Thank you to all the parents/carers who contact Knox before the school day to inform us if their youngster is going to be absent. Sometimes the lines are very busy and your patience is appreciated. We also appreciate the letters sent in with pupils when they return to school.
However, sometimes pupils’ absences remain ‘unexplained’. For pupils in S1-4 a member of the office staff will contact parents/guardians of a pupil whose absence remained ‘unexplained’ at 9.15 am. This phone around should be complete by 10.30 am each morning.
Following a telephone call, pupils are recorded as having a verbal explanation for absence, however a letter from their parent/carer is required before the reason for absence is confirmed. Where a pupil’s absence remains ‘unexplained’ or no letter is received, the absence may be recorded as truancy.
For pupils in receipt of an Educational Maintenance Allowance, absences can affect the payments they receive.
Please help us by:
- Continuing to contact the school before the school day if your son/daughter is going to be absent (the office is open from 8.00 am)
- Sending notes regarding appointments in to school at least one day before the appointment
- Sending notes when your child returns to school (including child's name, registration class, dates of absence and reason for absence)
Throughout the year a letter is sent to parents/guardians of pupils with an attendance record that falls below an acceptable level. A copy of their attendance record will be enclosed with this letter. This system is designed to provide an early warning, and a support to parents/guardians and pupils. Guidance staff are keen to become involved and help support pupils and their parents/guardians before poor attendance has a detrimental effect on their education.
Letters will also be sent regularly to parents/guardians where the pupil attendance record includes any ‘unexplained’ or ‘verbal explanation’ only absences.
Good school attendance means that a pupil does not miss important work and thus is more likely to achieve his/her full potential and ultimately gain better results at the end of his/her school career.
The legal requirements are as follows:
Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child attends school regularly. In cases of unsatisfactory attendance, the Headteacher will call on the Child & Family Support Worker (Attendance) to visit the home and discuss the problem with the parents. If such unsatisfactory attendance persists the Headteacher, following discussions with the Child & Family Support Worker (Attendance) and other agencies will decide whether the case should be referred to the Reporter.
If a pupil is absent, parents are asked to telephone the school to outline the reason for the absence as soon as possible and also to send a letter on the pupil’s return.
The then Scottish Executive issued guidelines in 2003 relating to school attendance and absence. The main change relates to family holidays during term time. The guidelines state that the majority of family holidays taken during term time should be categorised as unauthorised absence. However, it is acceptable under exceptional circumstances for schools to authorise a family holiday during term time.
A family holiday classified under the ‘authorised absence’ category should not include such reasons as:
- The availability of cheap holidays
- The availability of desired accommodation
- Poor weather experienced during school holidays
- Holidays which overlap the beginning or end of term
- Parental difficulty obtaining leave (with local judgement applied in cases where evidence is provided by the employer that it cannot accommodate leave during school holidays without serious consequences).
It is obviously very important that pupils are on time for school as lateness not only causes disruption to lessons but also does not set good work standards. If a pupil is unavoidably late for school parents are asked to send a note with the pupil or telephone to explain the reason. Pupils arriving in school after the 8.44 am bell will be recorded as late.
The parents/guardians of pupils whose lateness is causing concern will be contacted in order to pursue an early resolution to the problem.