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Attendance Policy

Co-op Academy North Manchester 

Attendance Policy


Attendance Policy

Approved by


Policy Created

March 2015


3 years


September 2022

All policies are available to stakeholders either on the Academy website or upon request from the Academy’s Main office.


  • Regular school attendance is essential if children are to achieve their full potential.
  • Co-op Academy North Manchester believe that regular school attendance is the key to enabling children to maximise the educational opportunities available to them and become emotionally resilient, confident and competent adults who are able to realise their full potential and make a positive contribution to their community.    
  • Co-op Academy North Manchester values all pupils. As set out in this policy, we will work closely to support families to identify the reasons for poor attendance and try to resolve any difficulties.
  • Co-op Academy North Manchester recognises that attendance is a matter for the whole school community. Our Attendance Policy should not be viewed in isolation; it is a strand that runs through all aspects of school improvement, supported by our policies on safeguarding, bullying, behaviour and inclusive learning. This policy also takes into account the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.
  • This policy gives notification to parents/carers of actions we will take to promote excellent attendance

Legal Framework 

  • Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act states that the parent/carer of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive efficient full-time education suitable—
  • to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and
  • to any special educational needs he/she may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.
  • A child is of Compulsory School Age at the beginning of the term following their 5th birthday. A child ceases to be of compulsory school age on the last Friday in June of the school year in which they reach the age of 16.

  • Under the Education Act, the Local Authority has a statutory responsibility to ensure that parents/carers secure education for children of compulsory school age and where necessary, use legal enforcement.  
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations, require schools to take an attendance register twice a day, once at the start of the morning session and then again during the afternoon session.  
  • The register must record whether the pupil was:
  • present;
  • absent;
  • present at approved educational activity; or
  • unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

Categorising absence

  • Where pupils of compulsory school age are recorded as absent, the register must show whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised.
  • Absence can only be authorised by the Principal and cannot be authorised by parents/carers. All absences will be treated as unauthorised unless a satisfactory explanation for the pupil’s absence has been received.
  • Parents/carers must advise the academy by telephone on the first day of absence and provide the academy with an expected date of return. Parents/carers should contact the academy on the morning of each day the pupil is absent.  This should be followed up in the form of a written note from the parent/carer, though verbal explanations may be acceptable where this is considered appropriate. A phone call by a member of staff will also be made for every day of absence to support the pupil in their return to the Academy.            
  • Absence will be categorised as follows:
  • Illness Parents/carers will be  asked to provide medical evidence to allow the Principal to authorise absence where appropriate. This will usually be in the form of an appointment card, prescription etc.  The academy provides medical evidence cards which can be used when necessary (see Appendix 1).  
  • Medical/Dental Appointments Parents/carers are advised where possible to make medical and dental appointments outside of the academy day or if this is not possible, after 1pm. Where this is also not possible, pupils must attend the academy for part of the day. Parents must show the appointment card to academy staff.
  • Other Authorised Circumstances This relates to where there is cause for absence due to exceptional circumstances and is at the discretion of the Principal.  
  • Excluded (No alternative provision made) Exclusion from attending school is counted as an authorised absence. The child’s Head of Year will make arrangements for work to be sent home
  • Parents who need to take their child out of the academy during term time due to exceptional circumstances must send a written request to the Principal. Retrospective requests will not be considered and therefore will result in the absence being categorised as unauthorised.
  • All requests for leave of absence will be responded to in writing and if leave is granted, it will outline the conditions of leave granted.
  • If a pupil fails to return to the academy and contact with the parents/carers has not been made or received, the academy may take the pupil off the academy’s roll in compliance with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations. This means that the child will lose their school place.  
  • If the permission to take leave is not granted and the parent/carer takes their child out of the academy the absence will be unauthorised. In such cases the academy is likely to request that the local authority issue a Penalty Notice or consider other legal sanctions including prosecution in the magistrate’s court.
  • Religious Observance Co-op Academy North Manchester acknowledges the multi-faith nature of British society and recognises that on some occasions, religious festivals may fall outside academy holiday periods or weekends and this necessitates a consideration by written request by the parent/carer of authorised absence.  It is usual, but not the rule, that a leave of absence of one day may be granted.
  • Study Leave Study leave may be granted for Year 11 pupils approaching GCSE examinations. The academy will offer in school study programmes during this period to reduce absence levels. Attendance will be coded as per the DFe guidance
  • Traveller Absence It is expected that Traveller children, in common with all other children, are to attend school as regularly and as frequently as possible.

