Coming to school every day is the best way to achieve, succeed and get the most out of all the academy has to offer.
Coming to school every day is the best way to achieve, succeed and get the most out of all the academy has to offer. We work with parents, carers and pupils to make sure everyone has what they need to attend. Our target for pupils’ attendance is at least 97%.
All parents should promote good attendance and work in partnership with school to ensure learning opportunities are maximised. We all want the best for our children, to nurture and care for them. Having an excellent attendance record at school contributes greatly to this goal. Working together, we can give pupils every chance of reaching their academic and social potential. However, the more days a child is absent from school the greater the risk of underachievement and social isolation. Each pupil should aim to have 100% attendance and a minimum of 97%. Where there are exceptional circumstances, for example, long term illness supported by medical evidence, school will set a bespoke target for your child and will work with the pupil and parents to maximise attendance whilst appreciating any unique challenges and rewarding success.
We have two dedicated attendance officers, Mrs Fisher and Miss McCloskey. Each of our Year teams also support attendance and Ms Kelly oversees attendance and is our senior leader link.
Why is good attendance important?
Good attendance and punctuality are vital for success at school, and to establish positive life habits that are necessary for future success.
Through regular attendance, pupils can:
- Build friendships and allow young people to feel part of a community
- Develop life skills and self-discipline
- Engage in learning and enjoy academic success
- Minimise the risk of engaging in anti-social behaviour or feeling isolated.
We should not underestimate the importance of excellent attendance and being punctual. Even one day missed can have a negative effect on learning:
Attendance over 5 school years for each pupil
|90%||19 weeks / half a school year|
|80%||38 weeks / whole school year|
Getting 90% in a test or examination would normally be considered a good result. In attendance terms, however, having around 90% attendance can have devastating consequences for a young person’s future. The government calls this group of pupils persistently absent.
At Co-op Academy North Manchester, our goal is for all our pupils to have good attendance, even when they are experiencing challenging circumstances. Through effective support and working closely with families, we can ensure every child maximises their opportunities. The minimum target for pupils is 97%. Our experience is that this level of attendance is achievable for the vast majority of pupils. In fact, many will exceed it, and some will maintain a 100% record over the entire academic year showing tremendous commitment to their studies.
At Co-op Academy North Manchester we have two dedicated attendance officers, Mrs Fisher and Miss McCloskey who support daily with attendance. Each of our Year teams also support attendance and Ms Kelly oversees attendance and the senior leader link. Together we work with families and a vast network of support services to refer or signpost parents to so that they can receive the support they need. Early Help will be offered to all families to support good attendance. Parents can also self-refer here: Early Help
Why is it important to be punctual?
As well as having good attendance, parents also have a responsibility to ensure that their child arrives at school on time and stays in school during the day.
All pupils are expected to be in their form room by 8.35am each morning. If pupils are not on time, they receive a late mark and are issued with a 30-minute detention for that afternoon. If a pupil arrives at school more than 30 minutes late, without a good reason, the school register will have closed, and this will be marked as an unauthorised absence which can be used as evidence in legal procedures. An unauthorised late will also affect the pupil’s percentage attendance and access to rewards.
Being on time helps everyone and shows respect. The pupils will not miss out on any important messages or learning opportunities. Teachers can concentrate on teaching and learning strategies without having to catch up late comers and the flow of lessons remains uninterrupted. When pupils are late it impacts not just on themselves but on other members of the school community. Being on time is a simple way in which pupils can help to serve their school community. Punctuality may seem like a small thing, for example, ‘she/he was just a few minutes late’, but it actually matters a great deal.
If a pupil is five minutes late to school each day they have missed three school days each year. Pupils often miss important messages and have an unsettled start to the day. It can lead to their confidence being undermined and in some circumstances to unacceptable behaviour because the pupil is struggling with the set work. This should help explain why being on time is so important.
What does the law say about attendance?
Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996, all children of compulsory school age (between 5-16) must receive a suitable full-time education. As a parent, you are responsible for ensuring that this happens, either by registering your child at a school or by making appropriate alternative arrangements. A parent who fails in this duty is guilty of an offence under Section 444(1) of this act.
