Attendance Policy 2023

In this document

1.0 Policy Statement

Outstanding attendance is everyone’s responsibility.

Beckfoot Trust is committed to providing a quality education for all our pupils and ensuring that learners and their families understand the importance of punctuality and full attendance at school. Beckfoot Trust schools will work relentlessly to ensure learners are in school as much as possible, working in partnership with parents/carers and partner agencies to identify and remove any obstacles or barriers that interfere with high attendance in a prompt and timely manner. For our pupils to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend school on time and every day.

If a pupil or student is unexpectedly absent from school, all efforts will be made to assure their whereabouts and welfare as quickly as possible. Often this will be achieved via a call home but sometimes this may require a home visit that confirms the child’s whereabouts. The Headteacher will not accept anything short of a definitive confirmation of the child’s whereabouts.

DfE guidance, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ paragraph 102 states that: ‘‘Where reasonably possible, schools and colleges should hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil or student”. This goes beyond the legal minimum and is good practice to give the school or college additional options to make contact with a responsible adult when a child missing education is also identified as a welfare and/or safeguarding concern.

This policy must be read in conjunction with our Child Protection Policy. The school will always work hard with young people and their families to remove any barriers to outstanding attendance.

2.0 Scope and Purpose

2.1 Legislation and guidance

This policy meets the requirements of the ‘working together to improve school attendance’ from the Department for Education (DfE) and refers to the DfE’s statutory guidance on school attendance parental responsibility measures. These documents are drawn from the following legislation setting out the legal powers and duties that govern school attendance the policy also links to statutory guidance in KCSIE:

  • Part 6 of The Education Act 1996
  • Part 3 of The Education Act 2002
  • Part 7 of The Education and Inspections Act 2006
  • The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 (and 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 amendments)
  • The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 (with specific attention to paragraph 102) This policy also refers to the DfE’s guidance on the school census, which explains the persistent absence threshold.

This policy links to the following policies:

  • Trust Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
  • Trust Behaviour Policy

3.0 Overarching Principles

3.1 Aims

Our Trust schools will manage and improve attendance by:

  • Ensuring that attendance and punctuality is a key strategic priority for the school
  • Employing a graduated attendance strategy across all phases
  • Setting high expectations for attendance – positively reinforcing full or improved attendance and intervening where attendance falls below 97%
  • Acting swiftly to reduce lateness, absence, and persistent absence, with a specific focus on immediate support for vulnerable learners
  • Working actively with learners and families in nursery and reception classes to emphasise the benefits of high attendance, to reinforce and instil good habits of attendance from the start of learners their educational journey
  • Engaging and involving families in a proactive and positive way to sustain high attendance and to support and challenge parents/carers where attendance falls below 97%
  • Ensuring every pupil of statutory school age has access to full time education
  • Ensuring that a clear and transparent process around the management of punctuality and attendance is agreed and adhered to. These should focus primarily on prevention and reward/celebration, an appropriate level of support and challenge focused specifically at groups and their level of attendance, with punitive measures, including legal action, being implemented as a last resort
  • Ensuring highly visible, regular and consistent communication of these expectations to pupils, families, teaching and associate staff, and governors, including the Trust Board

We will also support parents to perform their legal duty to ensure pupils attend regularly and on time and will promote and support punctuality in attending lessons.

Trust schools follow the same approach to improving and sustaining attendance, this allows us to maximise the benefits of scale, share good practice and allow the CEO and Trust Board hold Headteachers to account in a consistent way.

3.2 The importance of regular and high attendance

Learning: Pupils’ enjoyment of, and ability to participate fully in their education is of paramount importance to us as a Trust. Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling. Regular absence seriously affects learners’ learning and progress over time, leading to poorer outcomes, which can inhibit life chances and opportunities. Department for Education (2016) research shows a direct relationship between the attendance of learners and their outcomes at the end of primary school or secondary school: put simply, the more days learners go to school, the better they do. Research also shows us that schools that relentlessly pursue good attendance have better overall attainment and behaviour. Our schools are evaluated against Key Performance Indicators relating to attendance and behaviour as well as pupil outcomes.

