Tuesday 12 February 2019

Portsmouth City Council is launching a two year school attendance campaign this week – Miss School, Miss Out!

The campaign aims to improve school attendance in Portsmouth by highlighting to parents and carers what children can achieve if they have good attendance and reach their full potential. 

It’s important to ensure that each child attends school regularly.  Evidence shows that children who do so are more successful, not only in school, but in all areas of life.  Missing school means not only missing out on lessons, but also clubs, friendships, careers support, trips and all other opportunities that school has to offer.  If children understand the importance of regular attendance from an early age, it helps them to maintain that attitude throughout their school life and into their work life.

Portsmouth City Council is committed to ensuring that every child gets the chance to go to school to help them to get the best possible start to life.

Did you know?

  • Last year, 1 in 5 children in Portsmouth missed a week of school because of an unauthorised absence, leaving gaps in their learning.
  • Each day of school missed by a child will reduce their attendance by 0.5%, and will mean they miss five lessons.  Ten whole days of school has been missed if a pupil has 95%  attendance – that’s 50 lessons.  Twenty whole days of school has been missed if a pupil’s attendance is 90%.  Catching up on missed lessons impacts on the pupil, the teacher and other pupils in the class.
  • If a pupil is persistently absent (85% attendance) they have missed 6 weeks or half a term of schooling. 
  • Being 15 minutes late each day is the same as missing two weeks of school over the year.    

What is authorised and unauthorised absence?

Term time absence must be approved by the head teacher.  This is called authorised absence.

At the head teacher’s discretion, absence may be authorised for genuine illness, for reasons of religious belief or for family trauma.  Check our Attendance and Punctuality Policy if you are unsure.

Any absence not approved by the head teacher is an unauthorised absence.

Unauthorised absence includes things like time off for shopping, birthdays, holidays, visiting relatives, arriving late, and having days out.

When is a child too ill to come to school?

We know that illness is sometimes unavoidable and to be expected.  However it is very important to inform the school as soon as possible on the first day of absence, letting them know the reason, by phone, email, letter or in person at the school office so that the absence is authorised.

Not all illnesses need time off school.  Here’s some useful NHS guidance on whether or not children can come into school with different types of illness.

Parents and carers are legally responsible for making sure their children attend school regularly – unless they are home educated – and schools can offer help and support to any families who are struggling with attendance for any reason.

Top tips to help prevent absence

  • Talk to your child about how important it is to attend school.
  • Inspire them to think about what they would like to be when they grow up, and how school can help with that.
  • Ask regularly about how school is going.
  • Use the NHS guidance on illness.
  • Book all holidays outside of term time.
  • Book medical and dental appointments outside school hours is possible – and if not possible, ensure your child attends school before and after the appointment.
  • If your child complains of boredom, contact their class teacher to find out more.
  • Provide a good environment for study at home and ensure they have time set aside for homework.
  • Find out if your child wants to avoid school for a reason that they are frightened to tell you about – perhaps they are being bullied. NHS Healthier Together has helpful advice on discussing a range of issues with your child.
  • Work with the school to address any attendance issues.