It is the responsibility of parents of a child of school age to make sure that their child is educated. Most do this by sending their child to school regularly. Attendance is recorded twice a day, morning and afternoon.
Absence from school is recorded as authorised, that is approved by the education authority, or as unauthorised, that is unexplained by the parent (truancy).
If a child is absent from school, parents are required to phone the school office by 9.15am on the first day. If no telephone call or email is received, parents will automatically receive a text message asking them to phone the school immediately.
If an absence is planned, please inform the head teacher in writing. If a child requires to depart early for any reason the school office must be notified in advance. No child will be permitted to leave early unless collected by an authorised adult. If at the end of the school day, for any reason, a child is not collected at his/her usual meeting place he/she must return to the building and report to the office immediately. Please ensure that your child understands this arrangement.
Please make every effort to avoid family holidays during term time as this disrupts the child’s education and reduces learning time. The head teacher can approve absence from school for a family holiday in certain extreme situations, for example, in traumatic domestic circumstances where the holiday would improve the cohesion and wellbeing of the family. Please discuss your plans with the head teacher before the holiday. If the head teacher does not give permission before the holiday, it will be recorded as unauthorised absence. The head teacher may also exercise discretion when a parent can prove that work commitments make a family holiday impossible during school holiday times. Normally, your employer will need to provide evidence of your work commitments. Absence approved by the head teacher on this basis is regarded as authorised absence.
Parents from minority ethnic religious communities may request that their children be permitted to be absent from school to celebrate recognised religious events. Absence approved by the head teacher on this basis is regarded as authorised absence. Extended leave can also be granted on request for families returning to their country of origin for cultural or care reasons.
A supportive approach is taken to unexplained absence. However the education authority has legal powers to write to, interview or prosecute parents, or refer pupils to the Reporter to the Children’s Panel, if necessary.