When in or around Manchester, if a family can reasonably travel back to their Base School (see below) then the expectation is that their child will attend full-time.  Co-op Academy North Manchester will be regarded as the base school if it is the school where the child normally attends when they are not travelling. However, the pupil must have attended in the last 18 months. Traveller children can register at other schools temporarily while away from their base school, in such cases, the pupil’s school place at Co-op Academy North Manchester will be kept open for them whilst travelling. This is to protect them from unfairly losing their place at their school of usual attendance.  Co-op Academy North Manchester can only effectively operate as the child’s base school if it is engaged in on-going dialogue with Traveller families. This means that parents/carers must:

  • advise of their forthcoming travelling patterns before they happen; and
  • inform the school regarding proposed return dates

  • Co-op North Manchester will authorise the absence of Traveller children if satisfied that a family is travelling for work or trade purposes and has given indication that they intend to return.
  • Traveller children will be recorded as attending an approved educational activity when:
  • The child is on roll and attending another visited school
  • Undertaking supervised educational activity under the jurisdiction of another Local Authority’s Traveller Education Service
  • The child is undertaking computer based distance learning that is time evidenced
  • Where Traveller children are registered pupils at a school and are known to be present either at a site (official or otherwise) or in a house and are not attending school, the absence will be investigated in the same way as that for any pupil and appropriate statutory action may be undertaken.
  • Late Arrival All pupils are expected to be on site for 8.30am.  Registration begins at 8.40am and pupils arriving after this time will be marked as present but arriving late (code L). The register will close at 9.10am, pupils arriving after the close of register will be recorded as late (code U); this is unauthorised and will count as an absence for that school session and statutory action may be taken where appropriate.  Late detentions are issued by the academy for all late arrivals.  This will consist of a 30 minute detention that evening.  Parents/Carers will be contacted by parent mail during the day to let them know if their child is in detention  Failure to attend the detention will result in further sanctions, unless parents/carers provide a satisfactory explanation.  
  • An exception to the above rule is for pupils who are attending the Pathways centre which has an amended start time compared to the main school due to the health and safety reasons.  The close of register is 9.30am and any pupil who arrives past this time will receive a U code and receive a 30 minute detention that evening.   This is published within the Pathways documentation and communicated to parents/carers and pupils who are educated within this setting. Pupils will be marked with L and U codes within the time frames outlined above for this setting. This is also the case for pupils who attend alternative provision settings which are situated off site.
  • On arrival after the close of register, pupils must immediately report to the school office to ensure that they receive an attendance mark and we can be responsible for their health and safety whilst they are in school.
  • The absence will only be authorised if a satisfactory explanation for the late arrival can be provided, for example, attendance at a medical appointment.
  • The absence will be recorded as unauthorised if the pupil has arrived late without justifiable cause.  
  • Unauthorised absence - Absence will not be authorised unless parents have provided a satisfactory explanation and that it has been accepted as such by the Principal.
  • Examples of unsatisfactory explanations include:
  • A pupil’s/family member’s birthday
  • Shopping for uniforms
  • Having their hair cut
  • Closure of a sibling’s school for INSET (or other) purposes
  • “Couldn’t get up”
  • Illness where the child is considered well enough to attend school
  • Family holidays.
  • A pupil cannot be absent from the academy in order to translate for a family member
  • As a rule, all pupils of compulsory age are entitled to a full time education. In very exceptional circumstances, there may be a need for a temporary part-time timetable to meet a pupil’s individual needs. For example, where a medical condition prevents a pupil from attending full-time education and a part-time timetable is considered as part of a re-integration package. A         part-time timetable will not be treated as a long term solution by the academy and will only be put in place should there be acceptable medical evidence provided. In addition to this, this can only be put in place on the authorisation of the Principal (or anyone deputising for her). A part-time timetable will be time limited.

