Author : Sam Moncaster
Policy creation: September 2022
Policy Review: September 2023
Date Approved by Governors: 28/09/2022
Produced by: David Stead (Associate Assistant Principal - Attendance) Approved by Governors –
Review date -
At Co-op Academy Leeds we are ambitious for ourselves and our diverse communities - we will endeavour to make the world a better place through our actions.
We will be determined to succeed and show respect, kindness and integrity to everyone, everyday.
Co-op Academy Leeds is committed to providing a full education to all pupils that embraces the concept of equal opportunities for all. We provide a welcoming, caring environment where every pupil feels safe and valued. Regular attendance and excellent punctuality are essential in ensuring pupils make sustained academic progress and social development.
The academy works in partnership with students and their parents or carers around the importance of regular and punctual attendance. Regular and punctual attendance is of paramount importance in ensuring that all children have full access to the curriculum, as valuable learning time is lost when students are absent or late. We aim to overcome barriers to engagement and learning by equipping staff, families and students with the knowledge and skills they need to challenge the consequences of social and educational disadvantage.
The Co-op Academy Leeds is committed to safeguarding every student. We acknowledge that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and ensure all of our staff are trained to be vigilant and aware of the signs and indicators of abuse and understand and follow safe working practices.
We aim for an environment which enables and encourages all members of the community to succeed. For our students to gain the greatest benefit from their education, it is vital that they attend regularly and your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open as this is proven to have a positive impact on the motivation and attainment of students.
There is a clear link between high attenders and high achievement at GCSE. Poor attenders are much less likely to achieve five strong passes at GCSE, including English and Maths. There is a direct link between under-achievement and attendance. At KS4, pupils not achieving grade 9 to 4 in English and maths had an overall absence rate of 8.8%, compared to 5.2% among those achieving grade 4. The overall absence rate of pupils not achieving grade 9 to 4 was over twice as high as those achieving grade 9 to 5 (8.8% compared to 3.7%). Regular attenders make better progress, both socially and academically as well as finding school routines, school work and friendships easier to cope with. Overall, regular attenders find learning more satisfying.
For the most vulnerable students, regular attendance is also an important protective factor and the best opportunity for needs to be identified and support provided. Research has shown associations between regular absence from school and a number of extra-familial harms (risks to the welfare of children). This includes crime (90% of young offenders had been persistently absent) and serious violence (83% of knife possession offenders had been persistently absent in at least 1 of the 5 years of study).
As an academy, in accordance with Keeping Children Safe in Education, 2020, we recognise that Children Missing Education are at significant risk of underachieving, being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation, and becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) later in life.
As an academy, our objective is to maximise the attendance of all our students by providing an effective system of monitoring attendance and punctuality.
We recognise the external barriers that influence student attendance and work with parents accordingly but we strive towards every student attending 100% of the time.
We promote excellent punctuality and attendance so that students are prepared for when they leave school.
The Law relating to attendance
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that ‘the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive efficient full time education suitable:- (a) to age, ability and aptitude and
(b) to any special educational needs he/ she may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.’
It is a legal obligation on parents to ensure that students are enrolled in a school and attend every day (unless there are exceptional circumstances). Children must receive an education between the school term after their 5th birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.
Roles and responsibilities
Academy Leadership Team including Governors (ALT)
ALT and Governors will offer a clear vision for attendance, underpinned by high expectations and core values, which are communicated to and understood by staff, pupils and families. ALT and Governors will make sure staff, pupils and families understand that absence from school is a potential safeguarding risk and understand their role in keeping children safe in education. ALT will actively promote great attendance at all levels of the organisation to build up a culture of great attendance.
Associate Assistant Principal AAP – Attendance - David Stead
The AAP has overall strategic responsibility for Attendance and will monitor the attendance of disadvantaged students. The AAP will take responsibility for interventions of students who fall below the minimum expectation of 96%. They are also responsible for coordinating incentives and rewards to support students to improve or maintain excellent attendance.
