At The Whitehaven Academy we have high expectations of school attendance.  Within school, students are learning important social skills as well as ensuring they are able to progress as much as possible in the academic aspect of their education.

At The Whitehaven Academy we strive for all students to achieve 96% attendance throughout the academic year. We understand that on occasion illness cannot be helped, however, we want every student, and parent/carer, to work with us in helping to achieve this target.

Every term we reward excellent attendance as well students who have managed to improve their attendance from one term to the next. Where attendance drops below 95% the Learning Provision Team will work closely with families in a supportive way, through communication, meetings and attendance action plans, to ensure that attendance is improved and that any barriers to coming into school are removed.




The School Day and Punctuality

Students are expected to be in their form rooms at 8.45am. It is important that students arrive to school prior to this time so that they are calm and prepared for the day ahead, ready to learn. Students who are persistently late will receive after-school detentions.


Absence Procedure

If your child is unable to attend school it is essential that you message or call the school to report the absence. This should include the day of and reason for the absence. Safeguarding our students is of paramount importance, and as such, if a reason for absence is not provided the Academy will follow clear procedures to ascertain the whereabouts of the child. Initially, we will send a text message after the closing of registers. If no response is received, a second message will be sent late morning. If we still do not receive a response then we will contact you via phone, and then conduct home visits. If we still receive no contact then we have a duty to notify the police who will conduct a welfare check. In cases where students are absent and their attendance is below 90% we may still conduct home visits on the first day of absence, even if a reason is provided. Any child absent for 5 days (even if a reason for absence is provided) will also receive a home visit.


Persistent Absence:

The Government describe persistent absence as under 90%. It is essential that all parties (students, parents/carers, and school staff) work closely to raise the attendance of any child which drops below 90%. The Whitehaven Academy will do this through arranging supportive meetings, conducting regular home visits and through regular contact with parents. Where no improvement is made an Attendance Action Plan will be implemented. This is designed to be a supportive process which address barriers to school attendance, however should the plan fail then there is a risk of the case being referred to the local authority for prosecution. If parents/carers are invited to attend an Attendance Action Plan meeting, it is essential that the meeting is attended.

Medical Appointments:

To ensure students’ attendance meets our expectations all medical appointments should be made, where possible, outside of school hours. In situations where this is not possible, we expect students to attend school before and after the appointment, ensuring that they only miss a small amount of lesson time. For example, if a student has a dentist appoint at 10.30am, we would expect the student to arrive at school for 8.45am, be collected before their appointment, and then to return in time for late morning/afternoon lessons. If medical appointments are arranged during AM or PM registration, these will only be authorised if we are provided with evidence of an appointment.

Holidays during term-time:

The law does not grant parents an automatic right to take their child out of school during term time. The Department for Education allows a Head Teacher the discretion to consider authorising a leave of absence in term time only in “exceptional circumstances”.

You may consider that a holiday will be educational but your child will still miss out on the teaching that their peers will receive whilst your child is away.  Children returning from a leave of absence during term time are also unprepared for the lessons which build on the teaching they have missed. Teachers then have to give more time to help individual children catch up on missed work.  This poses a potential risk of the under achievement for your child and other students in the class.  This is something we all have a responsibility to avoid.

Parents/Carers need to request a leave of absence by completing the form on page 2 of the letter within the link below. If the holiday is not considered to be an exceptional circumstance, and you nevertheless take your child out of school for the leave of absence this will be recorded as unauthorised leave.

All unauthorised absences, including holidays that have not been sanctioned by the headteacher, are accumulated and parents/carers who fail to ensure regular attendance of their children at school can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. The amount is £60 (per parent/carer per child) if paid within 21 days and £120 (per parent per child) if paid between 21 and 28 days. Failure to pay a Penalty Notice will result in prosecution, except in limited circumstances. All leave of absence requests must be completed on the attached form, letters will not be accepted.  This should be returned to the school at least 7 days before the start of the holiday. All requests must be made prior to the leave being taken.  Leave cannot be authorised retrospectively.

In considering the decision whether to authorise, the following will be taken into account:-

·         Reasons given for the holiday;

·         Any holiday leave taken in previous academic years (authorised or unauthorised)

·         Your child’s previous attendance record; this includes attendance in the current academic year, which should be over 95% ,              as well as attendance in previous academic years.

·         Whether your child will miss any tests/examinations (or important preparation for their tests)

·         Whether your child is making good progress.