Safeguarding: Pupils may be at risk of harm if they are not in school regularly. Learners who are missing from school are at significant risk of being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation, underachieving, and becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) later in life. We will do everything we can to ensure our learners are safe including as per guidance in KCSIE paragraph 102 schools where reasonably possible asking for more than one emergency contact per child that is registered with the school. As such having more than one emergency contact may mean these are used to support attendance where it is not possible to make contact with parent / carer including when addressing concerns if child is missing from education.

4.0 Responsibilities and Arrangements

4.1 Trust CEO and the Trust Board

The CEO and Board are responsible for:

  • Monitoring trust attendance figures on at least a termly basis.
  • Holding the Headteacher to account for the implementation of this policy.

The Trust link governor for safeguarding, including attendance has oversight of the policy.

4.2 Central Team (CI) Attendance Lead

The CT Attendance Lead supports schools to implement the Trust Attendance Policy and Graduated Approach, including the SEF and undertaking audits.

4.3 The Headteacher

The Headteacher is responsible for:

  • Implementation of the Attendance Policy at the school
  • Implementation of the Trust Graduated Attendance Strategy
  • Ensuring high attendance is recognised and celebrated
  • Ensuring attendance is a standing item on SLT meetings
  • Monitoring school-level absence data weekly and a deeper dive at least monthly
  • Thorough understanding of in-school attendance and absence for Challenge Days
  • Authorise exclusions and have oversight of partial timetables, placements in AP, and pupils moving off the roll of the school, e.g., Managed Moves (MM), Elective Home Education (EHE), Children Missing Education (CME), etc.
  • Supporting staff with monitoring the attendance of individual pupils, in particular those that are complex and are at high risk of harm (Link to Vulnerable Learner register)
  • Authorise fixed-penalty notices, where necessary
  • Undertake QA and accountability checks on registers and to monitor the implementation of the attendance strategy
  • Authorise any amendments to the school attendance register
  • Lead Attendance Panels, involving LSC members
  • Through communication home reminding parents/carers about their duty to keep contact details up to date including where reasonably possible having more than one emergency contact for each child

4.4 SLT Attendance Lead

The SLT attendance lead:

  • Monitors attendance data across the school and at an individual pupil level
  • Reports concerns about attendance to the Headteacher
  • Works with education welfare officers to tackle persistent absence
  • Advises the Headteacher when to issue fixed penalty notices
  • Receive requests for partial timetables to take to Headteacher/reintegration
  • Engages with lead for Y7 transition and access information to support transition – identifying pupils/families to target early
  • Engages with SENCo to identify possible SEND issues that may prevent good attendance and offer support in establishing good habits
  • Monitors, supports, and challenges to establish good registration practice
  • QAs Tutor Time/Assembly
  • Leads on the implementation of Graduated Attendance Strategy
  • Monitors impact of interventions for pupils in the Graduated Attendance Strategy
  • Ensures engagement with external agencies across the graduated approach
  • Provides succinct reports to weekly SLT meetings
  • Provides deeper information by group to monthly SLT attendance meeting
  • Has oversight of susceptible learners who access provision out of school
  • Considers requests for elective home education and advising Headteacher before final decision is made
  • Where appropriate, in schools that are working with external providers such as EEF, to ensure fidelity with the programme

4.5 The Attendance Officer (Attendance Team)

The school attendance officer:

  • Monitors attendance data across the school and at an individual pupil level
  • Liaise with admin/pastoral/SLT on pupil contacts including making home visits to remind parents/carers about updating contact information and where reasonably possible asking for more than one emergency contact per child
  • Provides class teachers/form tutors (see 4.6) with data on the attendance and absence, including reasons, of pupils in their class/form
  • Reports concerns about attendance to the Headteacher
  • Works with education welfare officers to tackle persistent absence
  • Arranges calls and meetings with parents to discuss attendance issues
  • Advises the Headteacher when to issue fixed-penalty notices
  • Considers and refers any request for elective home education to the Attendance Lead
  • Ensures that parents fully understand the demands and responsibilities of elective home education.