Once you have registered your child at a school, you are also legally responsible for ensuring that your child attends school regularly. If you fail to do this – even if your child truants without your knowledge – legal action can be taken against you by the Local Authority.
Legal action can involve a penalty notice (£120 fine per pupil per parent reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days) or in more serious cases parents being prosecuted with a maximum fine of £2500. Parenting orders may also be issued requiring parents to attend counselling and guidance programmes, usually a parenting class. Where parents fail to pay fines, or the law around regular attendance is repeatedly broken and previous legal interventions have been ineffective, parents can face a period of imprisonment. Ensuring regular attendance at school is important and the consequences of breaking the law are serious.
How can the academy help?
Although school has a responsibility to liaise closely with the Local Authority (LA) and provide information which may be required to support legal action, our aim is to prevent this from being necessary. At Co-op Academy North Manchester we pride ourselves on our ability to support families and help young people thrive. We have the will and expertise to help and even in specialist circumstances where we are unable to help, we can signpost you to the right services and support you in this process. If you are experiencing difficulties with your child, and you haven’t kept school informed, please pick up the phone today and ask to speak with your child’s Head of Year. We are here to help!
Should I allow my child to miss school if they are ill?
Many pupils have time off school for illnesses that are manageable on the school site with the help of over the counter medication e.g. headaches, colds, muscle pain etc. If your child presents as ill at home, you should go to the local pharmacy and ask for the appropriate medication. If you then contact school with the required information, we can monitor your child and issue any medication in line with your instructions and school policy. Guidance on whether your child is fit enough and medically able to attend school can be found here Public Health Agency It is rare for pupils who take the positive decision to try to manage their illness through the school day have to be sent home, but of course if this is necessary school will contact you to make the necessary arrangements. Often school can be a helpful distraction and although pupils may not always complete work to their usual standard, not missing out on the ideas they are exposed to in lessons is a great help when they are fully fit and well again. Many pupils feel a huge sense of pride when they get to the end of the school day having successfully managed an illness and at Co-op Academy North Manchester, we would commend them on their resilience.
There will be times when it is not appropriate to send your child into school. Serious illness is best managed at home. We would, however, expect that if your child is too ill to attend school that there would be a parent at home to take care of them. Also, if there is a pattern of previous absence, school may well ask for medical evidence. This could be a doctor’s appointment, prescription or medication etc. If it is not possible to supply medical evidence, the school may send a member of staff around to your home to verify that the child is ill. We know from experience that some pupils will feign illness when they have another reason for not wanting to go to school which they are not comfortable talking about. This may be that they have fallen out with a friend or have not completed homework. Always take the time to talk to your son / daughter to try to establish whether the illness is genuine. If there are no obvious signs or symptoms of illness send them in to school and let school know that your child is potentially feeling ill or has been reluctant to attend school so that a member of staff can speak with them and monitor them throughout the day
Is your child going to be absent from the Academy?
If your child can’t make it to school for any reason, parents/carers must advise the academy by 8am on the first day of absence via 0161 681 1592, ParentMail or at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide us with your child’s name, their form and the reason for absence and 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.
Guidance on whether your child is fit enough and medically able to attend school can be found here Public Health Agency We encourage pupils with common colds and symptoms to attend school as normal. If your child requires medication throughout the day then please complete a consent to administer medication form.
It’s best if dental or non-urgent medical appointments are made outside of academy hours. We understand that sometimes this is difficult, e.g. for certain hospital appointments, so we ask for an accompanying medical letter or appointment card for our records. Any pupil who attends an appointment during the school day will need to be collected and brought back to the academy.
Can my child ever be absent?
When a pupil is absent from school, this will be classified as either ‘authorised’ or ‘unauthorised’.
Only the Principal will decide which absences are granted as authorised. Authorised absences are only permitted for valid reasons such as:
- Illness which is severe enough to warrant time off school.
- Medical or dental appointments that cannot be made outside of school hours.
- Religious observance.
- Family bereavement for a close relative.
- Self-isolation due to a transmissible disease that poses a risk to others.
If the school agrees to authorise absence this will not lead to legal action.
What is an Unauthorised Absence?
If you don’t get permission from our Principal, the absence is classed as ‘unauthorised’ and this includes lateness.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider essential or reasonable.
