All parents/guardians/carers have a duty and responsibility to inform the school when and why their child is absent. If your child is absent, please contact the school office as soon as possible (01890 818274) - or leave a message on the answer machine - explaining fully the reason why your child will not be in school. Phrases such as, "unwell", are unhelpful as the school records all reasons for absence in order to monitor any outbreaks of "notifiable diseases", such as scarlet fever, chickenpox, noro-virus etc..
The school cannot assume that absent pupils are at home under the safe care and supervision of a parent, guardian or carer. Where the school has not been informed of a pupil's absence, a "Groupcall" text message will be sent to the main parental contact number (usually a mobile telephone number) asking them to contact the school office to explain why their child is not in school. Parents/guardians/carers are asked to respond to these "Groupcall" requests promptly, as there may be a serious reason why a pupil has not reached school in time to be registered. IMPORTANT:Parents/guardians/carers should ensure that the school always has current and up to date contact details, including nominated emergency contacts. All pupil absences are recorded on the Council's administrative system and these are monitored regularly by the Headteacher. Any pupil whose attendance falls below 85% (as stated in the Council's "Attendance Recording" policy) will to be subject to increased monitoring of his/her absences and parents/guardians/carers will be asked to meet with the Headteacher to discuss the issue and to agree a plan for improving that pupil's attendance rate. The school will also initiate action for pupils whose absences follow a pattern which puts their attendance above 85% but below the typical level for that child and without good reason.
LATE ARRIVAL Pupils who arrive late to school will have this noted at registration and recorded on the Council's administration system. Consistent lateness will be monitored and reported to the pupil's parents/guardians/carers who will be asked to meet with the Headteacher to discuss the issue. The school and parents/guardians/carers will agree a plan for ensuring an improvement in that pupil's prompt arrival at school and this may involve support from the school's Home/School Link Worker.
AUTHORISED & UNAUTHORISED ABSENCES The criteria for 'authorised' and 'unauthorised' absences listed below can be found in the Council's "Attendance Recording" policy which is available to download from our "School & Council Policies" webpage.
"Absence may be authorised when the school are satisfied by a legitimate reason. This reason would usually be provided by the parent (via a note, email or phone call) or may be provided by a partner service provider (via a note, appointment card or phone call), such as a Social Worker. Examples of legitimate reasons to authorise absence include:
Meetings prior to, and in, court
Attendance at, or in connection with, a 'Children's Hearing' or 'Meeting Around the Child' (M.A.C.), or appointment with another Service Provider, e.g. Social Worker
Weddings or funerals of those close to the family
Participation in non-school debates, sports, musical or drama activities agreed by the school
Lack of transport, including due to bad weather
Gypsies and Travellers: children may travel as part of their tradition for family connections or work commitments. Their absence should be authorised at the school the child attends for most of the year. These children may however enrol temporarily in other schools as they travel.
Exceptional domestic circumstances, i.e. where it is, “important to the well-being and cohesion of the family following serious or terminal illness, bereavement or other traumatic events”
Only those family holidays agreed by the school to be taken in exceptional circumstances, i.e. where a parent’s employment is of the nature whereby school holiday-leave cannot be accommodated (e.g. emergency or armed services)
Period of exclusion
Schools must record absence as unauthorised in the following circumstances:
Family holidays where the school does not agree that there is a satisfactory reason for absence
Truancy with, or without, the knowledge of the parent
Longer-term exceptional domestic carer circumstance where support has been provided
During disputes such as the return of a pupil after exclusion
All other unexplained absence is recorded as unauthorised unless a satisfactory explanation is later provided
taken from Scottish Borders Council's "Attendance Recording, Management Guidance and Operational Procedures"
ENFORCED ABSENCE DUE TO ILLNESS Most pupils are absent for a short period and a their return to school is the decision of the parent(s). However, there are instances where pupils must stay off school for a pre-determined period because of the nature of the condition or illness. In most cases, this is usually an instance of vomitting and/or diarrhoea and which brings with it a 48 hour exclusion period from school, i.e. 48 hours from the last episode of the illness, not from the onset. The exclusion period from school of 48 hours is set out in the "Communicable Disease & Infection Control" advice from NHS Borders & Scottish Borders Council, and parents are respectfully asked to abide by that guidance or any request from the school to keep their child(ren) off for the full exclusion period.
ABSENCE DUE TO PROLONGED ILL-HEALTH Longer periods of pupil absence due to a condition or illness should be communicated to school after parental consultation with the child(ren)'s G.P.. ‘Prolonged’ ill-health is usually taken to mean 15 continuous school days, or 20 days of intermittent absence for verified ill-health reasons. If a pupil is unable to attend school due to prolonged ill-health, the school will discuss the child’s situation with their appointed Senior Education Officer and the ICS Locality Education Team Leader to determine if and how arrangements will be made for education. If alternative arrangements for education are provided then this will
be counted as an attendance against the pupil’s attendance record. _