Deletions from the Register

In accordance with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2013, pupils will only be deleted from the register when one of the following circumstances applies:

  • The school is replaced by another school via a School Attendance Order
  • The School Attendance Order is revoked by the local authority
  • The pupil has ceased to be of compulsory school age
  • Permanent exclusion has occurred and procedures have been completed
  • Death of a pupil
  • Transfer between schools
  • Pupil withdrawn to be educated outside the school system
  • Failure to return from an extended holiday after both the school and the local authority have tried to locate the pupil
  • A medical condition prevents their attendance and return to the school before ending compulsory school-age
  • In custody for more than four months (in discussion with The Youth Offending Team)
  • 20 days continuous unauthorised absence during which both the local authority and school have tried to locate the pupil
  • Pupil has left the school but it is not known where he/she has gone after both the school and the local authority have tried to locate them

Co-op Academy North Manchester will follow Manchester City Council’s Children Missing Education school process to remove a pupil from the attendance register.

Roles and Responsibilities        

Co-op Academy North Manchester believe that improved attendance can only be achieved if it is viewed as a shared responsibility of the school staff, governors, parents, pupils and the wider school community. As such, the Governing Body will:

  • Ensure that the importance and value of good attendance is promoted to pupils and their parents
  • Annually review the school’s Attendance Policy and ensure the required resources are available to fully implement the policy  
  • Ensure that the Registration Regulations, England, 2013 and other attendance related legislation is complied with
  • Agree academy attendance targets and submit these to the Local Authority within the agreed timescale each year and where appropriate link these to the Performance Management of Senior Leadership within the school
  • Monitor the school’s attendance and related issues through regular reporting at Governing Body Meetings
  • Ensure that attendance data is reported to the Local Authority or Department for Education as required and on time
  • Ensure that there is a named senior leader to lead on attendance
  • Ensure that the school has clear systems to report, record and monitor the attendance of all pupils, including those who are educated off-site
  • Ensure that there are procedures for collecting and analysing attendance data frequently to identify causes and patterns of absence
  • Ensure that data is understood and used to devise solutions and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions

The Leadership Team will:

  • Actively promote the importance and value of good attendance to pupils and their parents/carers and reward individual pupils and groups of pupils who demonstrate good attendance
  • Form positive relationships with pupils and parents/carers
  • Ensure that there is a whole school approach which reinforces good attendance; with good teaching and learning experiences that encourage all pupils to attend and to achieve  
  • Monitor the implementation of the Attendance Policy and ensure that the policy is reviewed annually
  • Ensure that all staff are aware of the Attendance Policy and adequately trained to address attendance issues
  • Design, implement and monitor an Attendance Action Plan
  • Ensure that the Registration Regulations, England, 2013 and other attendance related legislation is complied with
  • Ensure that there is a named senior leader to lead on attendance and allocate sufficient time and resources
  • Ensure that key staff meet weekly to monitor attendance
  • Return school attendance data to the Local Authority and the Department for Education as required and on time
  • Report the academy’s attendance and related issues through regular reporting to the Governing Body and academy Improvement Board
  • Ensure that systems to report, record and monitor the attendance of all individual pupils (and groups of pupils), including those who are educated off-site are implemented
  • Ensure that attendance data is collected and analysed frequently to identify causes and patterns of absence
  • Interpret the data to devise solutions and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions
  • Develop a multi-agency response to improve attendance and support pupils and their families
  • Document interventions used to a standard required by the local authority should legal proceedings be instigated

Heads of Year/Pastoral leaders of/Form Tutors will:

  • Actively promote the importance and value of good attendance to pupils and their parents and reward individual pupils and groups of pupils who demonstrate good attendance
  • Form positive relationships with pupils and parents/carers.
  • Contribute to a whole academy approach which reinforces good attendance; with good teaching and learning experiences that encourage all pupils to attend and to achieve
  • Contribute to the implementation of the Attendance Action Plan
  • Comply with the Registration Regulations, England, 2013 and other attendance related legislation  
  • Implement systems to report, record and monitor the attendance of all pupils, including those who are educated off-site
  • Ensure that key staff meet weekly to monitor attendance
  • Analyse attendance data to identify causes and patterns of absence for individual pupils and for groups of pupils
  • Contribute to the evaluation of school strategies and interventions
  • Work with other agencies to improve attendance and support pupils and their families
  • Document interventions used to a standard required by the local authority should legal proceedings be instigated

