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.
At the start of each school session, parents will be asked to provide contact details including at least one emergency contact number. 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. In the interests of child safety the police may 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 to school confirming the reason for absence. If a pupil’s absence is over a weekend, parents are asked to contact the school again on the Monday to give an update on the expected return date of the pupil.
Parents of pupils in the nursery should follow the same procedures for notifying absences.
Family Holidays During Term Time
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 wellbeing 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 reasons 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 consequences)
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.
Extended Leave with Parental Consent
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
Exceptional Domestic Circumstance
- 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.
The school works closely with the School attendance officer who investigates unexplained absence. The authority has the power to write to, interview or prosecute parents, or to refer pupils to the Reporter of the Children’s Hearing, if necessary.
The school will work to promote attendance. The Head Teacher will conduct monthly attendance checks and write to all parents of children whose attendance falls under 80%. If there is no improvement in attendance, the school will invite parents to a meeting to discuss their child’s attendance.
Children who achieve 100% attendance in a term and at the end of the academic year will receive a certificate of merit.
Attendance at nursery is recorded as the children arrive for each session and they are expected to attend regularly. It is the responsibility of parents to notify the school if a child will be absent from nursery by telephone.
If no contact is made, the school staff will follow procedures issued by NLC, to ensure the child is safe.
If a nursery place is not used regularly without good reason there is a possibility it could be given to another child on the waiting list.
For further information about North Lanarkshire’s Guidance on Pupil Attendance, please contact the Head Teacher.