Not all schools will have a designated Attendance Officer; however, all schools will have named person(s) responsible for the duties outlined above.

4.6 Class teachers (in primary/special) and teachers/form tutors (in secondary)

Class teachers and form tutors know their children well and should monitor changes in presentation and engagement. Their role is to intervene appropriately and to refer any concerns to colleagues as appropriate, for example, family liaison, the SENCo, the DSL, pastoral leads, etc.

The class teacher in primary / special schools and form tutors in secondary schools have a role in monitoring the attendance and absence of their form on a weekly basis.

4.7 Teachers

In primary and special schools: Class teachers are responsible for recording attendance in the morning and the afternoon, using the correct codes, in SIMs or using software that links to SIMs. Both morning and afternoon attendance registers should be completed within 30 minutes of school start time, with late pupils’ attendance recorded as appropriate when they arrive.

In secondary schools: Subject teachers are responsible for recording attendance in each of the lessons they teach during the day, using the correct codes, in SIMs or using software that links to SIMs. Both morning and afternoon attendance registers should be completed within 15 minutes of the lesson’s start time, with late pupils’ attendance recorded as appropriate when they arrive.

4.8 Head of Year/Phase Leader/Personal Development Lead (PDL) (secondary only)

Pastoral staff have a pivotal role in supporting good attendance for the year group or group(s) of pupils they are responsible for. Their responsibilities include:

  • Analyses the data for their year group on a weekly basis
  • Identifies and mitigates potential barriers to good attendance
  • Deliver early intervention when attendance is falling
  • Arranges calls and meetings with parents to discuss attendance issues
  • Develop and implement persistent absence action plans with pupils and families which address barriers and help establish positive attendance routines
  • Where pupils have additional vulnerabilities arrange TAF meetings
  • Involve external agencies to support pupils and families

4.9 Family Involvement/Engagement Worker FIW, FEW), PCSO, SSPO

Depending on the structure, this role or roles cover the following:

  • Establishing close partnerships with parents
  • Keeping in regular contact with learners who have low/no attendance, including home visits for vulnerable learners to check on the welfare and presentation of the child
  • Where school is struggling to contact parents notes on visits will remind parents/carers of their duty to provide where reasonable more than one emergency contact details for their children
  • Refers and supports families to engage with external agencies to support improved attendance
  • Attends multi-agency and team around the family meetings

4.10 School reception/office/admin staff

School reception/office staff are often the first line of contact with parents. Their role is to:

  • Ask for at least two emergency contacts (where reasonably possible) for each pupil
    • This should be as part of transition and regular checks on contact details (twice annually is preferable)
  • Take calls from parents about absence and record it on the school system
  • Enquire about reasons for absence and pass that information to the Attendance Officer
  • Where appropriate, reassure parents that support is available in school encourage parents/carers to send their child in
  • Sign-in pupils who are late to school: those arriving late (L or U codes), those late due to authorised reasons, e.g. following a medical appointment, those pupils with an agreed later start time within a Part Time Timetable agreement

4.11 Parents and carers

Parents/carers are responsible for:

  • Providing current, up to date contact details including where reasonably possible more than one emergency contact number for each pupil
  • Ensure that their child arrives at school on time, in correct dress, equipped, fed and well rested
  • Inform the school on the first morning of their child’s absence and provide a reason for absence
  • Keep school informed of their child’s likely return
  • Respond to phone calls and home visits from school to check on the welfare of their child
  • Where practicably possible avoid booking medical appointments during school hours
  • Book family holidays during school holidays
  • Engage with school and other agencies to support improvements in attendance, if needed

4.12 Pupils

Pupils must:

  • Attend school on time every day
  • Attend lessons on time and keep the school’s rules
  • Engage with learning and strive to be their best self
  • Speak to an adult in school if they have worries or concerns that could affect their attendance
  • Engage with school and agency support to improve their attendance

5.0 Expected Practice in Beckfoot Trust Schools

5.1 Completion of an annual attendance Self Evaluation Framework (SEF)

At the start of each academic year the SLT Attendance Lead will complete the Trust Attendance SEF, this enables leaders to gather and evaluate a broad range of evidence gathered to make a quantified judgement about different aspects of quality of the whole school strategy. Completing this will provide an overview of strengths and priorities for the coming year.

