Achieving Excellence Beyond Belief
Parents - Attendance
At Sandy Secondary School, we are passionate about delivering an excellent education to all students and believe that access to education is the best way that a student can achieve highly academically.
Sandy Secondary School endeavours to provide a safe learning environment in which students can enjoy and achieve. We acknowledge the proven correlation between high level attendance and student outcomes and achievement. Our Attendance Policy emphasises positive strategies and a range of interventions to ensure the highest levels of attendance. However, when normal School procedures do not result in good attendance, a range of further measures, including legal action, have to be considered.
If your child is going to be absent from school for any reason, please ring 01767 680598, Ext 243, to report the absence. You can then leave a message for the Attendance Officer, explaining the reason for your child’s absence. We ask that you kindly ensure that this is done by 9.00 am on each day they are absent.
What is an acceptable attendance rate?
Attendance is a national priority, national data clearly shows a correlation between high attendance rates, high achievement and examination success. In addition, all schools must submit data electronically every term. It is a key indicator of an effective school and, as such, will be scrutinised by OFSTED.
Sandy Secondary School expect attendance to be 100%, unless there are exceptional or unavoidable reasons for absence. The simple facts:
Students attend school for 190 days each year:
At 96% attendance 73% of students achieve 5 9-5 grades at GCSEs including English and Maths but even at 96% a student would have missed 45 lessons;
17 days off school every year means that a student will probably obtain a whole grade lower in each exam than they are really capable of;
19 days off per school year means that a student has approximately 90% attendance. At 90% attendance you will have missed 95 lessons in one year. 90% attendance throughout a student’s secondary education is half a year absent;
At 80% attendance a student will have missed 38 days of school. This means that a student will probably be underachieving by two whole grades in each subject, only 35% of those with attendance between 80-90% will achieve 5 9-5 grades at GCSE including English and Maths.
Home/Sandy Secondary School Partnership
Securing a high level of attendance requires the school and home to work closely together. To this end, we ask parents to:
do all you can to ensure their child arrives on time for morning registration;
morning registration begins at 8:30am. We will monitor persistent late comers and action will be taken to address this; parents can be prosecuted if their child persistently arrives late;
if your child is ill, notify the school on each day of absence;
get in touch at an early stage about any concerns you have about their child's attitude towards school.
In return Sandy Secondary School will:
contact home on day 1 of absence if no message has been received from home;
contact home over any continued absence/illness;
contact home over any unexplained absences;
follow up promptly any concerns parents pass on to us that may be affecting their child’s attitude to, or feeling of wellbeing in school;
involve the House team or Pastoral/SEND teams to help students re-integrate into school after illness or other individual circumstances;
regularly and consistently remind students of the importance of good attendance and punctuality;
reward excellent or improving attendance and action any concerns promptly.
Rewards for Good Attendance
To promote good attendance and to emphasise its importance Sandy Secondary School offers the following rewards:
Certificates of attendance;
Celebration in Tutor time and House Assemblies;
Letters home for long term exceptional attendance and overcoming long term non-attendance will become part of the student’s records and make a meaningful contribution to their reference for further education or the world of work. Sandy Secondary Sixth Form, prospective employers, Sixth Form Colleges and Colleges of Further Education view attendance and punctuality as important indicators of motivation/attitude and our records and references are valuable evidence of reliability. The majority of local Sixth Form providers expect at least 96% attendance when offering places.
Sandy Secondary School cannot authorise any leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Department for Education (DFE) has issued guidelines to all schools detailing valid reasons for authorized or justified absences:
a child is ill or receiving medical attention;
days of religious observance, notified in advance;
absence due to family circumstances (e.g. bereavement, serious illness).
There are other absences, such as approved sporting activities that can be authorised and there will be events affecting families, some unforeseen, which will necessitate absence from school; professional discretion will need to be used in these cases as to whether the absence can be authorised. If exceptional circumstances are being applied for an Application for Leave of Absence During Term Time form is to be completed and submitted to the Executive Principal for approval at least six weeks prior to the absence. Forms are also available from the Attendance Officer on 01767 680598 ext 243.
We expect absences to be kept to a minimum; routine medical and dental appointments should be arranged out of school hours wherever possible.
Holidays during Term time
In line with Government guidelines, where parents/guardians are discouraged from taking students out of school during term time, the Executive Principal may not grant absence for any reason unless there are exceptional circumstances. If exceptional circumstances are being applied for an Application for Leave of Absence During Term Time form is to be completed and submitted to the Executive Principal for approval at least six weeks prior to the absence. The change in legislation has meant the removal of holiday entitlement and Headteachers will now not authorise any holiday requests in term time, unless there are exceptional circumstances. A family holiday taken in term time will result in a warning and Penalty Notice being issued.
A Final Word
We feel attendance levels are an indicator of how effective and caring a school is. Failure to attend can be an indication that all is not well at home so there is a welfare aspect to attendance as well. Equally, it is clear that regular, consistent attendance is an essential pre-requisite for effective learning.
We take attendance seriously and have put a lot of time and energy into getting our procedures as efficient and effective as possible. We urge you to give this matter the priority it deserves.
Behaviour and Attendance Manager