Swanshurst believes that punctual and regular school attendance is an essential precondition of social inclusion and a prerequisite to effective learning.

The school is committed to ensuring that all students attend school regularly. Regular school attendance is vital if students are to benefit from the experiences which the school offers them; we believe that students should attend school regularly because this is where they learn and this is where they are safe. Employers and other reference seekers value attendance and punctuality as an indicator of reliability; in an ever competitive world it is crucial that our students are equipped to compete with others by having outstanding attendance and punctuality.

Frequent absence and lateness can add up to a considerable amount of lost learning and can seriously disadvantage a pupil.

Attendance during
one school year
equals this number
of days absent
which is approximately
this many weeks absent
which means this
number of lessons missed
95% 9.5 days 2 weeks 50 lessons
90% 19 days 4 weeks 100 lessons
80% 38 days 8 weeks 200 lessons
70% 57 days 11.5 weeks 290 lessons

We have adopted the SPOTLIGHT ON ATTENDANCE programme in order to rigorously promote excellent attendance and punctuality and support families who may be struggling. Parents are informed of our commitment to excellent attendance and punctuality via a termly letter and weekly updates on the website. The Spotlight campaign continues throughout our academic year.

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Roles & Responsibilities

The school Governors along with the Head Teacher will at the beginning of each school year set an attendance target for the school. Our target is 96%.  The school Governors are also responsible for ensuring that pupil’s names are recorded on the school admissions and daily register.

The Head Teacher has a responsibility to ensure that the daily register of pupils attending the school is taken and delegates the monitoring and reporting on attendance to a senior member of staff.

Parents have a responsibility to ensure their daughter(s) attend school regularly.

The Local Authority has a duty to ensure that parents meet this responsibility and the service can seek legal redress to secure a pupil’s attendance if a parent fails in their duty.

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Managing & Monitoring Pupil Absence

At Swanshurst School the attendance of pupils is recorded electronically. This helps us to produce termly data which we use to track and monitor attendance of our pupils. It also helps the school provide information on pupil attendance for Ofsted inspectors.  Each reason for pupil absence has a special code and this assists the school to monitor persistent absentees.

In our school we expect pupils to have 100% attendance. Parents of pupils attending this school have a responsibility to make sure their daughter(s) are as close as possible to reaching this target.

Through data analysis, we track which pupils fall below this threshold and take action. Pupils with a pattern of poor attendance (more than 3 separate absences) will be contacted either by telephone or letter. Parents/carers may also be invited to school to meet with a member of their daughter’s pastoral team.

Pupil’s attendance patterns are monitored on a half termly basis by the Senior Leadership Team and any patterns, issues or significant absence will be further investigated.

The Local Authority has statutory powers to issue Penalty Notices which may lead to prosecution. Each year the school will run a ‘Spotlight on Attendance’ campaign with the support of the court section of the Education Welfare Service. Letters about the process are sent out at the start of every academic year. If attendance does not improve after meetings with parents, the court section of the Education Welfare Service will issue Penalty Notices. Legal Action Information for parents. In the case of fines not being paid, this may lead to prosecution.

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Absence From School

As part of our duty to safeguard children, any absence without informing the school will result in a phone call from the school.

Because school attendance is a very serious matter, we aim to have good communication about attendance matters with parents through our website, text messaging, Go4schools, structured conversations and meetings. If there is a problem it is better if a parent speaks to their daughter’s tutor or a member of the pastoral team rather than allow a situation to escalate.

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Unauthorised Absence

At Swanshurst School we have an expectation that parents will telephone the school or use the Edulink app using absence reporting to inform us of their daughter’s absence. We may not accept a parent’s reason for absence especially if they have had 3 separate individual absences. Regular unauthorised absences where a parent has not provided a reason for absence mean that a parent or parents may be breaking the law and could be:

  • issued with an Education penalty charge notice of £60 - £120 by the Local Authority
  • found guilty in a magistrates court and fined up to £2,500

If a pupil is regularly absent due to sickness a parent may be invited to school to discuss their daughter’s absences, this discussion may include the school nurse. When a pupil is regularly absent due (after 3 separate individual absences) to illness the school will request that a parent provides medical details from their doctor before continuing to authorise further absences.

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Leave of Absence in Term Time

Our school actively discourages parents making requests to take their daughter(s) out of school during term time. The school is closed for 14 weeks of the year and parents are expected to use this time for taking holidays and visiting family abroad.

We have a request form that a parent in exceptional circumstances may complete and return to the Head Teacher for consideration. Families, who take their daughter(s) out of school for unauthorised leave during term time, risk receiving a Formal Warning, or Education Penalty Notice. Swanshurst School has the full support of our Governors and the Local Authority in this matter.

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Religious Observance/Holidays

Parents may request an absence from school for their daughter on the day of the religious observance, so that families can enjoy celebrations together. The school is unable to sanction leave of absence for longer than is required as we follow the advice of the Local Authority. Parents taking their daughter(s) out for more than one day will have the absence recorded as unauthorised and appropriate measures will be put in place to catch up with the work that has been missed during the unauthorised absence.

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The registers are taken at the beginning of the day during tutor time and period 3. Pupils arriving after 8.45am are marked as late. Pupils arriving after 9.05am will sign in the Hub. 

Following the school’s behaviour policy, if a pupil is late once in a week, they are kept back for 10 minutes after school on the same day, the second time in a week it is a 30-minute detention and the third time, or more is an hour’s detention.

Parents / carers will be informed that their child/ren has 30 minutes / 1 hour detention via Edulink.

Please note registration will close at 9:05am and 2:00pm after this time students will receive a U Code if there is no reason given. This will affect their attendance and can be used for grounds for prosecution.

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Dental & Medical Appointments

Wherever possible, parents should make every effort to avoid making medical or dental appointments during the school day. It is preferable to try and arrange these during holiday periods or at the beginning or end of the school day. Most medical appointments do not necessitate a full day of absence and it is the parents’ responsibility to collect their daughter from school to take them to appointments and to bring them back to school once their appointment is over. Medical appointments should not normally result in a whole day’s absence from school.

Authorisation to leave school for a medical appointment should be sought from the relevant Head of Year prior to the appointment.  The appointment card/letter should be signed by your daughters Head of Year and taken to the reception hub on the day of the appointment.  An out of school pass will then be issued.

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Safeguarding Children

Our school must be able to demonstrate that it knows the whereabouts of each pupil and the reason for their absence. It is very important for the Local Authority to be able to track pupils if they are not attending school and in some cases for schools to make a referral to Social Care. If a parent is moving house, we need to be informed that a school place will no longer be required, with the date the pupil will be leaving. We will also need the name of the new school that the pupil will be attending or, if moving abroad, we require evidence of flight tickets/new school name and address and the new family address. If this information is not known at the time the pupil leaves school, a forwarding address and telephone number MUST be left so that we can contact you.

Pupils who leave the school and their whereabouts are unknown will have their details forwarded to the Birmingham Leave Without Trace Team after we have made every responsible effort to find out where the pupil gone.

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