At St. John Vianney, we aim for an environment that enables and encourages all members of the community to reach out for excellence. For our children to gain the greatest benefit from their education it is vital that they attend and your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. The school will strive to provide a welcoming, caring environment, whereby each member of the school community feels wanted and secure.
Having good attendance also means being on time and not being late to school. Punctuality is an essential life skill that needs to be taught from the very beginning. Children who arrive late can feel embarrassed, left out and miss out on important introductions to lessons. As a result of this, their learning suffers. We at St. John Vianney will work with pupils and their families to ensure each pupil attends school regularly and punctually.
The disruption in the past two years means that it is now vital for all children to be at school every day in order to minimise, as far as possible, the longer-term impact of the pandemic on their education, wellbeing and wider development. We also know that when not in school, children missed being with their friends and the wider social aspects of school. Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. Therefore, the government expect that school attendance continues to be compulsory and the usual rules on school attendance apply, including:
- parents’ duty to send their child/children to school regularly where they are of compulsory school age.
- schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence.
- the option for local authorities to again consider the use of legal sanctions, including penalty notices and prosecution in court.
At St. John Vianney, we work in partnership with Blackpool Borough Council to ensure children attend school regularly. However, we would like to thank parents/carers for the work you have done in ensuring your children attend and receive the education they are entitle to. We simply could not ensure this by enforcement of rules alone and, we know, we achieve better outcomes where families value this attendance in the same way we do.
If you are ever worried about your child/children attending school, the first port of call is to discuss your concerns with us directly. Mr Duffy, Attendance Lead, may be able to help and we work closely with health and council teams who may also be able to help if needed.
Please note that requests for leave during term time are unlikely to be authorised. Family emergencies also need careful consideration as it is not always appropriate or in the best interests of the child to miss school for emergencies which are being dealt with by adult family members. No school or local authority wants to take legal action. Every attempt to resolve parents’ concerns and improve a child’s attendance will be made before any formal legal action, which may include a penalty notice or court action, is instigated. However, where all efforts fail and parents fail to ensure their child attends school regularly, legal action may be considered.
Our attendance target for the school is 96% and we expect all children to aim to reach this throughout the year. Our attendance expectations apply to ALL YEAR GROUPS (including Nursery & Reception). If you take a place for a child at our school, we expect that attendance is valued and all steps are taken to ensure children attend regularly.
Should you wish to discuss any attendance matters further, please contact Mr Duffy.
The School’s Pupil Welfare Office is Mr E Matthews.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my child is sick?
We do understand that children become ill from time to time and, should your child be too ill to attend school, we ask that you inform us as soon as possible on each day of absence via the Parent app, telephone, email or you can call into school and report to reception. Please ensure we have an up to date telephone number should we need to contact you. Again, this can be updated via our Parent app.
Where there is no contact from home, we may conduct a home visit to check all is ok. We do not set remote learning for children who are absent from school due to sickness. Remember, if your child feels well enough, there are some instances when they can still come to school with certain conditions or illnesses. Further information is available on the NHS website Is my child too ill for school? – NHS (www.nhs.uk) .
What if my child has a medical appointment?
Medical appointments should not be taken during school time where possible. Where it is essential for an appointment to take place during the school day, we allow absence for a period of time to cover the appointment. We would not ordinarily authorise absence for a whole day (unless the appointment was scheduled across the day) and we would not authorise absence for siblings. In these cases, please provide the school with sight of the child’s appointment card via the App.
We want to go on a family holiday, is that allowed?
The government is very firm in their guidance that schools are not allowed to authorise leave of absence during term time, including for family holidays, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Any period of unauthorised absence may result in you, as a parent, receiving a fixed penalty notice fine. Our school office can provide you with a form if you wish to request leave under exceptional circumstances. We recognise that the vast major of parents elect not to take their child out of school due to the detrimental impact it can have on their child’s education.
What happens if my child is late for school?
All children are expected to arrive at school by their start time of either 8:35am or 8:45am through their designated entrance. There really is no reason to be late. Any child entering school after 8.45am will be required to queue and be admitted via the office. It is important that parents/carers attend with any late children in order to explain the reasons and sign children in safely. Children admitted via the office receive a late mark in the registers or, in cases where registers have closed (usually at 9.30am), they will be marked as an unauthorised absence for that session. Registration is a really important time of day for children. As well as completing registers, children carry out additional work and have the opportunity to speak with their teacher and peers.
What happens if school has concerns about my child's attendance?
The school monitors absence on a daily, weekly and termly basis. If your child’s absence causes concern, we will contact you to discuss this. Our attendance escalation process will always start with a phone call for us to discuss any barriers to learning. If your child’s attendance doesn’t improve, you may be called in for an attendance meeting. During this meeting, we will discuss barriers to ensuring your child attends on time and this could include offering an ‘Early Help Assessment’ which will attract additional support for your family. Both of these meetings are to be seen as a supportive measure to ensure that your child attends regularly and on time to prevent escalated action being taken by the Local Authority.