College Attendance – A vital message for parents and carers

Dear Parent/Guardian,

This is a message about school attendance.

Newman RC College wants to work with Parents and Guardians to encourage children back into school following several very difficult months. We would like to thank parents for the work you have done in ensuring your children have received education during this period.

In March, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was increasing, the government made it clear that no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school. Schools were then closed to all but a specific group of pupils; those of key workers and vulnerable children.

Now the circumstances have changed, it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise, as far as possible, the longer-term impact of the pandemic on their education, well being and wider development. We know that children have missed being with their friends and the wider social aspects of school.

Missing out on more time in the classroom risks your child falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance is therefore compulsory again from the beginning of the autumn term.

This means from September 2020, the usual rules on school attendance apply, including:

  • Parents’ duty to send their child to school regularly where they are of compulsory school age;
  • Schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
  • The availability of local authorities to use legal sanctions, including penalty notices and prosecution in court.
  • Absence from school will only be authorised if it complies with government guidelines on COVID-19.

If you are worried about your child attending school, the first port of call is to discuss your concerns with a member of the attendance team or your child’s Year Leader/Pastoral Coordinator directly.

In addition, this is not the time to take your child out of school for a family holiday or other term time leave. It is unlikely that any leave will be authorised by the Head Teacher after so much enforced absence from school. Parents who do take their children out of school for a family holiday will be subject to the usual sanctions that this incurs. The more your child is in school, the more they will catch up.

Family emergencies need careful consideration. It is not always appropriate or in the best interests of the child to miss school for emergencies which are being dealt with by adult family members.

No school or local authority wants to take legal action, and every attempt to resolve parents’ concerns and improve a child’s attendance will be made before any formal action is considered.

After so much disruption to childrens’ education over recent months, the most important thing is that school and parents work together to get children back into school. Newman College is ready to listen so please contact us if you have any worries and we will try to help you.

We wish you and your child all the best for the coming academic year.

Kind regards

Mr. A. Russell

Assistant Head Teacher-Attendance