Western Downland is a successful primary school and your child plays their part in making it so. We aim for an environment which 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 regularly and your child should be at school, on time, every day the school is open unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. It is very important therefore that you make sure that your child attends regularly and our Policy sets out how together we will achieve this.

Absence Procedures:

If your child is absent you must:

• Contact us as soon as possible on the first day of absence; preferably before 09:00. This can either be via a telephone call, sending us an email or reporting to the school office.

If your child had diarrhoea or vomiting, please leave 48 hours since the last episode before they return to school.

If your child is absent we will:
• Telephone you on the first day of absence if we have not heard from you;
• Record and monitor any absence.
• Invite you in to discuss the situation with us if the absence is below 90%.
• Refer the matter to the local authority if attendance consistently moves near to 85%.

Parents are expected to contact school at an early stage and to work with the staff in resolving any problems together. This is nearly always successful. If difficulties cannot be sorted out in this way, the school may refer the child to the local authority Legal Intervention Panel for Attendance. They will also try to resolve the situation by agreement but, if other ways of trying to improve the child’s attendance have failed and unauthorized absences persist, sanctions such as Penalty Notices or prosecutions in the Magistrates Court under section 444, Education Act 1996 can be used.
Full details of the options open to enforce attendance at school are available from the school or the local authority.

Telephone numbers:
There are times when we need to contact parents about lots of things, including absence, so we need to have your contact numbers at all times. So help us to help you and your child by making sure we always have an up to date number – if we don’t then something important may be missed.

Poor punctuality is not acceptable. If your child misses the start of the day they can miss important learning. Late arriving pupils also disrupt lessons, can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence. 

How we manage lateness:
Children are welcome into the classrooms for “Early Bird” from 8:40am at the junior site and 8:45am at infant site. The school day officially starts at 9am at the infant site and 8:55am at the junior site and children must be in school at that time.

Registers are marked by 9:10am at the infant site and 9:05am at the junior site. Your child will receive a late mark if they are not in by that time. At 9:15am the registers will be closed. In accordance with the Regulations, if your child arrives after that time they will receive a mark that shows them to be on site, but this will not count as a present mark and it will mean they have an unauthorised absence. This may mean that you could face the possibility of a Penalty Notice if the problem persists.

If your child has a persistent late record you will be asked to meet with us to resolve the problem but you can approach us at any time if you are having problems getting your child to school on time.

Leave of absence in Term Time:

We expect parents to help us by not taking children away in school time. 
There is no automatic entitlement in law to time off in school time to go on holiday. 

Amendments to school attendance regulations were updated and enforced from September 2013: The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations state that Headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. It is important to note that Headteachers can determine the length of the authorised absence, as well as whether absence is authorised at all. The fundamental principles for defining exceptional is rare, significant or unavoidable, which means the event could not reasonably be scheduled at another time. There are no rules on this as circumstances vary from school to school and family to family. There is, however, no legal entitlement for time off in school term time to go on holiday and in the majority of cases holiday will not be authorised. Parents/carers wishing to apply for leave of absence will need to fill in an application form in advance before making any travel arrangements.  
If term-time leave is taken without prior permissions from the school, the absence will be unauthorised and if the number of sessions hits the thresholds set down in Hampshire County Councils Code of conduct, all parents/carers will be issued with a fixed-penalty fine or other legal action in accordance with the code. 
Each school checks the attendance of siblings with our cluster schools and if one member of the family has attendance causing concern or is affected by one of the important date, leave of absence will not be authorised for any child. 

Full details of our policy and procedures can be downloaded on this page but it is important that you understand the circumstances when leave in term time will not be agreed by us:

• When a pupil is just starting the school at the beginning of the school year in September. This is very important as your child needs to settle into their new environment as quickly as possible, learning routines, establishing relationships and expectations and building friendships.

• Immediately before and during assessment periods such as SATS.

• When a pupil’s attendance record already includes any level of unauthorised absence.

• Where a pupil’s attendance rate is already below (90%) or will fall to or below that level as a result of taking leave of absence.

Any period of leave taken without the agreement of the school, or in excess of that agreed, will be classed as unauthorised and may attract sanctions such as a Penalty Notice.