Co-op Academy North Manchester request that Parents/Carers will:

  • Talk to their child about school and what goes on there. Take a positive interest in their child’s work and educational progress
  • Instil the value of education and regular attendance within the home environment
  • Encourage their child to look to the future and have aspirations
  • Contact the academy if their child is absent to let them know the reason why and the expected date of return. Follow this up with a written explanation.
  • Try to avoid unnecessary absences. Wherever possible make appointments for the Doctors, Dentists etc. outside of school hours
  • Ask the academy for help if their child is experiencing difficulties
  • Inform the academy of any change in circumstances that may impact on their child’s attendance
  • Support the academy; take every opportunity to get involved in their child’s education, form a positive relationship with the academy and acknowledge the importance of children receiving the same messages from both school and home
  • Encourage routine at home, for example, bed times, home work, preparing school bag and uniform the evening before
  • Not keep their child off school to go shopping, to help at home or to look after other members of the family
  • Avoid taking their child out of school during term-time.  Where this is unavoidable, and only in exceptional circumstances, send a written leave request to the Principal.
  • Ensure that all attendance meetings requested by the academy are attended.

Parents/carers are requested to contact the academy on the first day of absence, before 8:30am where possible. If no message is received a phone call is made and a record taken of the reason for absence. A follow up phone call may be made later on in the day to establish whether or not the pupil will return to school the next day.

As part of our safeguarding initiative, home visits can be made even if we have received a call to say that a pupil will not be in school in order to fulfil our duty of care.

Pupils are also responsible for monitoring their own attendance and recording this in their planner. We continue to stress the importance of excellent attendance through assemblies, form time, lessons and careers based opportunities.

The Attendance Team

The principle function of the attendance team is to help parents/carers to meet their statutory obligations on school attendance. They have a clear, preventative role. Through home visiting they may be especially well placed to build relationships and assess any issues which may be preventing attendance which sit outside of the school setting.

There are regular weekly meetings to discuss attendance throughout the school.

Using Attendance Data

  • Pupil’s attendance will be monitored and may be shared with the Local Authority and other agencies if a pupil’s attendance is a cause for concern.
  • The form tutor is responsible for maintaining the form register and for monitoring individual attendance. It is their responsibility to check that all absences are accounted for. In the case of absences known in advance (eg medical treatment, funerals or religious observation), prior written notification is required. Where the absence is medical, evidence will be required and failure to provide this may lead to the absence not being authorised. The academy requests that appointments are made outside of academy hours.
  • Every week all form tutors will be provided with attendance data for the previous week for each pupil within their form group. They will also have the opportunity to discuss patterns of attendance with their form tutor, and strategies which are necessary to improve their attendance.
  • Every half term, students will be grouped into an attendance banding based on their attendance to date and this information will be shared with parents.  Co-op Academy North Manchester will band pupils as follows:

Form Tutor                          

pupils with attendance between 97% - 100%

Pastoral Leaders                          

pupils with attendance between 94% - 96%


pupils with attendance between 92% - 93%

Attendance officers                                

pupils with attendance of 91% and below 

  • Pastoral Leaders will receive a complete set of data for their year groups every week, including key group data. They will be expected to analyse this data for patterns, and discuss this in their meetings so as to share strategies for reducing absence levels.    
  • This pupil level data will be used to trigger school action as set out in the escalation of intervention (Appendix 2).  
  • Attendance data will also be used to identify emerging patterns and trends to inform whole school strategies to improve attendance and attainment.
  • Co-op Academy North Manchester will share attendance data with the Department for Education and the local authority as required.
  • All information shared will be done so in accordance with the Data Protection Act.  
  • Persistence absence (where a pupil’s absence falls below 90%) is monitored and reviewed weekly in conjunction with the attendance officer and year team.
  • Attendance and punctuality data is also used to issue rewards.

