At Villiers Primary School, punctuality and attendance are incredibly important to us. Arriving late for school gives your child a disturbing start to the day. Young children thrive on routine, and do not like to stand out from their peers. Having to join the class when everybody else is settled and ready to learn can embarrass and worry many children. Just five minutes late will mean they may have missed the opportunity to share important news or messages with their teacher, who is trying to introduce the learning for the day. A regular five minutes a day adds up to a whole three days a year! Ten minutes late and the most important learning for the day is often lost, children are arriving after tasks have been introduced, and are starting the day at a disadvantage.
Although school starts at 8.55am, we open our gates at 8.40am until 8.50am when our gate closes. Children who arrive after this time must enter school via the main reception and report to the school office where a member of staff from the main office will take their name and class. Late arrivals will walk to class or if in Nursery or unsure will be escorted to their classroom by a staff member. You will be able to see how many late marks your child has assigned to them on request or in the end of year report print off. Please do not use the main front entrance when the playground entrances are still open, as this affects the security of the site for all.
Irregular attendance can seriously disrupt continuity of learning, as lessons in school are designed to build on each other. Although staff work hard to try and make sure that any missing steps are re-taught, it can sometimes not be obvious for some time that a ‘gap’ is holding back learning. In this way, persistent absence can undermine educational progress and often leads to underachievement and low attainment. Another serious consequence of low attendance is that it hinders a child’s ability to develop friendships within school. Making friends and building lasting relationships are vital in helping children to feel happy and confident in school. In this way, regular attendance supports children to reach their full potential.
Attending school regularly gives children the chance of a better future. We provide ample incentives to reward children who attend school regularly and on time.
Children who achieve 100% attendance for a term will receive a certificate, badge and have the opportunity to parade school with a 100% attendance sticker.
Children who are registered as a Persistent Absentee (PA), are presented with an attendance chart for the week. If children are in attendance all week, they are rewarded with a prize of their choice out of the attendance box on Fridays. Please note, PAs change on a weekly basis due to attendance figures collected over time.
Good and improved attendance is rewarded in a tangible way with, for example, positive comments, certificates and stickers.
One EYFS/KS1 and one KS2 class who have achieved the highest attendance each week, are rewarded with an extra playtime, alongside a teddy to proudly display for EYFS/KS1 and a shield for KS2.
Our Attendance Race is updated weekly, with classes who achieve above 97% winning 2 points and 100% with 3 points. The prizes for points are then as follows throughout the year: 25 points = extra break, 50 points = own clothes day, 75 points = 1 hour leisure time and 100 points = film afternoon.
Regular attendance incentives, such as: mascots, bouncy castles etc.
We understand that our young children are naturally going to be affected by first-time illnesses such as chicken pox. We understand that children will miss sessions through serious illness, as this cannot be avoided, but we would ask that you please think seriously about the effects a much longer period of absence has before asking to take a family holiday during term-time.
The government expects attendance of at least 96%. A family holiday of ten days will reduce your child’s attendance for the whole academic year to 94.73%, and this will obviously keep falling if your child has any further absence due to illness. The table (shown above) below shows just how much every day at school matters.
If your child is ill, we ask that you ring the school office on their first day of absence to let us know what is wrong. If persistent absence becomes an issue that affects your child, then we would like to offer any help we can to ensure your child is able to improve their attendance. Our Attendance Lead, Attendance Officer the Education Welfare Service, along with all leaders and teachers are all committed to helping, and have the best interests of your family at heart. Please call in to school or contact the school by phone if you think we can be of any assistance.
Leave of absence during term-time
Current attendance details for your child will be discussed with you at each parent consultation meeting. This will enable you to keep track of how your child is doing.
Current guidance from both the government and our local authority no longer allows us to be lenient when considering requests for leave of absence during term-time. The ability to authorise up to ten days per year has been removed; therefore leave of absence for family holidays or weddings is no longer a guaranteed entitlement. Leave of absence may only be granted in very special circumstances. School is in session for 190 days a year leaving parents a further 175 days a year in which to have days out together and take a holiday.
If you find your family circumstances necessitate a request for a leave of absence during term-time, then an appointment must be booked with the headteacher to explain the unexpected or exceptional circumstances that make the request unavoidable. When filling in the request form for an authorised leave of absence, please make sure you give sufficient details about why the holiday cannot take place at another time. Most importantly, a request cannot be granted if your child already has a low attendance percentage. The following extract from our school policy makes clear the criteria that we apply:
The school may consider approving a request for pupils provided that:
there are unexpected or exceptional reasons as to why a holiday cannot be taken in normal holiday time however this is extremely rare
If you are refused term time absence, you may appeal the decision. A further form will be issued to you if this should occur.
If the absence is not authorised, but the leave is taken anyway, the case may be referred to the Education Welfare Service from Wolverhampton Council who may issue a Penalty Notice for £120 (or £60 if paid within 28 days) to each parent for each child taken out of school.
Top Tips for Improving Attendance
Show your child you think school is important!
Going to school unprepared can be a major worry for children – help by checking schoolbags the night before, packing P.E. bags and keeping an eye on homework progress.
Tired children aren’t punctual and find it hard to learn, so ensure your child has a sensible bedtime.
Help your children get into a regular routine and set the alarm at the same time every morning.
Make time for breakfast so there are no shop stops where children can get side-tracked on the way to school. If you need support with this, please contact the Family Liaison Team.
Children can become unsettled if they have to go into school late and without their friends – getting children to school in time to meet friends in the playground can prevent this.
Have a memory board at home for special trips or activities – the board will help your children remember to tell you and help you remember to prepare them for it.
When your child attends school on a regular basis, they take an important step towards reaching their full potential, and are given the greatest opportunity to learn new things and develop their skills.
The more time they spend around other children, whether in the classroom or as part of a school team or club, the more chance they have of making lots of friends and feeling included, boosting social skills, confidence and self-esteem. Helping your child into good habits from an early age can help these carry through to adult and working life.
Remember – if your child is absent for just one day a week, over the course of their school career they will miss two years of schooling!!!
Every day counts! Missing school is missing out!