS can offer advice on this matter as can Carers Support
Merton.

Travellers:

Merton has a number of traveller families and those who are settled travellers who retain
their traveller culture and heritage. Traveller children may be registered at a base school
and also a school that they are attending whilst they are travelling. Schools may also
provide work for students when they are travelling and arrange for this to be returned by
post. The EWS can offer advice on the law in this matter and further information may be
obtained from The Sutton and Merton Traveller Education Service who offer support and
advice to schools, families and students.

Connexions:

Connexions support young people not in education, training and employment or at risk of
becoming so and with multiple needs as well as providing careers advice. EWS and
Connexions work closely together to ensure good core information is shared and families
get supported. EWS will refer to Connexions. Connexions update Out of School Panel.

Child Concern Model-ISA:

This model will be a common referral and threshold system across Education, Social
Services and Health. It will aid information sharing and common understanding. EWS will
work with this model to ensure children’s attendance and welfare needs are met.


Missing Children:

Where pupils do not return to school and neither the school nor the EWS have been able
to trace the whereabouts of the pupil and no requests for the school file have been
received the pupil should be treated as a “missing child”. The EWO should notify School
Admissions who will place the pupils name on the national missing children database.




                                                                                           42
                                      - 43 -
Child and Young People at Risk of Exploitation:

This group includes young people who are at risk of sexual exploitation, child prostitution,
child trafficking and working without a license or for low pay. School should refer to the
interagency protocol Merton’s Children and Young People at Risk of Exploitation Protocol
(2004) and the Child Employment Officer.


Children Attending Alternative Education:

Where a child remains on the roll of a school, that school must ensure the attendance and
take appropriate steps where this attendance is unacceptable. There is no specific
legislation covering the duty of a provider of alternative education to contact a school in the
event of a pupil failing to attend. However, providers have a common law duty of care to
play their part in ensuring the health, safety and welfare of a pupil. It is good practice to
set up a partnership agreement with the provider to ensure effective communication of
attendance and welfare issues prior to using that provider. However, the primary duty to
follow up attendance and welfare issues remains with the school.




                                                                                            43
                                   - 44 -

Section 15:        Training For School Staff Around Attendance
                   and Welfare Matters


The Social Inclusion Team offers training to School Governors once each academic year.
The course outline and date are to be found in the Governor Training Manual.

Training on the Primary and KS3 Behaviour and Attendance Audit has been disseminated
during the 2003/4 academic year. Schools can get further information on this initiative
from the Learning, Behaviour and Language Support Team.

The SMISST team can provide training on computerised registration and offer courses
during the year. Details of these are in the main training manual sent to schools.

The Education Welfare Service offers an Attendance Forum that operates as a support
network and offers training for attendance administrators or attendance managers. This
network runs 3 times during the academic year and a place may be booked through the
EWS Service. Details of the forums are in the main training manual sent to schools.

The Education Welfare Service can provide training to whole staff teams on registration
systems, categorisation of absences, whole school attendance policies and other training
around attendance matters. Schools should discus any training requirements with their
EWO.

The Vulnerable Children’s Team Manager can provide Child Protection Training for school
staff.




                                                                                     44
                                     - 45 -

Appendix 1

Holidays in Term Time

A check of authorised absences for holidays in a Primary, Middle and Secondary school
during the year 2000/2001 revealed the following: -

Primary      1448 absences 13% of total authorised absences.
Middle       1785 absences 22% of total authorised absences.
Secondary    1779 absences 7% of total authorised absences.

If the above figures were replicated for the whole of the schools in the borough these
would amount to approximately 100,000 absences. Potentially this could lead to a very
large percentage of school days missed by pupils.

The process of requesting leave for a holiday must be a robust one where parents are
made clear of the effects on their child’s education and the disruption to the class as a
whole this creates. Whilst the LEA would actively wish to discourage parents from taking
holidays in term time it is the schools responsibility to make a decision about their term
time holiday policy. The schools view on taking holidays in term time should be clearly
communicated to parents within the attendance policy and regularly reinforced in
newsletters and other communications. The Legal Guidelines and DfES Recomm-
endations around granting a leave of absence for one annual family holiday are as follows:



Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 1995 Regulation 8 (1) (3) & (4)
       (1)   Leave of absence may only be granted by a person authorised in that
             behalf by the proprietor of the school. (Governing Body).
       (3)   Subject to paragraph (4), on application made by a parent with whom
             the pupil normally resides, a pupil may be granted leave of absence
             from the school to enable him to go away on holiday.
      (4)    Save in exceptional circumstances, a pupil shall not in pursuance of
             paragraph (3) be granted more than ten school day’s leave of
             absence in any school year.


     DfES Guidelines 10/99 (Annexe A)


     Family holidays during term-time:
     • Parents should not normally take pupils on holidays in term.
     • Each request for holiday absence should be considered individually, taking account
     of: the age of the child; the time of year proposed for the trip; its nature and parental
     wishes; the overall attendance pattern of the pupil; the child’s stage of education and
     progress.
     • if a school does not agree absence and the pupil goes on holiday, the absence is
     unauthorised.

                                                                                           45
                                 - 46 -
• If parents keep a child away for longer than was agreed, any extra time should
be recorded as unauthorised absence.
• Schools may delete from roll a pupil who fails to return within 10 school days of the
agreed return date unless there is a good reason for the continued absence, such as
illness. This may only occur in full discussion with the Education Welfare Service.
• Schools should only, exceptionally, agree absence of more than 10 school days in a
school year (and should not regard 10 days as the norm).


