Illness and Appointments
If your child is going to be absent, before 8:45 a.m. please email [email protected] or phone in on 01225 792700. You can also use the Edulink app to report absence. If your child has sickness or diarrhoea, the 48 Hours Rule applies. Please ensure that you seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your child's health.
Melksham Oak Community School has outlined its expectations in regards to attendance as listed below:
- Students should be in school every day and arrive on time.
- Please ensure that you communicate reasons for absence to school by 8:45 a.m. on the morning of each day of absence.
- School attendance that drops below 95% is considered a cause for concern (95% equates to 10 missed days across a whole school year). Attendance below that level for this academic year will trigger a new process by which you will receive notification of your child’s attendance. If this does not improve there is a graduated response which could result in legal action.
- To help, please try to make medical appointments (where possible) outside of the school day, take holidays out of school term time, and communicate any reasons for absence clearly with school staff.
Excellent attendance at school is important to allow a child to fulfil their potential.
Absence From School During Term Time
Legal Background and DfE Guidelines
While schools are required to consider parental requests for absence from school in term time, it still remains the legal duty of parents to ensure the regular attendance of a child of compulsory school age. Failure to do so could result in the local authority issuing a penalty notice or prosecuting the parents in the magistrates court.
DfE guidelines clearly state that absence from school can be taken in exceptional circumstances, and this means that the parent must make a strong case for taking a child out of school in an academic year. Exceptional circumstances must be explained fully to the school who will then consider the request. Any medical appointments/procedures during school time are always authorised but the school does require evidence, such as appointment cards or letters.
Parents should not expect that schools would automatically agree to an absence from school during term time. All requests are at the discretion of the principal and can only be authorised by the principal or the member of staff with designated authority in the absence of the principal.
Appointments and Holidays
Doctors, Dental, and Hospital Appointments
Please try to book any appointments outside school hours. It is really important that interruptions to your child’s learning are kept to a minimum. We understand that there are occasions when appointment times are out of your control.
If you are going on holiday or have another reason for absence, you need to complete an Absence Request Form, available from reception. Please be aware that you may be issued with a penalty notice of £60 per child, per parent.
Request for Absence - Key Points for Parents
- Request for absence during term time will not be authorised.
- Any requests for the purpose of visiting family, attending family occasions, or celebrations will not be authorised.
- Parents are at risk of receiving a penalty notice for unauthorised absence. This is a fine of £60 per parent, per child, if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid within 28 days.
- If a pupil's attendance is below 95% and the request for absence is more than 5 days, parents may be prosecuted.
- If prosecuted and found guilty, the parent faces a punishment of a fine of up to £2,500 and/or 3 months' imprisonment.
- Request for absence of 10 days or more may result in pupils being removed from the school register.
- If a pupil is removed from the school register: A - the pupil cannot return to school. B - parents will need to register their child with the local authority to apply for a new school place.
Actions we will take to improve attendance for individual students:
- Truancy call (a text message home) is sent every morning for students unexpectedly absent.
- Missing any school at all results in a conversation between the child and their form tutor within a week after the child has returned from absence.
- Early phone calls home are made by our Attendance Officer when attendance starts to drop.
- Attendance letters are sent for students below key thresholds - starting at 95%.
- Home visits may take place if we cannot get in touch.
- School Attendance (SAM) Meetings may be arranged if attendance does not improve.
- Referrals to the Educational Welfare Officer with the possibility of court action if attendance does not improve.
- Prosecutions for holidays during term time
- All students missing from school after 10 days of unauthorised absence (no contact with home) are reported to the Local Authority as missing in Education.
- Personalised support is sometimes put in place to meet individual student needs (e.g. following a significant period of absence or to support a student with a poor attendance record).