5.2 Adherence to the Trust policy

The Headteacher is ultimately responsible for ensuring that staff in school adhere to the trust policy and other statutory, non-statutory and local authority guidance. The strategic oversight of this and much of the day-to-day operational aspects are delegated to the SLT Attendance Lead and the Attendance Officer.

5.3 Implementation of a local school attendance protocol

Each school has a local school attendance protocol that links directly to this policy. The protocol provides detail on specific aspects, including named individuals with key roles identified above;

specific information about the school day, e.g. start and finish times; and how the school recognises and celebrates high attendance.

5.4 Effective monitoring and tracking of attendance

Trust schools use, analyse and report on data at appropriate levels and times: daily (Attendance Officer), weekly (tutors/class teachers), at least weekly (SLT Attendance Lead), at least monthly (HT/SLT). Meaningful analysis is predicated on the attendance register being accurate and up to date (see Section 6).

5.5 Implementation of the Trust Graduated Attendance Strategy (GAS)

The Headteacher is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the Trust Graduated Attendance Strategy is implemented effectively through holding individuals in school accountable for their work. The trust will Quality Assure this implementation through its governance mechanisms, including Challenge Days and the Trust site visits.

6.0 Recording Attendance

6.1 Attendance register

Trust schools keep attendance registers, and place all pupils onto this register, as they come onto the roll of the school. The register is kept and maintained in schools’ Management Information Systems (MIS), currently SIMs.

An attendance register is recorded at the start of the first morning session of each school day and once during the first session in the afternoon. It will mark whether every pupil is:

  • Present
  • Attending an approved off-site educational activity
  • Absent, including a reason if known (If unknown the attendance officer will follow up)
  • Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

In line with DfE statutory guidance it is expected that schools will close their morning session registers not longer than either 30 minutes after the session begins, or the length of the form time or first lesson in which registration takes place. Children arriving after the session closes will be recorded with a U code.

In general, teachers take the register at the start of their lessons and record as much information as possible. The attendance officer (or a named person with those responsibilities, see 4.5) follows up and completes the register each day. Teachers take registers as shown in the table below and within the first 15 minutes of each lesson, as appropriate.

NameRoleContact
Davina Blanshard-JonesAssistant Head/SENDCo01274 363070
Louisa SugdenAssistant Head for Safeguarding and Families01274 363070
Laura BurginDeputy Head Outcomes and Standards01274 363070
Jess GreenHealth Care Support Worker01274 363070
Janet RobertshawClinical Lead Practitioner for the Trust[email protected]

Any amendment to the attendance register will include the following and an audit trail will be kept, including confirmation of changes and sign off by the Headteacher:

  • The original entry
  • The amended entry
  • The reason for the amendment
  • The date on which the amendment was made
  • The name and position of the person who made the amendment

See Appendix 1 for the DfE attendance codes.

Schools will keep every entry on the attendance register for three years after the date on which the entry was made.

Refer to the local school protocol for information on the opening and closing of registers.

6.2 Planned absence

A planned absence from school should be communicated to school as soon as this is known, preferably in advance using the schools’ systems such as MyEd, Classcharts, Class Dojo or letter

Refer to the local school protocol for notification procedures.

Attending a medical or dental appointment will be counted as authorised as long as the pupil’s parent/carer notifies the school in advance of the appointment.

However, we encourage parents/carers to make medical and dental appointments out of school hours where possible. Where this is not possible, the pupil should be out of school for the minimum amount of time necessary.

The pupil’s parent/carer must also apply for other types of term-time absence as far in advance as possible of the requested absence. Please note that informing the school of intended absence does not mean that this absence will be authorised; for example, absence due to a term time holiday will be treated as an unauthorised absence.

