School attendance guidance
Schools should be familiar with the guidance from the DfE in relation to school attendance, this includes advice on codings for non- attendance.
DfE School attendance guidance
The guidance for Gloucestershire schools includes information on statutory and recommended practice for schools, schools interventions to improve attendance and legal processes in relation to attendance of concern. This takes into account changes in procedures for initiating legal procedures and replaces any guidance previously issued.
If you have any queries in relation to this please call your Inclusion Officer or the Education Inclusion Helpline on 01452 427274 and they will be able to advise you.
This link will take you to a really useful resource section for supporting children and young people who are experiencing barriers to attending school:
Guidance to support children and young people experiencing barriers attending school - Gloucestershire County Council
The Local Authority has the power to prosecute parents who fail to secure their child's regular attendance at school. Schools can, in some circumstances, request that the Local Authority issue a Penalty Notice where parents have failed to secure regular attendance at school.
The GCC Attendance Guidance is for information only – it is currently being reviewed. Please check the Bulletin Board for updates.
If the school is considering a request for legal proceedings please contact your named Inclusion Officer and they will be able to guide you through the submission process. The first step in the process is to invite parent(s) to attend the Attendance Improvement Meetings. Once all voluntary support options have been tried and there has been no improvement please discuss the case with your Inclusion Officer who will ask you to complete the Request to Initiate Legal Proceedings 2022-23 template and submit via egress with all supporting evidence to email@example.com .
In line with the ‘Working together to improve school attendance’ guidance, we have drafted a Parenting Contract for schools to use Draft Parenting Contract.
We welcome feedback – please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments.
The Penalty Notice Code of Conduct remains in place for the academic year 2022-23.
Penalty Notices may be requested for:
Unauthorised holiday during term-time
Arriving late after the register has closed
Being seen in a public place during the first 5 days of a suspension or exclusion during school hours
Please ensure that each request is submitted securely via egress to email@example.com and must include:
GCC Penalty Notice Request Form
Signed and dated, named, registration certificate
Evidence of the holiday request and response
School Attendance Policy
The sample letters to parents can be found here:
Leave of absence request and response forms
Leave of absence without request letter
If the school is considering a request for legal proceedings please contact your named Inclusion Officer and they will be able to guide you through the submission process. The first step in the process is to invite parent(s) to attend the Attendance Improvement Meetings.
The DfE have published Guidance for local authorities and schools dealing with adults who have legal rights and responsibilities for children at their school. The guidance outlines the responsibilities of the school and local authority when working with families when the parents have separated.
Advice on Attendance
Any queries about attendance can be discussed with your Inclusion Officer or you can contact the Attendance helpline on 01452 427274 – this number can also advise you who your school Inclusion Officer is and give you their contact details.
For more information on Flexi-Schooling, see here.
Information for parents
Part-time and alternative provision timetables
All pupils of compulsory school 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 the re-integration package.
A part time timetable must not be treated as a long term solution. Any pastoral support programme or other agreement must have a time limit by which point the pupil is expected to attend full time or be provided with alternative provision.
Of course, any decision about a part time timetable needs to have due and full consideration of any safeguarding and welfare risks, plus steps to prevent these; any vulnerabilities and risks must be fully regarded as part of your duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Not being in school full time can put children at significant risk, including risk of harm, neglect, abuse, exploitation and radicalisation, for example, as well as the risks of underachieving, poor outcomes, and becoming NEET.
A reduced timetable is not considered an appropriate method of managing poor behaviour, or pupils at risk of exclusion, in the longer term. This intervention should only be considered after other strategies have been exhausted and they should be for the benefit of the pupil, such arrangements must be made with the agreement of parents/carers.
Any pupil on a part-time timetable is expected to have a My Plan + in place (along with a My Assessment) to ensure needs are identified and SMART targets set in conjunction with parents; this will enable pupils to work towards attending school full time with appropriate support in place. Schools should record these absences as code ‘C’ in the attendance register.
It is important as a local authority that we have a central record of all children not accessing full time education in the usual way, including those accessing alternative provision full time away from their mainstream school, regardless of where they are on roll.
Please use the 2022-2023 part time timetables spreadsheet to submit details of the any current part time or alternative provision timetables as they occur, when they are amended and when they cease and email to: PTTimetables@gloucestershire.gov.uk
Pupils recorded with 10+ days of continuous unauthorised absence
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 state that schools must:
"... make to the local education authority ... a return giving the full name and address of every registered pupil of compulsory school age who ...
... (b) has been absent from school, where the absence has not been treated as authorised in accordance with regulation 6(2) for a continuous period of not less than ten school days, and specifying the cause of absence if known to the proprietor ..."
How do schools report this information?
Those schools that have a reliable data feed between their database and the LA database will no longer need to make a manual notification of 10 days continuous unauthorised absence. However, those schools and academies that do not share their data with the LA in this way will continue to need to make a manual notification in order to meet their responsibilities under The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended.
If your school does not share its data with the Local Authority through the data feed, it is necessary to continue to complete the 10-day absence reporting template (XLSX, 19.1 KB) (XLSX, 19.1 KB) and return securely via Egress to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Gloucestershire County Council would be happy to work with you to resolve any issues your school has with using the electronic data feed. Please contact our colleagues within the Schools Software Support Team by e-mail on SSO@gloucestershire.gov.uk
Education Inclusion Service can support schools and academies regarding actions the school can take to support improved school attendance. Schools should contact their Inclusion Officer for this support or call the Attendance helpline on 01452 427274.
What will we do with this information?
It is important as a local authority that we continue to have a central record of all children who have been absent for ten days continuously (and the absence is unauthorised). The importance of this reporting arrangement has also been underlined during very recent school inspections in our area where inspectors have contacted the LA to understand how the school fulfills its responsibilities in this regard.
It is vital that schools put in place appropriate safeguarding responses for children who are absent without authorisation, including for significant periods of time, and for children who go missing from school, particularly on repeat occasions. There are many circumstances where children may become ‘missing’ or may be absent; through these, children can be at significant risk, including risk of harm, neglect, abuse, exploitation and radicalisation, for example, as well as the risks of underachieving, poor outcomes, and becoming NEET. As per Working Together to safeguard children 2018, ‘Early intervention is necessary to identify the existence of any underlying safeguarding risk and to help prevent the risks of a child going missing in future.’ Schools must take every step to ensure that all children are safeguarded, and as part of their safeguarding duties should investigate any unexplained absences as per KCSIE statutory guidance.
As per the CME guidance 2016:
‘Schools must monitor pupils’ attendance through their daily register. Schools should agree with their local authority the intervals at which they will inform local authorities of the details of pupils who fail to attend regularly, or have missed ten school days or more without permission. Schools should monitor attendance closely and address poor or irregular attendance. It is important that pupils’ poor attendance is referred to the local authority.