Unauthorised absences can include:
- Forgetting school term dates.
- Arriving at school after the register has closed (at least an hour late)
- Leaving without good reason during the school day.
- Truancy during the school day.
- Keeping pupils off school unnecessarily or without explanation.
- Day trips or family outings.
- Problems with uniform/clothing (school will be able to help)
- Birthdays and holidays
- Acting as a translator for other family members
- Renewing passports at home or abroad
As an academy we must follow national legal guidelines which means that holiday requests during term-time cannot be authorised. Where this is unavoidable, and only in exceptional circumstances, send a completed application for Leave of Absence form to the Principal. This must be made at least 4 weeks prior to any absence. This can also be used for religious observance requests.
Absences or persistent lateness which are not agreed with us, can incur a penalty notice. These penalties are through the local council and we have no control over how they are given.
Can pupils take a leave of absence during term time?
The school cannot be expected to authorise an absence for a holiday during term time.
Taking holidays during term time means that pupils miss important learning opportunities and other school activities. It will be difficult for pupils to catch up on work when they return to school. Only in exceptional circumstances may a leave of absence be authorised during term time – this will be decided by the Principal. When requesting leave of absence in term time, this must be done as far in advance as possible. The minimum is 1 months’ notice. Please complete a ‘Leave of Absence Request Form' If you think your child needs to be taken out of school, you should discuss the reasons with the school as soon as possible. If the Principal is satisfied with the evidence and the notice period, they will authorise the absence, but it is important that you understand this would only happen in extreme cases. The request should be rare, significant, unavoidable and short. The school must balance the request against the impact on the child and exceptional circumstances do not involve cheaper costs, family holiday patterns, availability of accommodation or weather conditions. You will be fined by the Local Authority if you take your child on holiday during term time without permission from the Principal.
We understand how tempting it must be to book a holiday in term time. Cheaper holidays (even taking the penalty notice into consideration), quieter destinations and it being easier to book time off from work are just a few of the considerations. However, you must consider the hidden cost. One or two weeks away from school can be devastating in terms of undermining learning. Learning is like building a house- a firm foundation needs to be laid and then skills and knowledge are layered like bricks. Each layer is critical to understanding what comes next. Miss some layers and learning stops making sense. Effectively there is nothing to hold the ceiling up by the time the pupil gets to the test or examination. This can result in pupils lacking confidence, losing the desire to learn, and feeling embarrassed about their test scores or not being able to complete the work. It can be the start of general disengagement and a loss of self-esteem. Over time, the consequences of a holiday in term time could lead to underachievement and lower GCSE grades. Research, and our own experience, shows that missing just 8.5 days a year will usually lead to the pupil dropping a GCSE grade, on average, in every subject. This in turn could become a barrier to career options and potential future earnings. The holiday might sound like a fantastic idea in the here and now but is it worth jeopardising your child’s future?
Rewarding great attendance
Attendance and punctuality are part of the criteria for reward sessions and trips. The criteria is shared with pupils at the start of each half-term through assemblies and Personal Development time.
If you have any concerns about your child’s attendance, or want to speak to anyone, then please contact your child’s form tutor, year team or Attendance Officer.
How can parents ensure good attendance at school?
- Encourage good attendance by speaking to your child about the importance of school.
- Take an interest in your child’s schoolwork and find opportunities to give praise or reward attendance e.g. link attendance to the pupil’s pocket money or allowance.
- Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of absence from school.
- Inform us on the first day of your child’s absence before 8.00am and keep us updated on a daily basis throughout the absence period.
- Provide us with more than one emergency contact for your child, to ensure that if we receive no response from one number, we can try the others that you have provided.
- Cooperate with your school to make sure your child overcomes any barriers to attendance and always be honest about reasons for absence. Don’t be tempted to ‘cover up’ for your child.
- Discuss planned absences with the Principal and apply for permission well in advance.
- Only take your child out of school during term time when the absence has been authorised.
- Make as many appointments as possible outside of school hours, for example, dental appointments. If an appointment is unavoidable, provide school with evidence and work around the appointment to maximise attendance. For example, if a pupil arrived at school as normal, left at 10am and returned at 12.20pm then the child would be present for both sessions. Pupils should attend before, and after, an appointment.