6.3 Unplanned absence

The pupil’s parent/carer must notify the school of any unplanned absence, preferably in advance using the schools systems such as MyEd, Classcharts, Class Dojo or telephone

Refer to the local school protocol for timings and notification procedures.

We will mark absence due to illness as authorised unless the school has a genuine concern about the authenticity of the illness.

If the authenticity of the illness is in doubt, the school may ask the pupil’s parent/carer to provide medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note, prescription, appointment card or other appropriate form of evidence. We will not ask for medical evidence unnecessarily.

If the school is not satisfied about the authenticity of the illness, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised and parents/carers will be notified of this in advance.

6.4 Lateness and punctuality

A pupil who arrives late:

  • Before the register has closed, within 30 minutes of the end of the form time / first session, will be marked as late, using the appropriate code
  • After the register has closed, after 30 minutes has passed from end of form time / first session, will be marked as absent, using the appropriate code

6.5 Following up on absence

Where any child we expect to attend school does not attend, or stops attending, the school will:

  • Follow up on their absence with their parent/carer to ascertain the reason
  • Ensure proper safeguarding action is taken where necessary including following up with emergency contacts if parent/carer contact is not responding
  • Identify whether the absence is approved or not
  • Identify the correct attendance code to use

Where an absence is unplanned and there is no or insufficient communication with the school, the Attendance Officer will follow up on this with the parent/carer and will refer to the appropriate authority should this be needed; for example, referring to the Child Missing in Education team at the Local Authority.

6.6 Reporting to parents

Headteachers and schools follow DfE guidance in relation to reporting annually on attendance and absence to all pupils, see here for current guidance.

Schools provide a quantitative report to parents/carers on their child’s attendance record at the end of each year.

7.0 Authorised and Unauthorised Absence

7.1 Approval for term-time absence

Trust schools follow DfE guidance on use of attendance and absence codes as appropriate for the circumstances. Further information on each of the codes used can be found in Appendix 1. Absence is either authorised or unauthorised. In general, authorised absence is unavoidable, due to illness, necessary medical appointments or interventions, observing religious occasions, an exclusion, etc. and unauthorised absences are avoidable. Our priority will always be to reduce unauthorised absences and minimise authorised absences.

Further information on selected reasons for absence:

Illness (I code) Authorised absence

Parents must call on the first day of absence and on subsequent days. Schools should record as unauthorised absence if not satisfied on its authenticity – school must inform parents of intention. Acceptable medical evidence includes appointment cards, texts from GP surgery, etc.

*Covid-19 absence (X code) in May 2022 update

*In line with our transition to living with COVID-19 and the latest public health advice, we are no longer advising schools to record pupils who are not attending school because of COVID-19 using Code X (not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus). Where a pupil is not attending because they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had a positive test schools should record this using Code I (illness) unless another more appropriate code applies. Schools no longer need to record pupils who do not attend for reasons related to COVID-19, using Code X.

Schools should also continue to use code X to record when a pupil not of compulsory school age is not expected to attend as detailed below.

Not required to be in school (X code)

This code is used to record sessions that non-compulsory school age children are not expected to attend.

Headteacher authorised exceptional circumstances (C code) Authorised absence

Approval must be requested and provided in advance; in limited circumstances the school will accept a subsequent explanation. There needs to be a very clear rationale and narrative around the reasons a C code has been used, e.g. a plan in place with home visits if a child is not in the school building.

Religious Observances (R code) Authorised absence

This must be a day set apart for observance by the religious body to which parents belong. Examples: Sikh – Guru Nanak (Nov); Hindu – Diwali (Oct/Nov); Islam – Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha; Judaism – Passover (Apr); Buddhism – Vesak (Apr/May); Jehovah’s Witnesses – Passover (Apr). LA guidance states up to three days will be authorised for Eid within an academic year; it is at the school’s discretion to close in full or part.

Term time holidays (G code) Unauthorised absence

As a general rule, holidays during term time will not be authorised. Schools will issue penalty notices in line with the legislation. We work closely with the LA to ensure that unauthorised absence is minimised. We follow the Local Code of Conduct in relation to Penalty Notices for non-attendance and will request the LA issue a Penalty Notice if parents fail to ensure their child or children attends regularly. LA guidance can be found here.

