Attend to Achieve
At The Ruth Gorse Academy our aim is for every student to have excellent attendance and punctuality. In order to fully maximise on learning opportunities, excellent attendance is needed. Parents / carers play a pivotal role in promoting positive attitudes towards attendance. We ask for support in ensuring that students are on time and ready to learn at every opportunity, avoiding absence which is unnecessary.
Research shows that students who attend school regularly make better progress within their academic studies as well as socially. Excellent attendance not only supports students academically and socially but also prepares them for the world of work.
We strive for all our students to have 100% attendance, making the most of the opportunities that are made available to them both within lessons, social times and within our extensive extra-curricular program. These opportunities will positively impact your child both now and for their future choices.
Celebrating Good Attendance
Celebrating and positively rewarding students for good attendance is a part of academy culture. This takes place during form time and assemblies as well as during our Positive Discipline lesson. The importance of attendance is visible within the academy with displays positively reinforcing our ethos of ‘attend to achieve’.
Students attendance is a focus of form time each day, discussions are had around good attendance habits and students are celebrated for their good attendance and punctuality. Students are informed of their weekly and yearly attendance during their Positive Discipline lesson each week and individual students’ attendance is recognised throughout each half term with ‘Pop up’ rewards for students with excellent attendance and rewards trips at the end of each half term.
The 100% Attendance Club
Maintaining an attendance record of 100% is a brilliant achievement and one that we are delighted to reward and celebrate. Students who achieve 100% attendance will be given a much deserved place in the 100% Attendance Club. Membership of the club entitles students to a range of rewards, including celebration activities, trips and pop up events throughout the year.
A 100% Attendance Club pin badge is presented to students when they enter the club. It is expected that this badge is worn with pride at all times around the Academy. This is a student’s pass to a raft of rewards and treats including a specially allocated queue in the dining room and at the red van, ensuring priority and speedy serving at lunch and break times.
Our first 100% Attendance Club students are those who have admirably achieved 100% Attendance from the start of half term 3 on the 7 January 2019. The next entry to the club will be those students who maintain 100% Attendance from February half term to the Easter break 2019. Students can stay in the club for as long as they maintain 100% attendance. This will be reviewed weekly by the Attendance Team and any student who drops below 100% will hand their pin badge back to school.
We recognise 100% Attendance as being a huge achievement and one that needs significant reward and celebration! Therefore, only students with 100% Attendance will be granted access to the club. The 100% attendance club is a reward for those students who show resilience and excellent attitudes to school. We do, however, recognise that in some cases, absence from school is unavoidable. Examples include students being absent from school:
- to mark a religious observance.
- to attend a specialist medical appointment related to a lifelong medical condition.
- to grieve for, and attend a funeral of an immediate family member.
In all cases where a parent / carer is seeking an exception to be made, the Principal must authorise this. Please complete an ‘Exceptional Circumstances form’ and return to the academy by email or post.
Students who maintain attendance above 97% will be able to access some of the same rewards given to those in the 100% Attendance Club. The Attendance Team may, when appropriate, also provide incentives and rewards specifically targeted to individuals or groups where it is seen fit.
What to do if your child is unwell:
If your child is too unwell to attend the Academy, parents/ carers must contact the Academy Attendance Office as soon as possible:
- by telephone on 0113 2531 600 between 8 and 9am on each day of absence
Please give your child’s name, year group and the reason for the absence. On your child’s return following an absence, we request that parents/carers write a letter explaining the reason for their absence and for them to give this to their form tutor. It is the responsibility of your child to catch up on work missed from their period of absence and it is our expectation that this is completed as soon as possible.
What to do if your child has an appointment:
We request that all routine medical, dental or other appointments, where possible, are made outside of school time. Where an urgent appointment is required or a hospital appointment within a day clinic has been made, we will require medical evidence in the form of an appointment card or letter in order to authorise the absence from school. We ask where possible parents/ carers ensure that your child attends school before and after the appointment to maximise their learning opportunities for that day.
The academy expects that all students arrive in to school on time by 8.20am in order to be at their forms ready to begin the school day by 8.25am.
Any student arriving late will receive, in the first instance, a warning and the importance of punctuality will be discussed with a senior member of staff and an attendance officer. For each instance there-after, students will receive a negative comment and will be expected to attend a detention at break time.
We would be grateful for your support in ensuring that your child arrives on time. Arriving late for school does not set them on the correct path for the day ahead and means that they miss vital messages and learning opportunities.
Leave of Absence
An authorised leave of absence will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. The government advise parents / carers to avoid taking their child out of school during term time as this will negatively impact their education.
If you require a leave of absence for your child, you must complete the leave of absence form (a form is available from the academy) and ensure that your child returns this to their form tutor well in advance of the absence date. The Principal is under no obligation to authorise any leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances as to why this cannot be arranged out of school time.
All requests will be considered by the Principal on an individual basis and parents / carers will be notified of the decision by telephone or in writing.
Where a parental request has been refused, and parents continue to take their child out of school, this absence will be recorded as unauthorised. We reserve the right to apply to the Local Authority to issue a Penalty Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This is a fine of £60 per parent for each child if paid within 21 days, rising to £120 per parent for each child if paid between 22 and 28 days. Failure to pay can result in prosecution in the Magistrates Court. This legislation also applies if no prior application has been made or where a false reason for the absence has been provided.
A persistent absentee is any student whose attendance falls below 90% as stated within government guidelines. Persistent absence has a detrimental effect on students as work missed is often not fully completed leaving students at a disadvantage to their peers.
Students with poor attendance are less likely to achieve their academic potential and may find that they suffer socially. These disadvantages mean that the government request that schools and local authorities intervene where students’ attendance falls within this category. We have a responsibility to ensure that students are given all the opportunities to succeed both academically, socially and for their future life choices.
Support for Attendance
The academy monitors the attendance and punctuality of each individual student closely each day and follow up absence which is unexplained with parents / carers as soon as possible by telephone or written communication. If a students’ attendance becomes a concern to us, then contact will be made with parents / carers to discuss this further and support put in place where needed. Working together to support your child is key in order to ensure that they are achieving their academic potential and to support their well-being.
If you would like to discuss any concerns that you have around your child’s attendance or are aware of any issues which may impact your child’s attendance then please contact the attendance team or your child’s pastoral team to discuss this so that support can be offered by telephone on 0113 2531 600.
Where a student’s attendance reaches a concerning level, we will contact you by letter, telephone, or home visit in the first instance to discuss ways in which we can work together to support you and your child.