Ferndown Upper School is committed to ensuring the best for all our learners and are working together with parents and carers to support good attendance of students to school.
You will be aware of the importance of good school attendance in improving a young person’s chance of success in life and establishing positive attitudes to life-long learning. There is clear evidence of a link between poor attendance at school and low levels of achievement. Of pupils who have less than 90% attendance, only 35% achieve five or more GCSEs at grade 9-4 (A*-C) including English and maths, but 73% of pupils who have an attendance of 95% or more will achieve this.
If a child has an attendance level of 90% they will have missed one day a fortnight in school. Over a school year, this will represent four weeks of absence. If this level of absence were maintained for, a five-year period, it would mean half a school year would have been missed.
At Ferndown Upper school if we are concerned about your child’s attendance we will go through the following stages: (please note we are aware that in the first part of the year the % of attendance is oddly weighted and so we wait until the second half-term to take action):
Stage 1 – attendance below 95% – we will write to you with our initial concerns (some parents/carers will receive this letter this week).
Stage 2 – attendance below 90% – we will invite you into school for a meeting with one of our pastoral managers to discuss ways we can support you and your child’s attendance.
Stage 3 – attendance below 85% – we will invite you to a formal panel meeting where you may be issued with a penalty notice, a parenting order or told that formal proceedings for prosecution will be taken resulting in a fine of £1,000 and a criminal record.
As you can access Go 4 Schools at any point, you have a live record of your child’s attendance. If you notice that the attendance record is incorrect, please do call us and we will happily make any necessary changes.
At Ferndown Upper School, we are determined to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to achieve success and have an excellent record of attendance. Where there is a cause for concern you will be contacted and attendance will be closely monitored. If attendance does not improve because of support, we are required by law to take further actions (as outlined above).
Please also note that the school is required by law to apply directly for a penalty notice in two situations (not using stage 1-3 outlined above):
- If you take an unauthorised holiday of 5 days or more
- If you have 5 days of unauthorised absence in a 12 week period
In these circumstances, the school may choose to issue a penalty notice directly. All holiday requests must be submitted in writing to the headteacher. He can only authorise holiday requests in exceptional circumstances. Parents, who choose to take a holiday in term time without authorisation, are likely to receive a penalty notice. Please note that penalty fines are payable by both parents and for each child in the school.
It is also important that students are in school on time. Timekeeping is not only important in obtaining maximum benefit from education, it is also a key skill for adult life. Lateness is monitored by the school and also contributes to absence rates. The school is also entitled to take action (as outlined above) against students who are persistently late to school.
Whilst we understand that children do become ill on occasions, children who lose a lot of time at school can suffer in the long term from significant gaps in their learning. If a child’s health continues to affect their education, we are obliged to make a referral to the school nursing team to ensure medical advice and support is provided. If your child is ill it is your responsibility to inform the school. Ferndown Upper School operates a ‘first-day call’ system which means we will contact you to ask why your child is not in school and when they are expected to return. We need to see a doctor’s note for an illness of longer than 5 days. Without this medical note, we will not be able to authorise the absence and you may then be liable for a penalty notice.
For further details please do look at our Attendance Policy on our website – we have adopted the Dorset Local Authority policy with small amendments.
The attendance process above is designed to identify poor attendees quickly and address the issues that are affecting their attendance. We hope that for most students their attendance will remain above 95% and so the processes outlined above will not be necessary. We want our students to be happy and successful in school and we recognise that good attendance is central to this.