Pastoral Leaders (Year Managers and Progress Leaders)
Pastoral Leaders build strong relationships with students and their families. It is therefore imperative that they make first day phone calls to students in their Year Groups if they are absent to ascertain the reasons. Progress Leaders will work with students and contact home for those at risk of slipping below 96% attendance and Year Managers will work with those students between 91 and 95%, arranging parent meetings as required. Once students slip to 90% or below attendance, Year Managers will refer on to the attendance team.
Attendance Improvement Officers (AIO) and Attendance Admin Officers (AO)
Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the attendance officer. They will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed and unauthorised absences persist, the attendance officer and use sanctions such as penalty notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court.
The AO will produce the data reports required for staff, leaders and Local Authority/Government returns. The AO will produce group analysis reports and reports on lateness, absence and missing marks. The AO will communicate with the attendance team, Year Managers and relevant attendance leaders to update marks and report attendance issues.
Have a responsibility to ensure that accurate registers are taken in every lesson. Any missing registers will be reported to the AAP for Attendance on a weekly basis and they will communicate this with individual members of staff and their line managers. All classroom teachers have a professional responsibility to promote excellent attendance, plan for catch up work and have a dialogue with students about positive or negative attendance patterns.
Will have daily, morning contact with students in their tutor group. Tutors will have regular conversations with students in their tutor group and contact home where necessary, building a home-school relationship. Form tutors will receive attendance data at the beginning of every week and they will use this data to form discussions with key students. Form tutors should base their conversations around the following diagram so that students are aware of how many days of schooling are missed in relation to the percentages.
Parents have a responsibility for ensuring that their child attends the Academy every day and is punctual. Parents have the right to be provided with information from the Academy which will help them to do this. This includes:
➔ The timings of the Academy day/Academy dates and holidays
➔ Academy procedures relating to attendance and punctuality
➔ Academy expectations regarding lateness
➔ Prompt communication of matters causing concern
The academy expects prompt communication from parents/carers in writing or by telephone giving a reason for:
➔ Any planned absence
➔ A period of unplanned absence
Parents who do not conform to the above will be contacted by Academy staff and asked to provide an explanation of their child’s absence.
By law, all schools are required to keep an attendance register. The academy uses an electronic system (SIMs) to accurately record attendance and punctuality to every lesson on a daily basis.
There will be a daily tutor session at the start of every day, during which students will receive their morning registration mark. Any students arriving late (after 8.25am) will be given a late stamp in their planners and their details and reason for lateness will be recorded on Inventry. The class teacher will record them on the system when they arrive. Afternoon attendance will be recorded during lesson 4.
The attendance register marks whether every students is:
● Attending an approved off-site educational activity
● Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances
Each day, students can access the school building from 8:15am. They must be in tutor time by 8:25am where they will receive their morning mark. Academy registration closes at 9:00am prompt and any student arriving after this time will lose half a day of attendance.
Parents/Carers will be expected to provide an acceptable reason for every absence and will be able to report an absence on the day by contacting the Academy switchboard on 0113 380 7940 before 8:00am by leaving a voicemail message. Parents/carers are requested to make contact on each day of absence even where students are absent for consecutive days, unless otherwise agreed with one of the Attendance Improvement Officers.
If absence reasons are medical, evidence will need to be provided such as a stamped medical card, hospital letter or prescription in order for the absence to be authorised.
Where communication is not made with the Academy about the reason for pupil absence this will be deemed as ‘unauthorised absence’. The parent/carer will receive contact from the Academy to ascertain reasons for absence based on the following timescales:
➔ If a pupil is absent without communication, the attendance team will attempt to contact parents. You will receive a text message via the ‘teachers2parents’ system after morning registration to request that you contact school to report the reason for your child’s absence. If you do not report your child’s absence following this text, you will receive a phone call from a member of the attendance team. If the attendance team is unable to contact you, you may receive a home visit - even if it is the first day of absence.
➔ When a pupil is absent for two or more days without the school being provided with a reason, a member of the attendance team will conduct a
home visit. Home visits from the attendance team are supportive and intended to establish if any actions need to be put in place in order to support a child’s return to school.
➔ If, after home visits and phone calls, the attendance team is still unable to get a reason for absence within 5 days, the attendance team may request the Safer Schools Officer to carry out a ‘welfare check’ at home.
