Attendance & Punctuality

The Whitby High School places a great onus on attendance and punctuality. It has been proven through numerous studies that students who have good attendance achieve well and develop important social skills. Knowing where students are is also a very important part of safeguarding young people.It is expected that students will have at least 95% attendance.

If a child should feel unwell, parents/carers need to contact the school office by telephone, text or e-mail at their earliest opportunity. The school must be informed each day thereafter. On returning to school, the child should bring in a note to explain the absence. Please ensure the school is contacted about absences. Failure to do this will result in the absence being classified as ‘unauthorised’. Ten unauthorised absences can lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued.

Students are registered electronically and if a student is absent without explanation, automatic texts will be sent to parent /carers. To avoid any mistakes, good communication is vital.

The government classes any student with an attendance rate of less than 90% as ‘persistently absent’.

The school has a clear set of procedures to monitor attendance. Should a child’s attendance fall persistently below 95% a series of letters will be sent out and different procedures put into place.

Type Of LetterWhat Does It Mean
Stage 1There is a general concern about your child’s attendance and this letter is designed to alert you to this. Attendance will be monitored monthly.
Stage 2This means your child’s attendance is becoming a concern – it is persistently below 90% or shows no signs of improvement.

You are invited in to meet with the House Progress Manager (or Senior Staff in his/her absence) and a member of the School Attendance Team. Support is offered in this meeting.

However, attendance targets will be set and if there is no improvement, further action (for example issuing Fixed Penalty Notices) will be taken. A Fixed Penalty Notice may be issued if parents/carers fail to attend these meetings.

Further absences will not be authorised without medical evidence (this can include a prescription or medicinal packaging.
Stage 3It is clear that all of the strategies outlined above have failed to improve the attendance of your child and there is no ‘reasonable excuse’ for absences. At this stage, you will be notified in writing that the matter is being formally referred to the EWO and further proceedings will be instigated.

Please remember an attendance rate of 90% equates to one day of absence per fortnight. Even a rate of 95% equates to ten days every school year. This is considerable and in the world of work, employers would be concerned about such a figure.

We realise that some students do have genuine illnesses and medical conditions. The school will do whatever it can to support such students.

Again, good communication is the key.

Students are expected to be punctual to school. The school day begins at 8.30 and students are expected to be on the premises by 8.25. Students will be kept by their tutor at the end of the day if they are late. Persistent lateness will lead to further sanctions.

Remember, every minute counts. If a child is ten minutes late every day, this equates to nearly seven days of absence from lessons over a school year.

Leave Of Absence From School (Namely Holidays)

The school does not encourage any leave of absence to be taken during term time. We recognise that holidays can be much cheaper during term time and that work commitments can make taking holidays during school breaks difficult, but doing this can be disruptive both to children’s learning and the school.

The government has issued strict guidelines to schools regarding leave of absence for students. Under these guidelines, Headteachers are not able to grant leave of absence for students during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances and please be advised there are very few exceptions.

Should parents/carers wish to seek leave of absence for their child, the procedure is to write to the Headteacher to seek authorisation. Please include the reasons why leave of absence is being sought. Each case will be considered on its merits. The Headteacher will determine the number of school days a child can be away from school if the leave is granted.

Please note: There is a common misconception that Parents/Carers can remove their child from school for upto 10 days a year for the purpose of family holidays – this is not the case.

Should Parents/Carers take a holiday in term time without school consent, the absence will also be issued, along with Education Welfare Service involvement.

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