School attendance policy
Developing, reviewing and implementing a school attendance policy is key to improving attendance. Here you can find out what your school attendance policy can cover.
Developing a school attendance policy
The attendance policy may form part of the whole-school behaviour and attendance policy or be a stand-alone policy. Ideally it will:
- be a working document
- provide clear advice and procedures on all aspects of managing attendance
- reinforce the values, vision and expectations of the school for the achievement of all of its learners
- involve all stakeholders in its development.
The policy can cover the elements described here.
Improvements in school attendance are most likely to be sustained when you have:
- a robust attendance policy with a code of practice that details the aims, expectations and responsibilities of the school, parents/carers and students
- versions of the policy that can be easily understood by learners and parents/carers, with key messages in different languages if appropriate
- a school attendance leader who is a member of the senior leadership team
- a clear understanding of the absence and attendance codes and regulations for learner registration, and a system to make sure there is consistent and robust application.
A school can bring about sustained improvements in attendance by:
- conveying clear messages
- highlighting the place of attendance within the school’s positive ethos
- highlighting the links with teaching and learning and the curriculum
- outlining the roles and responsibilities of all members of the school community in promoting good attendance and punctuality
- describing the policy and practice for recording attendance and absence, including first-day calling
- explaining the types of absence (overall, authorised, unauthorised and persistent) and the methods the school will use to tackle different reasons for absence
- clarifying and reinforcing the expectations for school staff, learners and parents/carers
- explaining the school’s escalation of interventions in the event of absence
- outlining the school’s policy on term-time holidays and punctuality.
Schools can use a range of proactive interventions that are age-appropriate and tailored to suit the profile of the school. These can include:
- rewards and incentives
- systems and structures to make sure learners stay on site all day
- flexible curriculum opportunities
- individual learner support, for example transition and mid-year transfer.
Working with partners
Schools benefit from linking their attendance policies and procedures with their wider support networks and partnerships. School practice can align with the policies of the local authority in respect of the:
- code of practice for penalty notices
- parenting strategy
- attendance strategy.
Implementing and reviewing policies
It is good practice to review all policies. This evaluation can be done on an annual basis. Evaluate the implementation of your policy against learner outcomes on a regular basis. This can then support the school's own self-evaluation and performance management processes.