➔ For extended periods of absence without reason, we may also contact the Child Missing Education Team at the Council and/or sibling primary
schools to support with enquiries about the whereabouts of the child. ➔ If a child is absent from the Academy for 20 days and their whereabouts are unknown or they are reported to have left Leeds, a referral to the Child Missing Education Team will be made and the child will be removed from roll.
Parents are required to make appointments out of academy hours where possible. Where this is not possible, students should return promptly to school following their appointment and also attend prior to appointment if not first thing in the morning.
If a student has an appointment during the day, evidence should be provided for the AIO along with prior notice of the appointment. The appointment should be made at the start/end of the academy day to minimise disruption to learning.
The statutory register of the academy closes at 9:00am daily. After this point, a student arriving late without prior notice or a reasonable explanation, will receive an unauthorised absence mark.
If a student arrives:
● Between 8:25am and 8:45am, after the entrance gate has closed, they will enter school through student reception where they will sign in and be issued with a 30-minute, on the day detention.
● After 8:45am, they will sign in at student reception and will be issued with a 1-hour, on the day detention.
If a student arrives at the academy late, after the register has closed, parents will be contacted by the academy to inform them and ascertain a reason for lateness.
It is not acceptable for students to persistently arrive late to school, as this not only hinders their progress but also disrupts the learning of others. The student support and attendance team will monitor late arrivals and follow this up through:
• Detentions issued
• Letters home
• Punctuality Panels
Students need to arrive at the academy on time in order to be ready for the day ahead. If they are late numerous times across the week, the following phone calls will be made:
➔ 1 late in a week – phone call home by Year Manager
➔ 2 lates in a week – Phone call home by Progress Leader
➔ 3+ lates in a week – Phone call home by ALT link and Parent Meeting arranged All lates and conversations with parents will be logged centrally by the academy.
If a student is persistently late to school and has two parent meetings across a half term, they are to be referred to an attendance mentor. A home/school agreement to be signed to inform us that parents will support punctuality and be at the forefront of any improvement. A staff mentor will work with students and families regarding punctuality and attendance.
If all the above are unsuccessful, the Academy will use legal channels in accordance with the local authority policy. This may mean that court action is taken.
Absence follow up
The academy follows up any absences with one of the following actions so that we can establish reasons:
● Telephone call to parent/carer
● Home visit
The outcome of the follow up is recorded accordingly on the register using the correct code and a flag added.
Persistent Absentee (PA)
Persistent Absentees are students who have less than 90% attendance. The academy will work with parents/carers, staff, agencies and pupils to prevent children from falling into this category. Students with attendance of less than 90% will be identified by the attendance team and referred to the Academy Attendance Improvement Officers (AIO) for more intensive casework. Preventative intervention work will be done to avoid students reaching PA status.
In order to prevent students from falling into PA category, the following strategy will ensue:
If student attendance falls between 91 and 95%, Year Managers will issue attendance reports and meet students weekly. They will also refer students to attendance mentoring, whose attendance is 90 – 92%. Finally, Year Managers will arrange parent meetings for students whose attendance is falling. The ALT link for the Year Group will support the Year Manager with phone calls and meetings with students and their parents. To support the mentoring programme, they will ensure that regular mentoring meetings are taking place for the students. A letter will also be sent home, comparing the students attendance to that of their peers.
If the above intervention by the Year Manager and ALT link is successful, attendance will begin to rise. However, if attendance continues to decrease, the following actions will take place.
If student attendance falls between 71 and 90%, the ALT link will conduct home visits along with the AIO to ascertain a reason for attendance being PA. Legal work will begin in some cases through the AIO, with some students on fast track supervision. A letter will be sent home to parents which outlines their legal responsibility for ensuring that their child attends school.
If, after all the above processes are unsuccessful and student attendance drops below 70%, the AIO will refer students to the Cluster Team at Leeds City Council who will work with families and conduct home visits. Legal work will also be a focus here.
We always aim to work with families to improve attendance and through all of the interventions in place. Where families are not engaging with the support we will have to take more punitive actions including:
● Support plans
● Fast Track Initiative
● Formal Casework
● Referral to the Inner East Cluster
● Referral to Leeds City Council for legal work
Reintegration after significant absences
Every effort will be made to re-integrate students successfully back into the Academy following long periods of absence. This might include:
● Phased returns and reduced timetables, in exceptional circumstances ● Mentoring from the Attendance team or Year Manager
● An attendance support plan agreed with Students and Parents
● Parents or guardians will be informed immediately and, if the pupil cannot be located within the hour, the police will be informed if that child is subject to a safeguarding plan.