Lateness (L code) – Present but late, (U code) – Unauthorised absence

Schools encourage children to attend on time from their first day in school; punctuality is an important and persistent lateness disrupts the education of all children in the class. Where lateness is persistent and does not improve, the Local Code of Conduct allows the school to pursue a Penalty Notice for this reason.

7.2 Reducing persistent absence

Trust schools use the Attendance SEF to identify best practice to support pupils who are (a) currently Persistently Absence (PA), or (b) at risk of becoming PA. Trust schools follow the Trust Graduated Attendance Strategy and use the documentation consistently, including nudge letters, engaging outside agency support and progressing to panels, etc.

The school or local authority will fine parents for the unauthorised absence of their child from school, where the child is of compulsory school age.

If issued with a fine, or penalty notice, each parent must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. The payment must be made directly to the local authority.

Penalty notices can be issued by a Headteacher, local authority officer or the police.

The decision on whether or not to issue a penalty notice may take into account:

  • The number of unauthorised absences occurring within a rolling academic year
  • One-off instances of irregular attendance, such as holidays taken in term time without permission
  • Where an excluded pupil is found in a public place during school hours without a justifiable reason

If the payment has not been made after 28 days, the local authority can decide whether to prosecute or withdraw the notice.

8.0 Strategies for Promoting Attendance

Trust schools’ strategies for promoting high attendance are informed by the Attendance SEF and the Trust Graduated Attendance Strategy (see Section 6 and related documents). The school’s priorities for the year ahead can be found in the local school protocol as well as information on how high attendance is recognised and celebrated.

8.1 Attendance monitoring

The attendance officer at our school monitors pupil absence on a daily basis and their class teacher or form tutor on a weekly basis. All schools expect 100% attendance, but we also know that on occasions for a multitude of reasons not all children can achieve this and in light of that excellent attendance is classed at or above 97%.

A pupil’s parent/carer is expected to call the school in the first morning if their child is going to be absent due to ill health and confirm the reason. Parents/carers should also confirm absence on subsequent days.

When a pupil’s absence goes beyond one of the thresholds in the Trust Graduated Attendance Strategy, the school will follow the strategy and contact the parent/carer of the pupil as outlined to discuss the reasons for this.

If a pupil’s absence continues to rise after this intervention their parent/carer, trust schools continue to follow the Trust Graduated Attendance Strategy and intervene as appropriate at each threshold.

The persistent absence threshold is 10%. If a pupil’s individual overall absence rate is greater than or equal to 10%, the pupil will be classified as a persistent absentee and the school will intervene as appropriate.

Trust schools collect and store attendance data and use it to better understand their pupils. For example, to:

  • Track the attendance of individual pupils
  • Track the attendance of year groups and pupil groups
  • Identify whether or not there are particular groups of children whose absence may be a cause for concern
  • Monitor and evaluate those children identified as being in need of intervention and support
  • Understand whether there are particular issues relating to reasons for absence, e.g. high illness levels etc.
  • Look at attendance in conjunction with assessment data to understand any obstacles to pupils progressing in their learning

The SLT Attendance Lead will regularly report on attendance and absence to the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team, identify causes for concern and/or areas of strategic success.

Pupil-level absence data will be collected each term via the school census and published at national and local authority level through the DfE’s school absence national statistics releases. The underlying school-level absence data is published alongside the national statistics. The school will regularly compare attendance and absence data to national and local averages, within and between schools, and by pupil groups. This will be reported to the Central Leadership Team and the Trust Board.

Trust position on specific groups of pupils:

Children below compulsory school age (Nursery/Reception)

The families of children attending our schools’ Early Years provision are encouraged to instil good attendance and punctuality habits from Day 1. Readiness to learn is predicated on positive routines, including arriving on time for school, wearing school uniform, etc.

