Our Approach to Attendance

The following information is a summary of our Attendance Policy. It is written primarily to advise parents/carers coming to Highfields College with their child for the first time.

For our young people to gain the greatest benefit from their education, it is vital that they attend everyday.

We recognise that for a high number of young people and their families, attendance has historically been a struggle. We understand that this can cause many conflicts in the home, can impact the working lives of parents/carers and sometimes can feel like a ‘lost battle’. To support this, we have in place the Family and Student Support Team (FASST) who work with young people and their families on this issue. 

We highly value our work with families to promote everyday attendance, so that together we can:

  • Ensure that attendance is always recorded accurately and legitimately, in line with current regulations.
  • Listen to parents and carers carefully to find out why their child is not attending everyday, so we can offer targeted support where needed. 
  • Provide intensive support to our ‘inactive’ children – those with 20% or less attendance.
    • This includes those parents and carers who are currently struggling with a family crisis and/or have experienced a number of years of very difficult circumstances which has impacted attendance.
    • This includes those parents and carers who feel unhappy at and are in dispute with the Local Authority over their child’s referral into Highfields College.
  • Promote a culture where young people, families and school staff recognise the links between good school attendance, the quality of education, keeping our young people safe and the achievement of our children.
  • Recognise and reward regular attendance and instances where young people have greatly improved their attendance.
  • See the process of securing good attendance for all young people as an ongoing process, never something that is ‘finished’.

Procedures:

Highfields College and its parents/carers must follow national regulations around attendance:

  • Parents/carers are required to advise the school of any foreseen absences  by ringing reception on 0161 406 7922.
  • For absence reported on the day, parents/carers must contact the school 0161 406 7922 before 9:00 am. 
  • If the absence goes over one day, parents/carers must contact the school on the day of each absence.
  • Failure to report your child’s absence will result in an unauthorised absence. This can then trigger further action.
  • Any holidays during term term must be applied for in advance by writing to the headteacher – please email contact@highfieldscollege.org.uk or contact the school. Such holidays are permitted only in very exceptional circumstances.

The school uses EduLink and this can help parents/carers monitor their child’s attendance and punctuality.

Action on Attendance:

FASST staff closely monitor the attendance of all students and are required to follow an Attendance Action Matrix (summarised above) – this means:

  • If we do not receive a phone call on the day of absence from the parent/carer, we will contact parents/carers and any involved agencies
  • If contact is still not made and the child’s whereabouts are uncertain, we will rapidly escalate to a home visit by a social worker or ourselves
  • Alongside daily attendance monitoring, attendance for every child is reviewed in 3 – 4 weekly cycles with low attendance for that cycle then referred on for further action
  • Where non-attendance is a repeated issue despite support offered, it will be escalated with Local Authority colleagues and may result in legal action

The Family and Student Support Team are bound by legal obligations to report onwards and support legal process but the first port of call is to engage with parents/carers to encourage young people to attend school where appropriate – and to support our parents/carers in affecting meaningful change and encouraging attendance.

The leaders who oversee the operation of this policy are Mrs Marshall, Miss Holt, Mrs Hibbert and Mrs Devine-Hayes. If you have any further questions about attendance management at Highfields College, please do not hesitate to get in touch.