School attendance guidance
It would be useful for schools to familiarise themselves with the requirements for recording attendance, including the statutory need to educate pupils for at least 380 sessions.
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.
In other circumstances, where their own measures to support the family to improve attendance (as a first response) have failed a school can request that the Local Authority initiate legal proceedings.
Request to initiate legal proceedings form for any pupil who has had at least 20 continuous sessions of unauthorised absence within the last six months or at least 28 sessions of unauthorised absence within the current academic year.
A representative from the Local Authority, Education Inclusion Service, can help schools to review the case before proceeding to legal action and we would encourage schools to discuss the matter with the Inclusion Officer linked to the school before proceeding with a request for prosecution.
For more information on Flexi-Schooling, see here.
Information for parents
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.
Full consultation with, and agreement of, the children’s social worker should be sought where the child is CiN / has a Child Protection Plan and, in such cases, notification of the Part Time Timetable should also be sent to the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children’s Board by e-mailing email@example.com
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 2019-2020 part time timetables spreadsheet to submit details of the any current part time 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 ..."
What will we do with this information?
We collate the returns and offer advice about strategies to deal with the absence (if required). Upon receipt of the returns, the Data Officer ensures there is a central record of all pupils in the county who have 10+ days of continuous unauthorised absence and an Inclusion Adviser (IA) is informed. If is indicated that further advice is required on managing the absence an IA will make contact with the school to discuss the case(s).
When is this information needed by?
We request you send information as soon as possible to support the safeguarding of pupils. Schools can discuss individual cases with their IA.
How to report:
Complete the 10-day absence reporting template and return to firstname.lastname@example.org.