The impact of non-attendance at school and nursery significantly increases gaps in knowledge and understanding for children. Research has shown that this has a huge impact on their attainment, achievement and future life choices.
In Clackmannanshire we have found that attendance in our schools and nurseries can dip towards public holidays, the end of school terms and during weeks when inset days are held. This is a trend we want to change and also the view that maybe the odd day off does not matter.
The schools are required by law to maintain an accurate record of the attendance and absence of each child and parents are asked to assist in this process by keeping the school informed if their child is absent for any reason.
All children are likely to be absent or late for school at some time. However, persistent poor attendance and/or punctuality is disruptive to the individual and their learning and may be an early warning of other difficulties. If possible planned appointments for children to attend the dentist or doctor should be made outwith the school day.
Where there are genuine reasons for non-attendance, the authority will work with parents, children and other agencies to ensure that your child's education is continued by means other than school attendance.
If you know in advance that your child is going to be absent, please tell your child's class teacher/school, in a note if possible.
The council actively discourages taking children out of school during term-time for family holidays because of the disruption that it causes to the education of individual pupils and class groups. Schools cannot give parents permission to do this and, except in the most exceptional of circumstances, such absences will be treated as unauthorised.
On the first day of any absence, and before 10am, you should tell the school or nursery of your child's absence. Where possible, you should tell the school or nursery how long the absence is expected to be. If your child's absence lasts longer than 5 school days, please tell the school or nursery of your child's progress and likely date of return, if known.
If your child is not present in school or nursery and they have received no notification from you regarding the absence by 10am, school or nursery staff will contact you using the contact details you have provided. If the school or nursery cannot contact you to confirm the whereabouts of your child, the Headteacher may ask the school's Attendance and Welfare Officer to call at your home or may notify the Police.
It is extremely important that you inform the school or nursery of any changes in your contact details.
Sometimes children miss school without the knowledge of their parents. Your child's school will regularly check for any unexplained absences and may write to you for an explanation if there are any outstanding absences.
In this way, you will be kept informed of any incidences of absence of which you might otherwise be unaware.
From time to time, you may need to take your child out of school during the school day perhaps for an appointment, because your child is unwell or because of a family emergency. Children who need to leave school during the school day will only be released into the care of a parent or other adult, who has been authorised in writing by you or verbally by phone.
Where possible, you should try to make dental, medical and other appointments for your child outwith the school day.
If you know that you will have to take your child out of school in advance, ie for an appointment, it is helpful if you inform the school in advance. You must also inform the school in writing if you want an adult other than yourself to escort the child. Schools will not release pupils into the care of anyone who does not have your written authorisation. This is to protect your child.
When you, or another authorised adult, take your child out of school, you will be asked to sign a register. You will also be issued with an Authorised Absence Pass.
Clackmannanshire Council has an arrangement with Police Scotland that children, who are not in school during normal school hours, whether or not they are with an adult, may be challenged. If the child does not have an Authorised Absence Pass, then the Police may return the child to school. The Council's Attendance and Welfare Officers and Community Wardens may also approach young people and ask to see the Authorised Absence Pass.
If your child is late for school, please send a note of explanation with your child or telephone the school. Of course, you may not be aware that your child is late for school - s/he may leave home in adequate time for school and delay on the way.
If your child is regularly absent from or late for school, you may be visited by the school's Attendance and Welfare Officer or be invited to meet with the Headteacher to discuss the reasons for absence or late coming and to seek a plan for improvement.
The following Scottish Government leaflets are available for reference:
Education & Schools
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000