Section 30 of the 1980 Education Act places a duty on every parent of a child of “school age” to ensure that their child attends school regularly. Attendance must be recorded twice a day, morning and afternoon.
Regulation 7 of The Education (School and Placing Information) (Scotland) Amendment, Etc. Regulations 1993 requires each child’s absence from the school to be recorded in the school register as authorised or unauthorised. As defined by the Scottish Government.
At the start of each school session, parents will be asked to provide contact details including at least one emergency contact number, including where possible, a number that will accept a text message. Parents are required to inform the school if these contact details change during the course of the year.
Parents and carers are asked to inform the school if a pupil is unable to attend from the start of the school day on the first day of absence. Failure to do so will result in school staff accessing ALL contact numbers provided for the child and may result in the school sending a text message. In terms of child safety, police will be contacted if all attempts to locate the child have been exhausted.
Parents are asked to inform the school by letter or telephone if their child is likely to be absent for some time and to give the child a note on his or her return confirming the reason for absence.
The Head Teacher makes regular checks on attendance and where absence is high, a letter will be sent to parents asking them to contact the school with an explanation. This is because the school attendance officer can investigate unexplained absences and the authority has the power to write to, interview or prosecute parents, or to refer to the Reporter of the Children’s Hearings if necessary.
Regulation 7 of The Education (School and Placing Information) (Scotland) Amendment, Etc. Regulations 1993 requires each child’s absence from school to be recorded in the school register as authorised or unauthorised as defined by the Scottish Government.
If a child has a dental, medical or optician’s appointment they should bring the card to school before the planned absence if possible. On their return to school after the appointment they will be given the attendance for that particular part of the day. In such a situation children must be collected by the parent before being allowed to leave the school.
Every effort should be made to avoid family holidays during term time as this both disrupts the child’s education and reduces learning time. Parents/carers should inform the school by letter of the dates before going on holiday.
Absences will be classified as authorised only in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances may include: a family holiday judged to be important to the well-being and cohesion of the family, following serious or terminal illness, bereavement or other traumatic events.
A family holiday classified under the “authorised absence” category will not include such reason as:
- The availability of cheap holidays.
- The availability of desired accommodation.
- Poor weather experience during school holidays.
- Holidays, which overlap the beginning or end of term.
- Parental difficulty obtaining leave (except in cases where evidence is provided by the employer that it cannot accommodate leave during school holidays without serious consequence).
Family holidays with the above similar characteristics will be classified as unauthorised absence. Where the head teacher’s prior agreement has not been sought the absence will automatically be classed as unauthorised.
Where most family holidays will be recorded as unauthorised absence (see above) extended leave with parental consent will not be considered the same as a family holiday. Leave in such circumstances will be authorised under circumstances such as:
- Extended overseas educational trips not organised by the school.
- Short-term parental placement abroad.
- Family returning to its country of origin (to care for a relative, or for cultural reasons).
- Leave in relation to the children of travelling families.
Parents may request permission for such leave in writing and the school may authorise such requests under the following circumstances:
- the period immediately after an accident or illness
- a period of serious or critical illness of a close relative
- a domestic crisis, which causes serious disruption to the family home, causing temporary relocation.