16th December 2015
Appeal for support: Attendance and Lateness
Pupil attendance at Oakhill School remains unsatisfactory due to high levels of unauthorised absence, mainly caused by families travelling during term time. We also have a few persistently absent pupils who continue to raise significant concerns both to the school and local authority agencies, such as Children and Young People’s Services.
It is our statutory obligation to ensure that all children attend school regularly and on time, so that every child has their educational entitlement and the best chance to achieve their potential. We have several strategies in place to encourage and support parents/carers in meeting their duty to bring their children to school, including;
- Positive Attendance Assemblies each week
- Certificates for Great and Outstanding attendance given at the end of each term and prizes.
- Meetings/phone calls to discuss reasons for absence and lateness
- Zero tolerance policy for extended trips outside school holidays
- Referring children with persistent absence and lateness to the Educational Welfare Officer and/or social services to support parents to manage children’s attendance better.
- Improvements in teaching and curriculum to make learning a more engaging and fun experience (including special events, dressing up days for charity, book week).
Despite these strategies having been in place for a considerable period of time, at our recent meeting with our School Improvement Consultant, serious concerns were raised about the proportion of families with poor attendance at Oakhill, which is considered to remain at the unsatisfactory level. This will limit our chances for Oakhill to still be recognised as an outstanding school. A significant proportion of children’s attendance is considerably below the government’s expectation of 95% plus. Likewise, 24% of children were late at least once last term.
Parents play a very important part in encouraging their children to attend school and instill good time keeping skills and self-management. For those whose children attend regularly and on time, we would like to thank you because you help us provide the best chance for your children’s learning and life chances. We need to emphasise to parents of children with under 95%, the urgency to improve their attendance to ensure they meet their full potential. Many children in this category are failing to reach National Expectations for reading, writing and Maths. This will make it very hard for them in the future.
Attendance must improve. The school now operates a zero tolerance policy to holiday requests and will actively following up cases where sickness has been misreported to allow families to travel. There are some 3000 children in Waltham Forest without a school place and it is unfair that children who do not attend school regularly should deny others their chance of success. We would like to continue working in partnership with you to make these changes.
Mrs Debbie Strowbridge
Chair of Governors