Introduction and Aims
A child’s success at school is likely to be affected negatively if their attendance is poor. Those who do not attend regularly may fall behind in their learning leading to feelings of frustration and unhappiness. As a Church in Wales school, we seek to provide a Christian environment in which all young people can flourish as a member of a happy, caring and safe community. It is our goal that each of our pupils attends school regularly and on time, making the most of the opportunities available to them.
Non-attendance is an important issue that is treated seriously. However, every case is different and we will always try to support families to improve the situation. The St. Teilo’s Attendance Cluster Framework is designed to help teachers, parents and pupils understand their rights, responsibilities and roles when it comes to school attendance. By working in partnership, it is our hope that every pupil achieves over 95% attendance.
The St. Teilo’s cluster of schools aims to:
- Give attendance and punctuality a high priority;
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities to ensure consistency and rigour;
- Provide support, advice and guidance to families;
- Use attendance data systematically to evaluate success;
- Use rewards to celebrate good attendance;
- Use sanctions sensitively and only when necessary;
- Work in partnership with the Education Welfare Service to improve attendance; and
- Support pupils returning to school after significant periods of absence.
Rights and Responsibilities
The St. Teilo’s Attendance Cluster Framework has its basis in Article 28 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). We believe that all young people have the right to education, based on equality of opportunity, and that the school, in partnership with parents and other parties, must take measures to encourage regular school attendance and reduce rates of absenteeism.
St. Teilo’s cluster schools are required under The Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010 to take attendance registers twice a day; at the start of the morning session and once during the afternoon session.
Parents are required under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, to ensure that their child receives effective full-time education.
Cardiff Local Authority is required under section 437 of the Education Act 1996, to ensure that a child for whom they are responsible is receiving suitable education by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
Holidays during Term Time
Absences may only be approved by authorised representatives of the school. St. Teilo’s cluster schools exercise caution in the authorisation of absence and parents must seek to provide the school with a full picture of the reasons leading to their child’s absence.
The Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010 give schools discretionary power to grant leave for the purpose of a family holiday during term time. Parents do not have an automatic right to withdraw their child from school for a holiday and, in law, have to apply for permission from the school in advance. St. Teilo’s cluster schools will only authorise family holidays where parents are able to demonstrate that unique or exceptional circumstances prevent the holiday from being taken outside of term time. In general, holidays during term time will not be authorised.
Fixed Penalty Notices
In some circumstances, the school may request that the Educational Welfare Service issue parents/carers with a Fixed Penalty Notice under The Education (Penalty Notices) (Wales) Regulations 2013. A warning letter will first be sent if:
- There have been 10 unauthorised sessions within one school term;
- A child has been late (after registration has closed) on 10 occasions within one school term;
- Parents/carers have failed to engage in attempts to improve attendance;
- The police have regularly found a pupil to be absent from school without an acceptable reason.
A Fixed Penalty Notice will be issued if:
- There is one further unauthorised absence within 15 school days of a warning letter having been issued;
- An unauthorised holiday is taken during term time (note that no warning letter will be received).
You and the Law
When the school feels that, despite its best efforts to support the family, attendance is not improving, a referral will be made to the Education Welfare Service. A referral might be made when, for example:
- A pattern of irregular attendance has developed;
- A period of entrenched non-attendance has become established;
- There is a lack of parental cooperation in ensuring a child’s regular attendance; or
- A pattern of truancy is persisting.
St. Teilo’s cluster schools will liaise with the Education Welfare Service to provide the evidence required to prosecute parents who fail, without reasonable justification, to cause their child to attend school regularly, under sections 444(1) and 444(1A) of the Education Act 1996.
If your child will be absent from (or late to) school for genuine reasons, parents are asked to telephone the school on the first day of absence or lateness.
Support, Advice and Guidance
If you are worried about your child’s attendance it is best to speak to the school in the first instance. A member of our attendance team can provide advice, support and guidance in relation to:
- Child Protection