● Following discussion with a truant to establish the circumstances surrounding the truancy, sanctions and support will be imposed.
● A programme of monitoring and support may be put into place in conjunction with the Year Manager.
● A referral to the East Cluster for additional attendance support. This can be made without consent should the school have heightened concerns.
Leave of Absence During Term Time
The Government’s amendments of the Education Regulations 2006 removed the right of Principals to authorise family holidays and extended leave. The academy policy, therefore,
reflects this legislation.
Holidays in term time will not be granted unless it is considered to be for ‘exceptional Circumstances.’
Where an application is made for a holiday, if the reason for travel is defined as an exceptional circumstance, this will be given to the Principal for authorisation.
Parents/Guardians who choose to take their child out of school during term time could receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £120.
Parents/carers should complete a leave of absence form where possible for Religious Observances such as EID. Authorisation of 1 day will be granted in such circumstances.
If a student fails to return from a leave of absence and contact with the parents has not been made or received, school may take the student off the school’s role in compliance with the Education (student Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. This means that the child will lose their school place.
The school considers each application for term-time absence individually whilst taking into account circumstances and relevant context behind the request. A leave of absence is granted entirely at the Principal’s discretion.
School recognises that poor attendance can be an indication of difficulties in a child’s life. This may be related to problems at home and/or in school. Parents should make school 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 school identify any additional support that may be required.
Co-op Academy Leeds also recognises that some students are more likely to require additional support to achieve excellent attendance, for example, those students with special educational needs, those with physical or mental health needs, and looked after children.
The academy implements a range of strategies to support improved attendance. Strategies
used will include:
● Regular communication with home
● Offering incentives and rewards
● Support plans
● Rewards systems
● Fast Track Initiative
● Referral to the Inner East Cluster
Where parents fail or refuse to engage with the support offered and further unauthorised absence occurs, Co-op Academy Leeds will consider the use of legal sanctions.
Recognising strong attendance is key and celebrating strong attendance is important. Positive Merit Points on Class Charts will be given to all students to acknowledge good attendance, and will be awarded at regular intervals for those who have achieved good attendance or have improved their attendance. Within the academy rewards policy, students will receive additional Praise Points on a half termly basis for achieving 95%+ attendance. Parents can track these Praise POints via the Class Charts app.
➔ Every week, the student in each Year Group who has the most improved attendance will win a £5 gift voucher.
➔ Every half term, whenever a student attends the academy and is on time, their name will be entered into a prize draw at the end of half term, where a significant prize will be awarded.
➔ Each half term, the tutor group in each year group that has the highest attendance will be rewarded with a pizza party. This enables tutors and their tutor groups to work together, to drive forward attendance.
➔ Each term, those students who have 100% attendance for that term will be rewarded with a visit to the local cinema on the final day of term.
➔ Further ad-hoc attendance initiatives and events will take place half termly across the year within year groups in order to boost and encourage full attendance. An example of this are random 100% attendance weeks where students are rewarded for gaining 100% all week.
➔ Tiered end of year attendance rewards trips (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze) for students with 94%+ attendance across the year. This will involve students attending a fully funded day out of the academy during rewards week in the final week of term. Examples are trips to theme parks, wildlife parks, the cinema and the coast (behaviour dependent also).
➔ The Year Group with the highest attendance across the year will receive a day visit out of the academy (behaviour dependant also).
Attendance achievements will be communicated to the community and families regularly via the website and social media.
The law requires parents to ensure that their child attends school regularly. The academy has a primary responsibility in dealing with the issue of attendance, in partnership with parents and pupils. The majority of attendance issues will be dealt with by the academy, however, on occasions, attendance concerns may need to be passed on to Leeds City Council Attendance Advisors.
Schools have to regularly inform the Local Authority of any pupils who are regularly absent from school, have irregular attendance, or have missed 10 school days or more without the school's permission. Schools also have a safeguarding duty, under section 175 Education Act 2002, to investigate any unexplained absences.
