Parents’ and Carers’ Responsibilities
The Education Act 1996 states that all children should attend college regularly and punctually. Section 444 of the Act says:
“If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered student at school fails to attend regularly at school, his parent is guilty of an offence”
(NB: Where the Education Act refers to “he”, it also means “she”.)
The prime responsibility for ensuring children receive an appropriate and full-time education rests with parents/carers, who will be supported and encouraged by St Benedict’s Catholic School.
To ensure their children attend school regularly and that they arrive by the start of the school day.
It is expected that parents/carers will notify school (via phone or email) of any absence before the start of the day for each day their child is absent from school. If absence is for three consecutive days or more, the school will require some form of medical certification as evidence (Prescriptions, Doctor’s appointment cards etc.).
To support their child’s attendance by keeping absence from school to a minimum.
Holidays & Leave of Absence Information
Parents should not take their child out of school for a holiday during term time. The school has a policy of not allowing holidays in term time unless, there are exceptional circumstances surrounding the situation. Where an application is made for a holiday in advance via the ‘Leave of Absence’ request form, it will be considered by the Headteacher and will only be authorised in rare exceptional cases.
- If leave of absence is granted, the absence is recorded as authorised. However, from September 2013, the government will not allow any holiday absences to be authorised unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- If the school refuses a request for term-time leave of absence and the child is still taken out of school, this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence on the child’s attendance record and school report and can also result in a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued.
From September 1st 2014 Suffolk County Council has made amendments to the Penalty Notices Code of Conduct. Please read the attached letter and information leaflet for more information.
Wherever possible, parents should avoid making routine medical/dental appointments in the middle of the day. Please aim for either early morning appointments or late afternoon appointments. This ensures that your child is able to complete at least a portion of their school day and minimises the impact of their absence on their lessons and therefore attainment.
What time does my child need to be at school?
Your child should arrive at school in good time for registration at 08.55 a.m.
What happens if my child is late?
Registration finishes at 9:10 in the morning and 15:45 in the afternoon.
- If your child arrives after 9:00 he/she will be marked late
- If your child arrives after 9.30 he/she will be marked absent
- If your child arrives after 15:35 he/she will be marked late
- If your child dos not attend afternoon registration they will be marked absent for the afternoon school session.
Students who arrive after registration should report to Reception, and sign in. Students who persistently arrive late for tutor time or lessons without good reason, are placed into a lunchtime detention.
Does the school need letters explaining my child's absence or will a telephone call do?
We expect a parent to telephone the school/attendance email Attendance@st-benedicts.suffolk.sch.uk on the first day of absence by 9:00am including reason for absence. If you do not telephone us, we will text you at home or at work. If we do not receive an explanation for absence, or if the explanation is unsatisfactory, we will not authorise the absence, and this will be shown on your child's end of year report.
What reasons will the school accept for absences?
- Emergency dental/medical appointment (please make routine appointments after school or during the holidays)
- Day of religious observance
- Family bereavement
- Attending an interview for job, school, university
Except in the case of illness, you should ask for permission for your child to miss school well in advance, giving full details. In cases of recurring absences through illness you may be asked to provide a medical certificate.
What is unacceptable?
The school will not authorise absence for day trips, visiting relatives, shopping, family holidays, birthdays or looking after brothers or sisters etc.
Will the school contact me if my child is absent?
The school operates a first-day response to absences: we will text you if we have not heard from you. This is because we believe it is our responsibility to ensure your child's safety as well as their regular school attendance.
If we are concerned about aspects of your child's attendance or punctuality we will contact you to discuss the best way forward.
Can we take family holidays during term-time?
Family holidays cannot be taken during term time. We believe that there is sufficient opportunity for holidays within the designated vacation periods (around 12 weeks per year).
If, in exceptional circumstances, you need to request permission for your child to be absent from school during term time, you should complete a leave of absence application form, at least three weeks in advance, stating the reason why the absence must be taken in term time.
The Headteacher has the right to refuse permission having given consideration to:
- your child's age
- the time of year
- the overall attendance pattern of your child
- the reason for the special circumstances of the absence with a supporting letter from your employer
The government does not allow schools to authorise any holidays taken in term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.