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Dartford Bridge Primary

Attendance

We place a high priority on excellent attendance as it is necessary for the children to learn effectively.

Attendance patterns are monitored regularly and any child who has regular, frequent absences will be referred to the Attendance Support and Enforcement Officer who may visit parents at home.

Before doing this we will write to the parents and ask them to come in and discuss the issues behind the absences either with us or the cluster attendance improvement officer. Regular attendance at school is vital to a child’s education and it is the parents’ legal responsibility to ensure their child attends school regularly and on time.

If your child is absent for any reason, please telephone us before 9am on the day of the absence. Absence messages may be left on the school answer phone at any time (the line is open 24/7).

When leaving a message, please tell us:

  • Your child’s name, the name of your child’s teacher, who you are/ your relationship to the child, the reason for the absence and when you expect your child to return to school.

Attendance regulations state that reasons for all absences must be notified to school. We also operate first day calling, and if you do not inform us of your child’s absence by 9am, then we will contact you to request a reason for safeguarding purposes.

We have a duty of care to all of our children, and if there is no reason given on the day before 9am and you do not respond to our first day calling, we will, as part of our duty of care, do all that we can to ensure that the child and family are safe. This may mean that we make a welfare call to the police who would attend the family home or that staff may call to the family home. We will also contact emergency contacts to see if they can ascertain where a pupil is if required. We need to ensure our children are all safe and accounted for especially as some of our children walk to school alone in juniors and a parent may believe them to be safely at school and they are not.

The answer phone is on when the school is closed, so you can leave a message at any time. To save any unnecessary worry, please do phone before 9am and leave a message.

We will consider each reason given and then make a decision about whether to authorise it or not.

If you know your child will be absent or late, for example because of a medical or dental appointment, please let us know in advance, either by telephoning the office or sending in a letter. Please also note that a medical or dental appointment does not always need a full day or half day’s absence. We expect children to be in school before and after medical appointments, however short that time may be.  You need to provide the dentists or doctor’s appointment card/text for it to be authorised.

Please note also that children arriving at school after 9 a.m. are classed as being late and marked as such. Those arriving after 9.20 are classed as having an unauthorised absence, with the exception of those children who arrive late due to medical appointments. Please make every effort to ensure that your child arrives on time each day as arriving late means that children miss the start of the lessons and this will negatively impact their learning. Those arriving late regularly will be referred to the Attendance Support and Enforcement Officer.

Holidays in term time are no longer granted but we may consider absences from school in exceptional circumstances. This does not include the holidays being cheaper in term time, wishing to go with friends, family members paying for the holidays, birthday celebrations etc. Also, we do not authorise any days off for siblings without medical evidence (e.g. all members of the house are ill with vomiting) or any absence immediately before or after half terms without medical evidence. Please collect an absence request form from the office (or on website) if you wish to apply for leave in term time and hand in with all evidence of the special circumstances you state on the form to inform us of an absence. Fuller guidance is on the form and this can also be found on the school website policies. Parents who take their child on holiday in term time now face a fine of up to £60 per parent per child.

These fines will be implemented for any child meeting the following criteria:

  • 10 consecutive sessions* of unauthorised absence where some or all of the absence may be attributed to an unauthorised holiday in term-time (for absences from 1 September 2017); or
  • 15% unauthorised absence over a period of 6 school weeks for reasons other than unauthorised term time holiday.
  • 5 days of unauthorised absence in a period of 50 school days.

This also includes step parents and parents who do not live with the child.

*Please note that the school day consists of 2 sessions: morning and afternoon.