Young people above compulsory school age (sixth form)

Young people attending our sixth forms are expected to attend all lessons and sessions punctually, whether on the school site or through remote learning. Attendance at tutorials and assemblies is also compulsory, regardless of how they are delivered.

Pupils on partial timetables

There is a high threshold for the use of partial timetables for our pupils and their use is reserved for meeting very specific needs, including phased returns from significant illness, protective circumstances, etc. Where a partial timetable is in place, the member of SLT with responsibility for attendance must meet with the family and agree the conditions. There must be regular review dates with the intention of transitioning the pupil to a full timetable as soon as possible. Headteacher should retain oversight of partial timetables

Pupils accessing Wave 4: Complementary Curriculum

A number of vulnerable pupils in our schools will benefit from the Complementary Curriculum delivered in Wave 4. Regular attendance and punctuality of these pupils is expected in line with this policy; however, the schools and trust will closely monitor the attendance of pupils benefitting from this provision, both individually and as a group, and seek external agencies’ support as needed.

Pupils in Alternative Provision (B/C codes)

Protocols are in place to ensure the safety of pupils attending Alternative Provision, including maximising attendance and sharing of information relating to pupils’ safety, attendance, absence and progress made in the provision. This includes maintained and independent alternative education providers. School will maintain a list of pupils attending AP. It is good practice that only AP providers who are DfE / Ofsted registered provisions are used and are, where available, at least Good. School will check on pupil progress / attainment regularly (twice per half term). It is expected that that all AP providers will provide accurate attendance information schools must have marks for AM and PM sessions. School will provide termly impact information for Trust board on which pupils attend, why they attend and the progress they are making.

Pupils attending other schools/provision (B/D codes)

Protocols are in place to ensure the safety of pupils attending other schools (including on Managed Moves), including maximising attendance and sharing of information relating to pupils’ attendance, absence and progress whilst attending the school.

Trust schools follow DfE Exclusions guidance in terms of arranging Day 6 provision for pupils who are excluded from school for more than five days and have agreements in place with other local schools through BACS.

Children at Risk of Missing Education (CME)

Schools follow statutory guidance in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2022) and work closely with Bradford LA in relation to their shared responsibilities in relation to children’s welfare and safety. LA guidance can be found here. Further guidance can be found in this document contained within section 11

Elective Home Education (EHE)

We want our pupils to attend and enjoy their education in school and, as such, endeavour to ensure no pupils leave to be Electively Home Educated. Where no other solution to supporting the pupil in school can be found, the family must make their request in writing to the school, in line with the DfE Attendance guidance, and the school will delete the child from the admission register. LA guidance can be found here. If there are any known safeguarding concern or EHE is requested by parent/carer due to ‘mental health’ reasons the school will do all it can within its power to inform external partners (Social care, CAMHS, LA) about the dangers in allowing EHE to proceed given this information.

9.0 Children Missing Education (CME)

9.1 Definitions

  • For the purpose of this policy, a ‘child missing education’ is defined as a child or young person of compulsory school age who is not attending school or is not receiving a suitable education elsewhere.
  • A ‘missing child’ is one who is not accounted for even though they should be in our care.
  • Schools are expected to follow the Attendance/Safeguarding How to: Children Missing Education

9.2 Roles and responsibilities

9.2.1 The School

  • Will enter students on the admissions register at the beginning of the first day on which it has been agreed by the school, or the day that the school has been notified, that the student will attend the school
  • Will keep an accurate and up-to-date admissions register by encouraging parents to inform them of any changes
  • Will monitor students’ attendance through a daily electronic lesson by lesson register and 2 reported registrations
  • If a child stops attending, and we have had no contact, we will undertake a home visit on the 3rd day of absence at the latest following guidance outlined in the school risk assessment
  • In the event that a student fails to attend the academy on the agreed or notified date, the academy will undertake initial reasonable enquiries to establish the reason for this absence and will notify the Children’s Services Educational Social Worker no later than 20 days after the child is identified as not in education
  • In the event that a student does not start school when we expect them to, we will inform Children’s Services admissions team
  • If we believe there are safeguarding issues, we will alert agencies working with the family
  • We accept our responsibility to make ‘reasonable enquiries‘ to establish the whereabouts of a child prior to referral to the Education Social Work Service. By definition, ‘reasonable enquiries’ could include:
    • checks with all members of staff who the child / young person may have had contact with
    • checks with the student’s friends, siblings and known relatives at the school
    • telephone calls to any numbers held in school records
    • a visit to the last known address – if safe, enquiries with neighbours and known family