Support Systems and Contact with Parents/carers

  • Co-op Academy North Manchester recognises that poor attendance is often an indication of difficulties in a child’s life. This may be related to problems at home and or in school. Parents should make academy staff aware of any difficulties or changes in circumstances that may affect their child’s attendance and or behaviour in school, for example, bereavement, divorce/separation, incidents of domestic abuse. This will help the academy to identify any additional support that may be required
  • Co-op Academy North Manchester also recognises that some pupils are more likely to require additional support to attain good attendance, for example, those pupils with special educational needs, those with physical or mental health needs, migrant and refugee pupils and looked after children.  
  • The school will implement a range of strategies to support improved attendance. Strategies used will include:
  • Discussion with parents and pupils
  • Attendance panels
  • Parenting contracts
  • Attendance report cards
  • Referrals to support agencies
  • Learning mentors
  • Pupil Voice Activities
  • Friendship groups
  • PSHE
  • Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) materials
  • Family learning
  • Reward systems
  • Time limited part time time-tables
  • Additional learning support
  • Behavioural support
  • Mentoring in the Learning Support Unit (LSU)
  • Reintegration support packages
  • Detentions
  • Support offered to families will be child centred and planned in discussion and agreement with both parents and pupils.        The academy seeks to work in partnership with home and to foster a supportive relationship in the interests of the pupil. Contact is therefore seen as a first step and not a last resort. Home visits will often be carried out in order to support attendance
  • Where parents fail or refuse to engage with the support offered and further unauthorised absence occurs, Co-op Academy North Manchester will consider the use of legal sancti        
  • The academy will take advantage of appropriate opportunities to emphasise the importance of good attendance and punctuality with parents/carers who are primarily responsible for ensuring students attend school through:
  • Conversations with parents/carers
  • Parent carer evenings
  • Newsletters and letters home
  • Texts/other communications
  • Individual meetings
  • The academy holds attendance meetings and attendance panels to discuss the attendance of individual pupils or families whose attendance is posing a cause for concern. Parents/carers are invited to attend the meetings, so that issues can be discussed and positive actions taken to prevent more serious problems developing. Other agencies may also be invited to these meetings.

 Legal Sanctions

  • Prosecution Where intervention fails to bring about an improvement in attendance, the Local Authority will be notified and legal action in the Magistrates’ Court may be taken. The academy will provide the Local Authority with evidence required for a prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act and will appear as a prosecution witness if required by the court. This is to ensure that parents realise their own responsibilities in ensuring attendance at school and most importantly about returning children to education.
  • Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 states that if a parent/carer fails to ensure the regular school attendance of their child when he/she is a registered pupil at a school and is of compulsory school age, then they are guilty of an offence.
  • A parent/carer found guilty of this offence can be fined up to £2500 and or be imprisoned for a period of three months.
  • Alternatives to Section 444 prosecution are Parenting Contracts, Penalty Notices or an Education Supervision Order.
  • Parenting Contracts (Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003) A Parenting contract is a voluntary agreement between the academy and the parent, it can also be extended to include the child and any other agencies offering support to resolve any barriers to improved attendance.
  • The contract will outline attendance targets and will detail agreed actions that will help to achieve the target. The contract will be reviewed regularly.
  • The contract can be used as evidence in a prosecution should parents fail to carry out agreed actions.
  • Parenting Contracts will be used in accordance with Manchester City Council’s Parenting Contract Protocol.  
  • Penalty Notices (Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003) Penalty Notices will be considered when:
  • A pupil is absent from school and the absence has not been authorised by the school
  • A pupil has accrued at least unauthorised absence without reasons provided and/or accepted as exceptional by the Principal.
  • A Penalty Notice gives the parent the opportunity to discharge themselves of their legal responsibility if a £120 fine is paid within 28 days, reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days of the date the Notice was issued
  • Failure to pay the Penalty Notice may result in a prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.
  • Penalty Notices will be used in accordance with Manchester City Council’s Penalty Notice Protocol