Attendance
Student Attendance at The Hastings Academy

The Hastings Academy is committed to work with its parents/carers, students and community to ensure every student has access to education:

  1. Promote and maintain good attendance and punctuality
  2. Reduce absence, including where evident, persistent absence
  3. Act early to address patterns of absence and poor punctuality
School Attendance

Central to raising standards in education and ensuring all students can fulfil their potential is a commitment to attendance. Regular and punctual attendance is of paramount importance in ensuring all children have full access to the curriculum. Missing out on lessons or arriving late leaves students vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less well than their peers.

Every student should be at the academy, on time, every day the academy is open, unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. Permitting absence from school without a good reason is an offence by the parent/carer.

Authorised and unauthorised absences

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from the academy for a reason classified by the academy, not by the parents/carers, such as a genuine illness or other unavoidable cause. The academy must be made aware of this before 9.10am on the first day of the absence, by calling the absence line (01424 711950 Select: Option 2). All absences must be advised or followed by written confirmation (appointment card, prescription, GP letter, hospital letter). This supports the academy in its monitoring of your child's attendance. Absences without due cause/formal confirmation may be considered as unauthorised.

Unauthorised absences are those which the academy does not consider reasonable and for which no 'leave' has been given. This includes;

  • •  Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • •  Truancy before or during the school day
  • •  Absences which have never been properly explained
  • •  Students who arrive at the academy too late to get a mark (After close of register which is: 9.10am)
  • •  Parents/carers taking children out of the academy for term time holidays (see Appendix 1 Withdrawal from learning application during term time form)
Supporting good attendance

Children are sometimes reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best managed between the academy (your child's Head of School, Student Support Manager), the parents/carers and child. If your child is reluctant to attend, it is never better to cover up their absence or to give into pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and may make things worse.

Penalty notices

The Hastings Academy has legal powers to use penalty notices to address poor attendance and punctuality. The academy may request that a penalty notice is issued where parents/carers appear unwilling to take responsibility for their child's attendance. Below are three circumstances in which penalty notices may be issued:

  • •  Planned, but unauthorised absence, such as holidays during term time
  • •  Persistent unauthorised lateness
  • •  Persistent absence
Planned but unauthorised absence
  1. A parent/carer wishing to request a leave of absence during term-time should submit a request to the academy (see Appendix 1 Withdrawal from learning application during term time form).
  2. The Principal will make the decision as to whether or not the circumstances justify authorisation, following the guidance of the Department for Education which states this can be given in exceptional circumstances only (see Appendix 2 Examples of requests for leave of absence during term time, which are not likely to be approved).
  3. The Principal's decision is final, will be recorded and the parent/carer is promptly advised.
  4. If the absence is unauthorised and subsequently taken, ESBAS (East Sussex Behaviour and Attendance Service) may issue a penalty notice.
Persistent unauthorised lateness
  1. The morning registration closes at 9.10am when the students end their morning tutor session.
  2. If unauthorised lateness becomes a cause for concern then a 'late warning letter' will be sent to parents/carers
  3. Punctuality will monitored weekly over a period of 10 weeks
Persistent absence
  1. When absence becomes a cause for concern, a 'warning letter' will be sent to parents/carers
  2. Absence will be monitored weekly over a period of 10 weeks

If 10 sessions (5 days) of unauthorised lateness or persistent absence are accrued during the 10 week academic period following the 'warning letter', ESBAS may issue a penalty notice and/or begin case work with the family in support of improved attendance.

Rewards

The Academy has a rewards system in place for good attendance. At the end of each term, students who have achieved 100% attendance will receive a certificate and letter home, praising this achievement. In addition, throughout the year further awards are presented for excellent attendance to tutor groups and the school in which the student belongs.

Key Staff

The staff responsible for attendance matters and to whom you should refer concerns initially, are:

Ms Sharon Knowles – Attendance Manager s.knowles@hasla.org.uk ext. 1082
Mrs Sue Scowen – Student Support Manager – East Hill s.scowen@hasla.org.uk ext. 1237
Mrs Karen Muggridge – Student Support Manager – West Hill k.muggridge@hasla.org.uk ext. 1085
Miss Jessica Beerling – Student Support Manager – Silverhill j.beerling@hasla.org.uk ext. 1328
Mrs Beverley Jones – Student Support Manager – Firehills b.jones@hasla.org.uk ext. 1341
Summary

The Hastings Academy has a legal duty to publish its absence figures to parents/carers and to promote attendance. Equally, parents/carers have a duty to ensure their children attend, punctually, every day the academy is open to students. The academy staff are committed to working with its parents/carers to ensure as high a level of attendance as possible.