Parents Guide to Attendance
Attending and actively taking part in learning – wherever learning takes place – is fundamental to making sure that our young people at Sponne become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens embodying our values of Dream, Believe, Achieve.
Young people need to be included, engaged and involved throughout their education. This booklet helps you, as parents and carers, understand how you can help to achieve this.
At Sponne we want all of our students to feel happy, safe and secure at school. We want to make sure our young people receive day to day or additional support to attend school and engage in their learning. Parents and carers are by far the most important influence on children’s lives and learning and it is parents and carers who are responsible for making sure their child is educated. This guide explains your responsibilities as a parent when it comes to your child’s attendance at school.
Parents are legally responsible for making sure that their child is educated.
Our attendance roadmap which shows our procedures is on our website.
What should I do if my child is worried about coming to school?
Your child has a right to an education and to be safe and happy at school. However, we recognise that sometimes young people can be worried about coming to school. This can happen for lots of reasons but can happen when they have a worry about something like homework, or a class test, or if they are worried about being bullied or if they have fallen out with other children.
It’s important to talk to us if this kind of problem happens or you have any concerns - the earlier we know of the problem the easier it is for us to support you. Please do contact a member of staff at the school with any worry your child has which is affecting them getting to school.
What personal support can my child expect in school?
At Sponne, we have a well established and experienced pastoral team who are here to support your child.
In the first instance it may be a good idea to speak to your child’s form tutor but there is also their Progress Learning Leader, their Assistant Progress Learning Leader, our Parent Support Advisor or our Pastoral and Wellbeing Coordinators for KS3 and KS4. In the 6th form there are Miss Elliott and Miss Freer. Your child may also have a preferred member of staff that they have a positive relationship with whom you may wish to contact. We also have a team of dedicated staff to behaviour and inclusion in the House led by Miss Goodall.
KEY FACTORS FOR SUCCESS – Working together
It is vital that you work in partnership with us to ensure we have the whole picture of the young person’s difficulties. Some young people who are worried about school function very well socially in other aspects of their lives, e.g. mixing with certain friends, or going to specific sport and youth clubs of their choice. This can lead people to believe that perhaps the young person is not really worried at school and maybe it is a case of the parent/carers not insisting that their son/daughter attends.
Open and continuous communication is key
As a parent or carer ensure that your child:
- Gets to bed at a reasonable time
- Has the necessary clothes and equipment ready for school the next day
- Gets up in good time
- Washes, dresses for school and eats breakfast
- Is ready by the time they ought to leave home for school
- Encourage your child to take responsibility for this routine, for example by giving your child an alarm clock.
If your child claims to be ill but you believe they are well enough to attend school:
- Be reassuring. Show that you understand how they might be feeling but remain firm about them needing to attend school every day
- If your child mentions a particular problem agree to look into it as soon as possible but continue to insist they go to school
- Remind them (don’t nag!) that they are expected to go to school even though they may be late
- If necessary, escort your child to school. Make your parting uneventful, i.e. say goodbye and go. DO NOT HANG AROUND
- When your child goes to school, always make a comment about how well they have done. Take every opportunity to praise their success no matter how small or obvious. Be careful to do this in a sincere and low-key way rather than a way that leads to a rise in your child’s excitement level, which he or she may misinterpret as increased anxiety
If your child point blank refuses to attend, contact the school to inform us and follow these guidelines:
- Expect your child to spend their time at home either on school related work or reading
- Do not let them go out to visit friends or relatives
- Do not take them shopping
- Do not allow them to spend their time watching television, gaming or being on their phone
- Do not offer over the top rewards
- These conditions should last for the duration of the school day.
- Review the situation the next day. If your child refuses school again, then the conditions apply again for the rest of the school day.
If your child claims to feel ill and you decide they really are not well enough to go to school:
Contact the school and try to speak to either their form tutor, PLL, someone from the Pastoral Team or Attendance Team.
Make a doctor’s appointment (make sure your GP knows about your child’s attendance difficulties). Follow the procedure already described for when a child stays at home (see previous section)
It is crucial that your child does not develop a cosy, comfortable alternative lifestyle which will prevent them from wanting to attend school regularly
- Any absence from school often makes the return difficult. If your child can possibly attend school, for example they have a cold or headache, encourage them to do so
- It may be extremely difficult but, whenever possible remain calm Try not to criticise (easier said than done when under pressure!)
- Try to praise and encourage your child
- Try to make positive helpful comments
- If it feels like it is all getting too much, don’t suffer in silence - contact us for help
Here are some other forms of support you may wish to access:
Parentzone provides information for parents and carers about how you can support your child’s education.
Children and young people can get confidential help about any question, concern or worry.
Action for Children
School anxiety and refusal