At Teddington School, we believe that students are only able to achieve their potential if they attend school punctually and avoid missing lessons. We therefore expect students to achieve 100% attendance and punctuality. Individual student records prove that this is achievable.
What constitutes good attendance?
Attendance percentages are not like examination results: an attendance percentage needs to be in the high nineties before it can be considered good. We grade attendance as follows:
Teddington School sets an attendance target of 95% for all students and we consider attendance between 95% and 100% as regular school attendance.
- 100% = excellent attendance
- 98% = very good attendance
- 95% = good attendance.
Each year, a number of students across all year groups achieve 100% attendance, showing that this is an achievable target.
Attendance figures below 90% are of real concern. Any absences for students with an attendance percentage of under 90% will not be authorised unless we receive medical evidence.
Consider the following examples:
- 90% is the equivalent to missing one day per fortnight which equates to missing half a year of education during the course of Years 7-11
- 80% is the equivalent to missing one day per week which equates to missing one full year during the course of Years 7-11.
Good attendance contributes to:
- Personal and social development
- Continuity of learning - making retention and progress easier
- Success in tests and examinations
- Fulfilment of coursework requirements
- Good references for further education or employment
- A reputation for reliability.
What does the school do to encourage good attendance?
- Inter tutor group competitions and rewards
- Individual rewards for students with good and excellent attendance records
- School, year group and tutor group targets are set for attendance (and individual targets where necessary)
- Regular attendance information sent to families to assist them in monitoring their child’s attendance
- Regular promotion of good attendance in assemblies, the student bulletin, school newsletter and at parents’/carers’ evenings
- Detailed analysis of attendance figures and trends for individuals, year groups, sub groups and the whole school
- Regular reports to our Trustees
- Computerised registration system which allows every lesson to be monitored
- SIMS parent app for families to track their child’s attendance throughout the school day
- Automatic contact with families when students are absent or late
- Dedicated School Attendance Officer
- Support for students and parents/carers where attendance difficulties are emerging.
Automated contact system
To support families in helping their child achieve ‘excellent’ attendance, the school has a telephone system which automatically contacts families when their child is absent from school unexpectedly or late on arrival. This ensures families know when their child has not arrived at school and allows families to record a reason for the absence or lateness.
Families make a vital contribution to their child’s attendance by:
- Supporting their child to achieve 100% attendance
- Monitoring their child’s attendance by checking the SIMS parent app weekly
- Avoiding dental/medical appointments during school time
- Ensuring their child arrives at school punctually at 08:30 to be in form by 08:40
- Encouraging their child to catch up on work missed through absence
- Informing the school in the morning if their child will be absent
- Taking holidays during school holidays and NOT in term time.
The school has a responsibility to:
- Record daily, students’ attendance and punctuality
- Provide attendance and punctuality percentages
- Monitor all attendance and punctuality
- Share concerns with regard to attendance and punctuality with families and the school’s EWO
- Decide whether to authorise student absence from school (see below)
- Set attendance targets.
Only the school can authorise absence. Government guidelines are specific and allow the school to authorise the following:
- Student absence through “leave” given by the school (this commonly includes medical appointments, interviews and other similar special circumstances)
- Student illness
- Religious observance where applicable.
Examples of absence which have not been authorised in the past include:
- Shopping trips
- “Looking after” brother/sister, cat/dog
- Elderly relative etc.
- Arrival after the close of the register (9.15am) with no valid reason for the late arrival.
- Day trips
- Holidays taken during term time.
Attendance - Frequently asked questions
What should I do if my child is starting to present difficulties?
These difficulties can show themselves in a number of different ways e.g. a reluctance to go to school, feigning illness, failure to attend school even though the child is sent, missing lessons whilst in school. If a problem seems to be emerging parents/carers should:
- Talk to the child to try to ascertain if there are any problems or worries at school, on the journey to or from school or at home
- Contact your child’s Form Tutor and Head of Year as soon as possible
- Seek advice from the School’s Educational Welfare Officer from the local authority (Mrs C Small is in school every Wednesday).
Why doesn’t Teddington School authorise holidays?
We are very aware of the essential role good attendance plays in achieving good academic progress and good social skills. Teddington School therefore took the decision, along with Government policy and guidelines, that we could not authorise holidays in term time as doing so would be in direct contradiction to what we know is best for our students.
What should I do if my child is reluctant to attend school?
There may be many reasons why a child is reluctant to attend school. Issues can be related to school or not related to school in any way. Please contact the Year Team as soon as possible if your child is reluctant to attend school. They will suggest a meeting with you and your son/daughter to discuss strategies which can be put into place to support their attendance at school.
If my child refuses to attend school, can I be held responsible?
Yes. As the child’s parent, you are expected to ensure that they receive an education. If your child does not attend school you could face court action resulting in a possible fine and or even imprisonment. Please contact the Year Team if you are concerned about your child’s attendance.
What do I do if my child is ill?