If a student is missing school without good reason and support options have been exhausted without improvement/engagement, schools can refer to the Local Authority for legal intervention. This is likely to result in the student case file being referred for consideration in the Magistrates Court.
Local councils and schools can use various legal powers if a child is missing school without a good reason and when other methods of support and challenge have not worked. This action can include:
● a Parenting Order
● an Education Supervision Order
● a School Attendance Order
● a fine (sometimes known as a ‘penalty notice’)
Attendance and Safeguarding
At Coop Academy Leeds we understand that absence from school is a potential safeguarding risk and understand this is an important part of keeping children safe.
Children Missing in Education
We recognise that a child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect. Where a child is reported to be missing education we will comply with our statutory duty to inform the local authority of any pupil who falls within the reporting notification requirements outlined in Children Missing Education – Statutory guidance for local authorities (DfE September 2016) and follow the LSCP - Local protocols for Leeds practitioners (leedsscp.org.uk)
School and college staff members must follow the Leeds Children’s Services LA protocols Contact: email@example.com. Tel: 0113 3789686.
Children who are absent, abscond or go missing during the school day are vulnerable and at potential risk of abuse, neglect, CSE or CCE including involvement in county lines. Academy staff members must follow the academy’s procedures for dealing with children who are absent/go missing (flow chart of actions can be seen in the appendices), particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect including sexual abuse or exploitation and to help prevent the risks of their going missing in future.
Elective Home Education
The academy will inform their LA of all deletions from their admission register when a child is taken off roll to be home educated at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0113 3785028
Where a parent/carer has expressed their intention to remove a child from the academy with a view to educating at home, the academy will work with the Local Authority and other key professionals to coordinate a meeting with parents/carers where possible. Ideally, this will be before a final decision has been made, to ensure the parents/carers have considered what is in the best interests of each child. This is particularly important where a child has SEND, is vulnerable, and/or has a social worker.
Students Requiring Mental Health Support
All staff will be made aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. Staff are aware of how children’s experiences can impact on their mental health, behaviour and education. Some staff members in school are Mental Health First Aiders.
Attendance at off site provision / dual registered students
➔ Attendance at alternative provisions is monitored daily using the Collaborative Learning Management (CLM) system. Provisions to make initial contact with parents where students are absent – Attendance Coordinator or Emma Wingfield available to support this.
➔ Students will be given a ‘B’ code on SIMs when they have attended external alternative provision. Any absences will be recorded using the appropriate absence code.
➔ Some provisions, as well as managed moves, are used on a dual-registration basis - Emma Wingfield will oversee this and will give the student the appropriate enrolment status. In these cases students will be given a ‘D’ code when they are on roll with the provision for all periods where the student is expected to attend the other provision/school.
➔ Students who are Guest Pupils at another school will remain as ‘single registration’ at Co-op Academy Leeds. Where the student has attended the other school, a ‘B’ mark will be recorded. All absences will be logged with the appropriate code.
➔ Attendance Improvement Officer’s (AIO) from the Academy will conduct home visits where appropriate.
➔ Attendance Coordinator provides daily/weekly attendance figures to key staff within the Academy.
➔ Once a placement is set up, students must attend. Failure to do so will carry the same consequences as non-attendance within the Academy. Emma Wingfield will liaise with the Academy AIO’s as to further steps.
➔ Attendance Coordinator to request regular attendance certificates for students attending dual-registration provisions/schools.
Parental Responsibilities (DfE website)
Your local council can give each parent a fine of £60, which rises to £120 each if you do not pay within 21 days. If you do not pay the fine after 28 days you may be prosecuted for your child’s absence from school.
You could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months. The court also gives you a Parenting Order.
Education Supervision Order
If the council thinks you need support getting your child to go to school but you’re not co-operating, they can apply to a court for an Education Supervision Order. A supervisor will be appointed to help you get your child into education. The local council can do this instead of prosecuting you, or as well.
This means you have to go to parenting classes. You’ll also have to do what the court says to improve your child’s school attendance.
Missing from School Response Checklist
Referral pathway for reporting children and young people missing /absconded during the school day