When schools are giving consideration to authorising or not authorising a request for
annual leave in term time the school should consider the following:
   •   The age of the student.
   •   The time of year of the proposed trip.
   •   If the student is in examination years or working towards public examinations.
       (SAT’s yr2, 6 and 9, QCA tests yr 2- 8, or GCSE’s, NVQ’s yr 10 and 11)
   •   If the child is transferring from nursery to reception, or from primary to
       secondary school.
   •   The overall pattern of attendance of the student.
   •   The nature of the holiday.
   •   The parent/carers wishes.



The LEA recommends that schools use the following letter where parents are
requesting leave during term time.




                                                                                    46
                                    - 47 -
(Name of School)
LONDON BOROUGH of MERTON

EDUCATION LEISURE & LIBRARIES

REQUEST FOR ANNUAL LEAVE DURING TERM TIME

The Education (Pupil Regulations 1995) Reg. 8 (3)(4)

It is not advisable to take your child on holiday during term time as this causes
disruption to their education. Schools must follow the law in this regard and may
only grant leave if certain criteria are fulfilled.

The above regulations together with the DfEE Circular 10/99 state that: -
♦ Leave of absence is authorised at the discretion of the School Governing Body
   and Head teacher. (this is not an automatic right of parents/guardians)
♦ Only in exceptional cases shall more than ten days leave of absence be granted in any
   one year.
♦ You should not normally take your child (ren) on holidays during school term.
♦ Each request for holiday will be considered individually, taking account of: the age of
   your child(ren), time of year, overall attendance of your child, your child’s stage of
   education and progress.
♦ If a school does not agree the absence and you go on holiday, absence is
   unauthorised.
♦ Please do not book your holiday until the authority is given.

In order for your application for the absence to be considered please complete below.

Name(s) of Child(ren)…………………………………………………………………………

Form(s)/Year……………………………………….

Dates of absence…From……………………. To………………………..

Reason for request…………………………………………………………………..
………………………………………………………………………………………….

Signed………………………….                              Dated…………………………..
(Print Name)
………………………………………………………….


The above annual holiday for ……………………………….has/has not been
authorised.
                                Check List
                                 Children’s Age . Attendance level check
                                   Attainment level check. SATS/Exam check
      Head teacher (for Governing Body)                 Copy School Pupil File/Parent or
      Guardian



                                                                                        47
                          - 48 -


Appendix 2

Off Roll Procedure

School should not remove students from roll unless they meet the
criteria under the 1995 Pupil Registration Regulations and you have
consulted with your EWO. For students who disappear or fail to
return after a holiday you should follow the procedure overleaf:




                                                                 48
“Taking children off roll – a guide to Schools
               Child just does not come back                                                                               Parent says child is leaving



        1.School phones day 1 – 3 asking child to return                     School unable to obtain new                1. School to get forwarding address of
        2.School writes on day 5 – 7 to request child to return              address. Make referral to EWS             family and school if known in person,
                                                                             outlining what you have already           telephone or writing
                                                                             done


                              EWS
        Pass evidence of phone calls and letters to EWS in a
        referral 10 days                                                     No school requests the child’s
                                                                                                                       School to forward child’s school
                                                                             records within 6 weeks
                                                                                                                       file to new school when known

           EWS to visit the home (complete relevant checks)
           EWS to write to parents/carers
           EWS to contact Social Services                                                                              No further action needed by LEA.
           EWS to contact Housing                                                                                      School to remove child’s name from the
           EWS to contact receiving/home borough                                                                       roll on last date of attendance and inform
           EWS to write to home borough re interests of                                                                Admissions of vacancy
           family to return on or off roll in 28 days (Yr 11)



                Unable to                        Locate child
                locate child



          EWS check with other
          authorities. Remove              New school contacts, Merton              Child located not in schools. In            Child returns to school. Plan
          child’s name from                school for pupil record. School          borough child EWS working child             with family and school for
          school roll on date of           to remove child’s name from              must remain on roll. Out borough            other agency involvement
          last attendance after            the roll on last date of                 child EWS working no new school             leading to child returning
          28 days as long as               attendance                               child must remain on roll unless
          carried out above                                                         one of 1995 Pupil Registration
          steps with evidence                                                       Regulation applies
                                           - 50 -

Appendix 3

Dual registration form

London Borough of Merton Dual Registration Agreement
Dual registration can be used to aid reintegration from the SMART centre, enable a child in a special school
access mainstream or aid a managed move.

The child is the responsibility of the originating school, however the child and family need to know that the
dual registration is for a fixed time and gives a clear target to work towards.

The child remains on the roll of the originating school until, through this agreement, the child can come off
roll.

Schools should:
Share information about the child.
Communicate to parents/ carers and child about the dual registration.
Dual registration should be clearly recorded in the register and pupil file on this form.
Attendance must be recorded at the originating school as educated off site and the dual registering school in
the attendance register.

Name of Child

Date of Agreement

Originating school

Signature
(Senior manager agreeing dual registration)

Dual Registration school

Signature
(Senior manager agreeing dual registration)

Length of dual registration

Review date


Comments




Date taken off roll originating school
and fully on roll of current school (if applicable)
when dual registration ends.



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