Telephone the school office on each morning of your child’s illness before 09:00. If your child experiences a prolonged absence of more than five days, a letter from your Doctor or Hospital will be required by the school.
Do I need to send in a letter about my child’s absence?
If you have rung or otherwise contacted the school, then we would not require a note as well.
What can I do if I don’t agree with the school’s policy on attendance?
Much of our attendance policy is designed to satisfy DfE regulations but as always, if you feel an approach is unfair or unreasonable, then you can write to the Headteacher and/or our Trustees asking for a review. However, whilst any such policy is in place, the school will operate as stated.
Good punctuality at school is essential for students to achieve their full educational potential. It is also vital for students to form good habits for later life. Punctuality records form part of references passed onto employers or higher educational institutes.
All students are expected to arrive punctually for school in the morning and to arrive punctually for each lesson. A register is taken at the start of the day and during each lesson. Students arriving late are recorded as thus on the register, along with how many minutes late they are.
Lateness to school
According to DfE guidelines, registers must be closed after a certain time in the morning. Students are expected to be in their form room at 08:40 when the register is taken. Therefore any student arriving after 08:40 will receive a late mark and a 30 minute detention after school on that day. If the lateness is due to a legitimate reason e.g. a medical appointment, the absence can be authorised.
Teddington School’s morning registers close at 09:00, any student arriving after this time without an authorised reason will not receive their full mark which will affect their attendance percentage.
The school's support for good punctuality
We place a strong emphasis on good punctuality and support this by:
- Giving sanctions to students who arrive late to school or lessons
- Informing parents, by automated call, if their child is absent from school
- Awarding tutor points to tutor groups where all students have arrived punctually over a period of time
- Senior staff patrolling the local shops first thing in the morning to encourage students not to loiter in these areas and make themselves late
- Addressing issues of poor time keeping with individual students and their families.
How families can support good punctuality
We would ask parents to support us in maintaining good punctuality by:
- Ensuring that their children get up in plenty of time to be ready and prepared for school
- Ensuring their child has organised their bag and equipment the night before so that this does not delay departure in the morning
- Discussing any issues of lateness to ensure this does not become a habit
- Monitoring their child’s attendance record when it is sent home and looking for patterns of lateness.
Punctuality - Frequently asked questions
My child was only a couple of minutes late. It seems harsh that he/she should get a late mark.
The school has to abide by the rules and expectations laid down for all schools. Lateness for school (or work) is a failure to arrive on time and will be marked as such. We would encourage students to set off in good time so that any small delay does not cause them to be late.
Our whole family overslept and it is not my child’s fault that he/she is late. Will they receive a late mark?
This can not be taken as an acceptable reason for lateness so a late mark or unauthorised absence would be recorded, depending on the time of arrival.
My child has to catch the bus to school which is sometimes late. Will they receive a late mark?
Any lateness is recorded as thus on the register. We would advise that the child leaves earlier so that even if the bus is late, they will still arrive on time. If the bus is sometimes late, then it is not a reliable way to ensure arrival in good time. We suggest that families use the TFL app to track bus and train times
Would you make any allowances for lateness if, for example, there were major traffic problems in the area perhaps because of an accident, so my car/the bus was unavoidably stuck in traffic?
The school cannot make allowances for the individual problem (however genuine it may be). However, it does make allowances when there are known reported major problems that affect a large number of people; very heavy snowfall would be one such example.
What if I phone up/email to say my child is going to be late? Would he/she still get a late mark?
Yes, they would still be marked late, but it is very helpful to know that you are aware and for us to know the expected time of arrival and reason for lateness.
If I know my child is going to be late, do I need to ring/send in a note?
It is very helpful if you do this. If your child is very late, it will be marked as an unauthorised absence - your note may give an alternative acceptable reason to allow us to authorise the absence.
We encourage students to maximise their levels of attendance, knowing that research indicates a direct link between attendance and examination performance.
Families can help their child achieve good levels of attendance (95% and above) by avoiding scheduling medical appointments for children during the school day. We do, nevertheless, understand that this is sometimes unavoidable.
If your child has an unavoidable medical appointment and they miss registration in the morning or afternoon (during their Period 4 lesson), they will lose an attendance mark for half a day and their attendance that week will fall to 90%. Many of the appointment times mean that students can attend school first and return afterwards. This means they minimise missed lessons as well as keeping their attendance levels as high as possible. Therefore, we ask that families send their child into school for morning registration, even if they have a medical appointment in the middle of the morning. Signing out at the office after they have been registered in the morning reinforces the importance of attending to students, and also means that students receive their morning attendance mark.
Similarly, if your child has a medical appointment and does not sign back in afterwards for their afternoon registration mark, they will also lose half a day’s attendance. Therefore, we encourage students to return to school after their appointment wherever possible, or to schedule appointments for as late as possible in the afternoon so they are present for period 4.
Thank you for your support in helping your child achieve their best.