Types of Absences
Only the School can authorise an absence. Parents and the LA do not have the power to authorise absences. The Headteacher has ultimate responsibility for the registers.
The key points schools should consider when deciding to authorise absence are:
- it is a legal requirement that registered pupils of compulsory school age attend regularly and punctually,
- a satisfactory explanation for every absence is required; if one is not forthcoming the absence should be treated as unauthorised,
- schools are not obliged to accept a parental explanation for pupil absence where there is doubt as to the validity of that explanation,
- parents should be aware that only the Headteacher has the discretion to agree to any leave of absence during term time where there are exceptional circumstances. Each application for leave of absence should be considered in view of the specific circumstances of the family. (N.B Applications for leave of absence during term time are discussed fully in Section 7.0),
- schools should always expect regular and punctual attendance, even when the school is aware of family difficulties,
- minding the house, looking after siblings, shopping or going on a trip will not normally be acceptable reasons for absence,
- where absence is authorised, schools will remain vigilant to emerging patterns of non-attendance,
- lateness should be actively discouraged, and persistent lateness treated in the same way as irregular attendance,
- schools should develop a close working relationship with the Attendance Support Team (AST) in order to promote regular school attendance and ensure access to all legal interventions where necessary.