Attendance & Absence
Hartford Infant School is committed to full attendance by all pupils and parents/carers are responsible for ensuring that their children arrive at school on time.
There is clear evidence of the link between attendance and achievement with research showing the showing the negative impact of poor school attendance on a child's attainment and future prospects. The school works closely with the county’s Education Welfare Officer [EWO] who closely monitors every child’s attendance. If your child’s attendance falls below 95% or there is repeated lateness you will receive a letter advising you that this must improve because of the proven detrimental effects on your child’s education.
Our target is for all HIS pupils to have an attendance rate of 97% or above.
However, we understand there are occasions when your child will be unable to attend.
If your child is unable to attend school due to illness please notify the school each day they are absent, giving the reason for their absence. To report a child's absence please contact the School on 01480 398046 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact us on each day of absence. If your child has suffered sickness or diarrhoea please keep them off school for 48 hours after the last occurrence.
Department for Education guidance is clear that schools are only allowed to authorise any planned term-time absence in extremely exceptional circumstances, for example a single day for a funeral of a close relative or a medical appointment. Term-time holidays, shopping during school hours, looking after siblings or late arrival do not qualify.
Term time holidays cannot be authorised unless the reason for selecting that date is extreme or exceptional eg. a parent, grandparent or other close relative is seriously ill and the holiday proposed is likely to be the last such holiday or a unique one-off, never-to-be-repeated experience. You must complete a holiday form from our School Office to request any term time holiday.
The DfE states that if permission is not granted and the child is taken out of school, this will be classified as unauthorised absence, i.e. truancy, and you may be liable for a Penalty Notice (fine). Penalty Notices may only be served in accordance with the County Council’s code of conduct.
The amount of a Penalty Notice is £60 per parent per child if paid within 21 days, increasing to £120 per parent per child if paid after 21 days and before 28 days. Should a parent or carer on whom a notice is served fail to pay the fine in full within the specified time he/she will be liable to prosecution in a Magistrates court where on conviction a sentence of a fine up to £2,500 or up to three months in prison may be imposed.
It is therefore essential you arrange family holidays during school holidays. School term dates can be found on the home page of this website.
Any decision about taking action as a result of non-attendance is made by the Local Authority Attendance Officers (LAAO), as made clear by this extract from the FAQ section of the latest guidance:
Can a school fine a parent for taking their child on holiday during term time?
Yes. Parents have a legal duty to make sure that their child aged 5-16, if registered at a school, attends that school regularly. If taking an unauthorised term time holiday is grounds for issuing a penalty notice according to the local authority’s code, and if the leave of absence for holiday was not authorised by the school, either the school or the local authority may issue a penalty notice.
Can schools decide whether parents should be prosecuted or not?
No. Only local authorities can make decisions on whether parents should be prosecuted for school attendance offences. All schools (including academies) have a duty to refer regular absence (authorised and unauthorised) to the relevant local authority. This may include any evidence to show how they supported the pupil and parent to improve attendance. It is for each local authority to judge each referral on its own merits and make a decision on the next probable cause of action
The Education Welfare Officer
The Cam Academy Trust employs an Education Welfare Officer, Kerry Puttock. The school and EWO always try to work with pupils and parents at an early stage to resolve problems. This is nearly always successful. However, the EWO also has a legal role and if other ways of resolving attendance have failed, these officers can use legal sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates court. Kerry can be contacted via the school reception.
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