New Attendance Guidelines

07/01/2016

Updated Message from Hampshire County Council: Information for parents/carers about Attendance

There is much research that shows a strong correlation between high attendance and high attainment for all children. A recent publication from the Department for Education publication indicated that even missing a short amount of time from school can reduce every pupil’s chance of securing the grades they are capable of achieving.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/absence-and-attainment-at-key-stages-2-and-4-2012-to-2013df 

Following the recent decision by Isle of Wight magistrates to not hear a case against a father who removed his child from school for a holiday during term time, we wish to clarify for all our parents and carers both the current implications of this case; and the current position on absence from school particularly regarding holidays during term time.

  • The Isle of Wight decision did not set a legal precedent, because magistrates’ decisions are not binding on other courts.
  • Headteachers must continue to comply with the 2013 amendment to the  Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (2006) Regulations 2013 which means that they cannot authorise a leave of absence from school unless it is exceptional.

As such all Local Authorities and their Headteachers must continue to follow the law on attendance and implement the government’s guidance around attendance. This remains the legal expectation for all education authorities, and the Isle of Wight and Hampshire County Council has reviewed the legal position in relation to the code of conduct for issuing penalty notices for unauthorised absence from school, and our code of conduct currently remains unchanged.

You will remember a letter was sent out earlier this year, on behalf of the local authority, informing you of changes to the regulations around school attendance. The letter said that Hampshire County Council had reviewed their code of conduct for issuing penalty notices for unauthorised absence and all schools are instructed to comply with the new guidelines, starting on 1st September 2015. In the light of this, our revised school attendance policy is available below.

In summary, all schools will now be required to work with Hampshire County Council to take legal action if:

  1. A child has unauthorised absence for 10 or more sessions. (equivalent to 5 days)
  2. A child is continually late to school and this lateness is unauthorised for 10 or more sessions.

It is important that parents remember that 1 week (5 days) of absence from school for a holiday taken during term time is recorded in the school register as unauthorised absence and therefore from September such absence will trigger the issuing of a fixed penalty notice by the local authority. 

I know that there will be a mixed reception to this change; however you will appreciate that the school has no choice but to adhere to legislation. If you believe that the request could be considered an exceptional circumstance (eg due to armed forces overseas tour) then you will need to provide as much information as possible.

Click link below for the full policy & the Hampshire County Council leaflet about penalty notices:

Attendance Policy

Hampshire County Council Penalty Notices Leaflet