If all initial reasonable enquiries have been exhausted, the school will make a referral to ESWS using the BSO online forum supplying the following information:

  • Name of the child
  • DOB
  • Last known address and outcome of home visit
  • Names of parents or carers
  • Names of any known siblings
  • Details of the child’s attendance

A more exhaustive list of enquiries is listed below and may be considered if a child may have been taken abroad and initial reasonable enquiries do not establish anything:

  • Where a student has not returned to school for 10 days after an authorised absence or is absent from the school without authorisation for 20 consecutive academy days, the academy will remove the student from the admission register providing the local authority has given permission to do so.
    • In the meantime, irrespective of any local intelligence as to where the family may or may not be, the school will continue to make reasonable enquiries and attempt to contact the family until the local authority confirms that they have exhausted their enquiries and approval has been given to remove the student from roll
  • The school will work within local arrangements with regards to the re-admission of children who may wish to return after removal
  • The school will notify Children’s Services if any student is to be deleted from the admission register
  • Students who remain on the school roll, but who are not necessarily missing education, will be monitored and attendance will be addressed when it is poor
  • The school will arrange full-time education for excluded students from the sixth school day of a fixed-period exclusion
  • The school will provide information to Children’s Services regarding standard transitions, if requested to do so

9.2.2 Staff members

  • All staff will be alert to the potential need to implement early help for a student who is frequently missing / goes missing from our care or from home
  • All staff will be aware of the unauthorised absence and children missing from education procedures
  • Where staff have concerns (e.g. a noticeable pattern of absence), they will refer to the Designated Safeguarding Lead

9.2.3 Children’s Services / Local Authority (LA)

  • Under the Education Act 1996, Children’s Services (or the Local Authority / LA) has a duty to establish the identities of children in the area who are not registered students at a school and are not receiving education provision otherwise
  • Children’s Services provide full-time education for permanently excluded students from the sixth school day of a fixed-period exclusion
  • When it is brought to their attention that a child may not be receiving a suitable education, the LA will serve notices on parents
  • They will issue School Attendance Orders to parents who fail to assure them that their child is receiving a suitable education
  • The LA will prosecute parents that do not comply with a School Attendance Order
  • The LA will prosecute or fine parents / carers of school-registered children who fail to ensure their child attends school regularly
  • They will apply to court for an Education Supervision Order for a CME
  • The LA is responsible for referring to Children’s Social Care where there is concern for a child’s welfare, as well as the police if there is reason to suspect a crime has been committed

Once reported to the LA, the Education Social Work Service (ESWS) will:

  • visit the last known address if it is still unclear if the family have moved
  • send out a standard letter to Housing and Health
  • carry out a Children’s Social Care, Welfare Benefits and Police check requesting any information they may have as to the child and family’s whereabouts
  • contact partner agencies in person if serious concerns regarding the child’s welfare and safety exist e.g. the child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan

The child will be placed on the Out of School Register.

If after four weeks following the child’s last attendance in school, the ESWS has not been able to establish the whereabouts of the child. The academy will be advised to remove the child from the school roll; schools must follow the LA procedure for removal from roll on completion of the relevant documentation.

9.2.4 Parents

  • Parents have a duty to ensure their child of compulsory school age receives suitable full-time education
  • Parents are responsible for notifying the school in writing if they wish to home-educate their child in order for the child to be removed from the admission register
  • Parents will notify the school regarding any absences or changes to their child’s education arrangements
  • Parents are responsible for providing the school with more than one emergency contact number, where possible

10.0 Review of Policy

This policy will be reviewed annually and, as guidance from the local authority or DfE is updated. The policy will be approved by the Trust Board.