We are pleased to introduce the School’s new Education Welfare Officer, (EWO) Angie Brooks.
Angie is a very experienced EWO, and brings with her a wealth of knowledge, to support and enable parents, to ensure their children’s attendance is in line with the Government’s expectations of 96% or above.
Please find below an introduction to Angie:
My name is Angie Brooks and I’d like to introduce myself as your Education Welfare Officer.
I have worked in the Community for over 25 years and will be bringing my experience and knowledge to Vine Academies.
I will be looking at students’ attendance and contacting families to offer strategies and support. I will provide guidance and initiatives to the school and liaise with support agencies and other professionals.
The Government’s stance is now, ‘business as usual’, which means students must attend every day that is available to them. This is also our expectation.
We are completely aware of the difficult times we have endured and our hope, is to allay some of those fears and try and obtain a new normal for everyone.
I will be available every Monday, for any questions you may have or any advice you would like. Please contact me on the email address below or phone me at the school.
I look forward to working with you all.
Mrs Angie Brooks
Education Welfare Officer
Tel: 01279 432459
As you are aware we constantly monitor your child’s attendance. The expected attendance across Essex is 96% and above. Every term we make all parents and carers aware of the set of procedures we will follow if your child falls below the expected. We recognise the level of winter viruses have been higher this year but ask that you ensure your child’s attendance is a high priority when they are well enough to attend.
If your child’s attendance falls to 95%, you may receive a letter from school advising you that your child’s attendance has fallen below the expected average and requires improvement. A copy of their attendance will be provided.
Should there be no improvement following this letter, you will be invited in for a meeting to discuss your child’s attendance and ways in which it can be improved. A referral to the Education Welfare Officer will be made if appropriate improvement is not sustained. Please see below for an introduction to Angie Brooks, our new Education Welfare Officer.
The school’s attendance officers work closely with parents and school to monitor your child’s attendance. They may write to you, guided by Essex Attendance Specialist Teams, requesting medical evidence for any further absences. In some cases, parents will be issued with a court warning letter, a fine and even face prosecution.
Pupils arriving late to school causes disruption to their learning as well as others, which is unacceptable and can be upsetting for them and their classmates. If your child is significantly late (after 9.20am), without a valid reason, they will receive a U code in the register which counts as an absence and may result in a fine. If your child is persistently late you will receive a letter from school. Please see or leaflet ‘Punctuality Matters’ for more information (see below).
We have had a number of pupils being collected later than the school finish times of 3.10pm for KS1 and 3.15pm for KS2 recently. We understand that this may happen very occasionally in an emergency but if this is occurring regularly you may be asked to complete a form on late collection to explain the reasons.
Please ensure that you contact the school office on the first day of your child’s absence by 9.20am. If you do not contact the school, you will receive a phone call, as will your contacts to establish the nature of the absence. If there continues to be no contact, a member of staff will carry out a home visit.
We appreciate that there are times when your child won’t be unwell enough to attend school (See the Should I Keep My Child off School? Leaflet below), however everyday coughs, colds and headaches are not a reason for your child to miss valuable learning time. If you do visit your GP, we ask that you provide a copy of the appointment card or prescription to support your child’s absence. Medical evidence is expected after 5 days of absence or where attendance is of concern.
Leave of Absence –Term Time Holidays
May I take this opportunity to remind all parents that holidays taken during term time will not be authorised and will have a massive impact on your child’s education and attendance. Many parents were fined last year due to term time holidays.
No Authorisation of Term Time Holidays
The policy of the DFE and the Local School’s Board of St James’ CofE Primary School is that term time holidays will not be authorised unless there are exceptional circumstances. (Cheaper holidays or other family members buying the holidays are not classed as exceptional circumstances)
The reason for this is simple.
- We are passionate about your child’s education and enabling him/her to reach their potential. We cannot achieve this if your child is not at school.
- There are thirteen weeks school holiday each year during which you can take a holiday.
- If taken, the message to your child (and others) is that you, (the parents) value a term time holiday more than you value your child’s education.
Penalty Notices, in line with the Essex Code of Conduct, can be issued if
- There have been 10 sessions (5 consecutive days) or more (or in the first two weeks of September 6 sessions (3 consecutive days)) unauthorised absence due to a holiday taken during an academic year as according to our policy.
Term time Holiday Work-will not be set by the school
The school will not set work for the children to do whilst on a term time holiday.
The teachers are in school and available to teach the children. Their planning of teaching with complex styles and strategies cannot be replicated on holiday.
If parents choose to condone term time truancy by taking a holiday, the school will not support this action by setting work for the children.
Parents might like to visit the local library and take a selection of books for their child to read to try to ensure that reading capability does not fall behind during the holiday.
Impact on Pupil Progress of Term time Holidays
Any parent choosing to withdraw their child from education for a term time holiday should not expect for their child to make the same academic progress that year as other children in the year group. It will be very disruptive to their child’s education, and their child may miss opportunities made available to other children who attend school regularly. This is something that parents must accept and the school will not discuss.
Term Time Leave of Absence Requests
To request leave for your child during school term time, please email the form below to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop into the School Office.
Penalty notices for unauthorised leave of absence (ULA)3 Penalty Notices may be issued where there have been at least 10 consecutive sessions of unauthorised absence for the purpose of a holiday, whereby a parent made an application to the School which the Head Teacher has deemed not for exceptional circumstances.
In addition, a Penalty Notice may also be issued, whereby the parent did not submit a leave of absence request, however the school have reason to believe the absence was for the purpose of a holiday and should not be authorised as parent has not provided any additional evidence which the Head Teacher deems appropriate to support the absence. In addition to the above criteria, due to the importance of pupils settling into school at the commencement of the school year, Penalty Notices may also be issued if there have been at least 6 consecutive sessions of unauthorised absence during the first two weeks of September due to a term-time holiday.
Removal From Roll – Extended Family Holidays
Where a parent applies for extended leave during term time, it is at the head teacher’s discretion whether the leave is granted. If a parent takes their child out of school for extended leave, it is imperative that a return date is agreed prior to the family’s departure. Schools are advised to write to the family to state whether the period of leave is authorised or unauthorised and to stipulate the date on which the pupil is expected to return to school. This letter should be sent to all parents and carers under separate cover within 5 days of receipt of application. The letter should make clear that, if the pupil does not return to school, as at the agreed date, the pupil will risk losing their place and parents would need to reapply for a school place.