The school recognises the importance of punctuality and the impact of persistent lateness has on a pupil’s education. A pupil’s punctuality is a legal requirement and the parents/carers of a pupil who is persistently late after the register closes are guilty of an offence. The law treats persistent lateness in the same way as irregular attendance and parents can be prosecuted if excessive late arrival is unresolved.
Persistent lateness can be as damaging to a pupil’s school career as persistent absence. Pupils who arrive late disrupt not only their own education but that of others. Poor punctuality may be an indicator of more complex problems within the pupil’s home which the pupil may need help to deal with; chronic lateness may result in a pupil losing his/her attendance mark for the session and the absence will be noted as unauthorised. We know that for some pupils, arriving punctually may be beyond their control. Often lateness is a symptom of another issue such as a disorganised parent and the child is confused and often left to cope alone at a very young age or a parent where the management of firm boundaries is challenging.
At Millbrook we will create a careful balance between being too punitive and too accepting of a pupil’s lateness. Once the reasons for lateness have been established, the parents, pupil and school need to work in partnership to resolve the difficulties.
The school will work with the school community to develop incentive schemes to reward and encourage punctuality and will review their effectiveness regularly.
Where a situation at home makes it difficult for the pupil to arrive on time, consideration should be given to an appropriate referral to an outside agency or voluntary service. The school will consider an Early Help Assessment and provide early help and support to the family.
Where the pupil is late due to family circumstances, for example where a pupil is the main carer in the family, the school will use more supportive interventions.