All children are expected to attend school regularly. The expectation of schools and the Local Authority is that children attend school 100% unless they are ill. The Department for Education expects schools to have attendance rates of 94.5%+ (primary). We are proud of our attendance levels which exceed these national expectations.
Absence from School
If your child is ill or unable to attend school for some reason, you need to contact the School Office by telephone (Middlezoy 01823 698465 and Othery 01823 698464) and/or letter to inform them. The school will only “authorise” this absence if it is appropriate to do so. The School Office staff will make contact with parents regarding absence from school where parents do not inform them of the reasons. Where possible this happens on the first day of absence.
Acceptable Reasons for Absence are:
- Unavoidable medical appointments
- Short term family crisis
- Agreed term time leave for exceptional circumstances (see below)
Unacceptable Reasons for Absence are:
- Holidays in term time
- Looking after siblings or the home
- Non-urgent medical or dental appointments.
Term Time Leave – Exceptional Circumstances
New government regulations have made it clear that Headteachers/Head of Schools can only grant leave of absence in exceptional circumstances. Any request must be made in advance and in writing to the Head of School. Circumstances where leave may be considered are;
- Forces staff returning from lengthy active service abroad.
- If a close family member has a terminal illness and it may be a last chance to be together.
- Parents having to work abroad for a fixed, minimum term period.
- Police, fire service, ambulance staff being told when they can or cannot take leave.
Monitoring Pupil Absence
Parents and carers are committing an offence if they fail to ensure the regular and punctual attendance at school of their child. In ensuring the law is upheld, Middlezoy Primary School and Othery Village School and the Attendance Officer work in partnership to monitor the attendance of children. Where attendance is irregular or below the expected level without medical confirmation, Huish Episcopi Primary School will send out letters, telephone or meet with parents to discuss any difficulties. Where attendance remains below an acceptable level without confirmed medical reasons, we will refer the matter to the Local Authority. The Local Authority have a duty to remind parents of their legal responsibilities regarding ensuring their children are receiving education appropriate to their needs. Ultimately, as a last resort, the local authority may have to consider taking legal action against the parents through the courts or issuing a fixed penalty notice in respect of the non-attendance.