As we outlined in our recent letter to parents, there have been major changes to the Attendance Policy for all schools across Hampshire. This has implications for parents and families.
Changes to the policy include the following:
- From September 2015 parents will automatically incur a fine if a child has 5 days unauthorised absence (10 school sessions) in any 50 day period. These missed sessions do not need to be consecutive, for example a day in September followed by two days later in the month and then two days in October would incur a fine.
- It is important to point out that unauthorised absences do not just relate to holidays. For example, if a child is absent from school, and no reason provided, this automatically becomes unauthorised. This makes it even more important that we are informed of reasons for absence.
- Arriving late for school, after registers close at 9.10am will also count towards the 5 day (10 sessions) total. This is because these are recorded as unauthorised. Medical appointments and one-off emergencies would not be recorded as unauthorised as long as we are made aware and have written evidence.
- The fine incurred will be £60 per child, per parent. This means that if a family with two children go on a 5 day holiday in term time the fine is likely to be £240 if paid in the first 21 days, rising to £480 if paid within 28 days and, if unpaid will result in prosecution by Hampshire County Council.
- Any child whose attendance falls below 90% will be considered as a ‘persistent absentee’ and we will draw up an action plan to improve attendance for that child. This is a change from the figure of 85%.
- It is unlikely that the Local Authority will apply a fine for two years in a row and if unauthorised
absence becomes a repeating issue they will be likely to proceed straight to legal action.
Absence of any type will only be authorised in an exceptional circumstance or genuine illness. The fundamental principles for defining exceptional circumstances are rare, significant or unavoidable which means the event could not reasonably be scheduled at another time. Holidays will not normally be authorised during term time. Fixed penalty notices will also be issued to parents/ carers of children who we are told were absent due to illness but subsequently discover to have been on holiday.
There is more information and guidelines for parents in our school policy.
Please click on this link to read the full policy. Attendance Policy