ILLNESS AND CONTACTING THE ACADEMY

Students should attend the academy every day unless they are genuinely unwell and unable to come to school. Where possible, we would always encourage you to send your child to school, even if they are not feeling 100%. However, if this is not possible, please contact the absence line (01900 873926) or email absence@workingtonacademy.org before 8.00am on the first day of absence and every day of absence thereafter. Contact must be made on every day of absence.

ATTENDANCE OVERVIEW

Regular attendance is a crucial aspect of any child’s school career and at Workington Academy we are committed to maintaining high levels of attendance to ensure that students have the opportunity to achieve the very best outcomes.

After a difficult period involving two partial school closures during national lockdowns and self-isolation rules, regular attendance at school has never been more important.

We define regular attendance as attending school every day, arriving at school on time and attending every lesson. It is the parents’ legal responsibility to ensure their child attends school regularly.

Encouraging regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your child for success, both in school and in life. When you make school attendance a priority, you help your child get better grades, develop healthy life habits, avoid dangerous behaviour and have a better chance of achieving their full potential.

Students who attend school regularly also feel more connected to their community, develop important social skills and friendships, and are significantly more likely to leave school with good qualifications, setting them up for a strong future.

For these reasons, we actively encourage all students to aim for at least 97% attendance, as a minimum. We understand that on occasion illness cannot be helped, however, we want every student, and parent/carer, to work with us in helping to achieve this target.

If your child’s attendance does fall below the Government’s target of 95% within this next academic year, it’s likely we’ll include your child in an attendance monitoring and support group and/or initiate attendance action plans in order to support improvements in their attendance. Students with persistent absence, attendance below 93% and/or clear patterns of absence that do not improve through school support will be referred to the Local Authority Education Welfare Service for further intervention.

Every day and every lesson count. There is absolutely no substitute for high quality lessons taught by subject specialists. Here at Workington Academy, we have a well-planned and highly effective curriculum that ensures every lesson adds value and therefore missing just one lesson can have a detrimental impact on your child’s progress. Our thoroughly planned and sequenced curriculum is taught in all subjects throughout the school year and to the very end of every term. Every day of school missed, including the last day before a school holiday equates to 5 hours of valuable learning missed.

The chart below should go some way to explaining the importance of good attendance:

Keeping Track of Your Child’s Attendance Data – Academic Year 2022-23

You can view your child’s attendance data at any time on their Workington Academy Firefly Profile, which you can access via our website or the Parent Firefly App.

We will also communicate their attendance data to you regularly throughout the year.

In relation to our attendance thresholds, please see the table below:

TYPES OF ABSENCE AND ABSENCE PROCEDURE REMINDERS

Each absence is classed as authorised or unauthorised. Absences are coded as authorised where reasons are considered valid and unauthorised where no explanation or unacceptable reasons are given.

Examples of Unacceptable Reasons for Absence include;

  • Shopping visits
  • Care for Family Members
  • Visiting family or friends
  • Social visits e.g. to Theme Parks or Concerts
  • Parents work commitments / business trips
  • Holidays taken in term time (including long weekends)
  • Parental illness
  • Travelling to non-school related evening or weekend events
  • Non-health related, medical or dental appointments
  • Additional time taken for medical appointments that does not include the appointment time or travel time.
  • Absences where no specific reason is given.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Unauthorised absences will be referred to the Local Authority Education Welfare Service.

LATENESS

The academy day begins promptly at 8.40am, with Tutor time / morning assemblies. Students should be on site from 8.30am. Essential information, notices, topics and activities are covered both in morning Tutor time and assemblies and it is crucial that students do not miss and are not late for these sessions.

Where a genuine reason for lateness exists, this will be recorded as an authorised absence, but where explanations are inadequate – an absence (late) will be recorded and sanctions will be applied.

Please note that persistent lateness will also be referred to the Local Authority Education Welfare Service, in the same way as persistent absence is.

ILLNESS AND CONTACTING THE ACADEMY

Students should attend the academy every day unless they are genuinely unwell and unable to come to school. Where possible, we would always encourage you to send your child to school, even if they are not feeling 100%. However, if this is not possible, please contact the absence line or email absence@workingtonacademy.org before 8.00am on the first day of absence and every day of absence thereafter. Contact must be made on every day of absence. When contacting us about your child’s absence please give specific details as to why they are unable to attend school. Reasons such as ‘feeling unwell’ or ‘ill’ will not be accepted and recorded as unauthorised.

Please do not be offended if further contact is made with you to discuss your child’s absence and to support them in returning to school as soon as possible.

MEDICAL / DENTAL APPOINTMENTS

Non-emergency medical and dental appointments must be made outside of academy hours where possible. If this is not possible, a copy of the appointment date, time and location must be provided. Please note that absence will only be authorised for the appointment time and travel time. Pupils must be signed out at the main office by parents/carers.

EMERGENCY OCCASIONS

There are some occasions e.g. bereavements or family funerals etc where it may be inappropriate for children to attend school; we will be sympathetic to such needs.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Holidays

It is not our policy to authorise holidays in term time.

Leave of absence will only be approved in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of Mr Bedford, Head of School. Family holidays and visiting relatives are not considered to be exceptional circumstances and will not be authorised. For any leave of absence to be considered, applications to Mr Bedford must be made at least two weeks in advance, using the online or downloadable form found here and also available from our school office.

Where authorisation is not granted, subsequent term time holiday absence will be reported as a matter of course to the Local Authority Education Welfare Service.

All unauthorised absences, including holidays that have not been sanctioned by the Headteacher, are accumulated and parents who fail to ensure regular attendance of their children at school can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice. The amount is £60 if paid within 21 days and £120 if paid between 21 and 28 days. Failure to pay a Penalty Notice will result in prosecution except in limited circumstances.

Approved Public Performance

Where children are invited to perform in a licensed show or concert (e.g. orchestra, pantomime etc), we ask that you consult with staff about how much time away from school is required. Where possible, such requests will be granted, provided that sufficient evidence is provided and that the child’s education is unlikely to suffer. The academy will also be sympathetic towards leave to participate in a recognised county or national sporting event. Evidence must be provided for all absence requests and all are at the discretion of the Head of School, applications to whom must be made (where possible), at least two weeks in advance using the online form found on our website.

ATTENDANCE AND REWARDS

Students are rewarded regularly for 97% attendance and above achieved through each school term and throughout the whole of each academic year, through certificates, badges to wear on their blazers and privileges throughout the year.

Students with 100% attendance each week are also entered into a weekly prize draw, with vouchers and prizes awarded to winning students.

Attendance is also taken into account when considering student places for trips, rewards events and social events.

Attendance