Our school attendance target is 97%. Attendance at this level gives children the best chance to succeed both academically and socially.
At Drighlington Primary School we know that school attendance is one of the most important factors in raising standards and accelerating progress. Primary School education lays the foundation for all future learning- both academic and in attitudes towards school and learning. If you want your child to do well at their GCSEs and get a good job in the future- it starts here! When children do not attend or are late, they:
- struggle to keep up with school work;
- miss out on the social side of school life – especially at primary school. Poor attendance can affect children’s ability to make and keep friendships, a vital part of growing up.
The following chart shows how, over time, those few days off can have a big impact:
If in a 1 year period your child’s attendance was :
This would mean they had missed:
If this pattern was repeated for 5 years (e.g. Y1-6)
This would mean they had missed:
98% attendance =
95% attendance =
90% attendance =
80% attendance =
4 days of school
10 days of school
4 weeks off school
more than a half term
85-90% absence =
80% absence =
half a year off school
38 weeks off school - this is a whole school year!
How to achieve good attendance.
Of the 365 days in each year 190 are school days (52%) which leaves 175 (42%) non-school days to spend with family, have visits, take holidays and attend appointments. Children will often say that they feel unwell on a morning, but once they are in school with their friends, concentrating on their learning, they usually forget all about it; for those who don’t and continue to feel unwell we will always phone parents/carers.
How do we keep you informed about attendance?
You are informed about your child’s current level of attendance at every Parent Consultation Evening and it is referenced in your child’s end of year report.
Every half term parents receive a letter which outlines the attendance level and what this may mean. If your child has a level of attendance which is causing a concern and is not improving, you will receive a phonecall or be asked to come for a meeting so that we can work together to improve your child’s attendance.
Children understanding the importance of good attendance.
Ultimately, it is the children who suffer if their attendance is not good, so as well as working with families to improve attendance we also help children to take responsibility for their attendance. As part of our assertive mentoring work, teachers talk to children about their attendance and punctuality and discuss the impact that this is having on their work. Teachers and pupils may come up with ideas to help improve attendance that will be shared with parents, discuss issues that having a negative effect on attendance and celebrate when there is an improvement or where attendance is of a good level.
Each classroom has an attendance display and there is a prominent attendance display in the hall. These displays are changed weekly, which ensures that attendance always has a high priority and that there is always an opportunity to talk about and celebrate attendance.
How do we Celebrate Attendance?
Children receive ‘97% or more’ attendance certificates at the end of each term for achieving our school attendance target. At the end of each term children who have achieved 100% for the term will receive a certificate as well as those achieving 97% or more.
At the end of the year, children who achieve 100% attendance get a special reward in assembly. As implied in the name, children have to have attended every single day of the school year- no exceptions.
Children who have made a significant improvement in their attendance may earn a separate award such as a postcard home, certificate or something bigger such as winning a ‘dress-down day’ for their class.
Ultimately, the best reward for good attendance is getting a good education and building solid relationships with friends.
Whole Class Rewards:
In order to achieve our whole school target of 97%, we have to work together- every child attending every day, so we also have whole class rewards for attendance. Every week in our family Superhero Assembly, Mrs Jackson reads out the attendance scores and the class with the highest attendance gets the attendance trophy to keep in their class for that week. Also, every class who achieves our whole school target of 97% gets to play ‘Drigopoly’- a giant Drighlington-themed monopoly board where the chance cards mean prizes for the whole class. ‘Drigopoly’ is very popular with the children, especially as they help devise the prizes themselves.
What happens when attendance does not improve?
All members of staff work together with families at all stages, and our aim is always to reduce absence so that children have the best chances to succeed. Sometimes our informal work does not help to improve attendance, when this is the case we will seek support from the local Morley Cluster or Leeds Attendance Service.
Once attendance falls below 90%, school will not authorise absence unless a medical appointment has been made and school are given proof e.g. appointment card or text message of appointment - this is in accordance with the advice given by the LCC Attendance Service.
The Attendance service meet with staff from school every half term to review the attendance of pupils and may make house calls or phonecalls to parents of children who are not improving their attendance. Our aim is always to work with families to improve attendance, but unfortunately when this does not happen, parents may be prosecuted and issued with a fine.
Who can help if I am struggling to improve my child's attendance?
The class teacher should always be your first contact when concerned about anything relating to school. If more specialised support is needed, we have a Learning Mentor (Mrs Seabourne), a SENDco (Mrs Farrington) and a Persistent Absence Liason Manager (PALM- Mrs Runton) all of whom will work with you. Our Deputy Headteacher (Mrs Abidi), oversees attendance.
Attendance staff may recommend school based support such as a mentor, sessions with the learning mentor , working with the PALM worker or support from outside school such as a family support worker from the cluster or an EHP. All of these strategies are designed to help and are not something to worry about or avoid - we will only making lasting improvements if we work together as a team.
Follow this advice from the Leeds Attendance Team:
Understand Leeds stance on attendance:
We are always open to new ideas and would love to hear if you have any ideas about how to further improve attendance at school and achieve our target of 97%.