At Devizes School, we have very high standards, and this includes our expectation of full attendance and punctuality to school and lessons. Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children attend full-time.
High levels of attendance are closely linked to achievement. In the 2015/16 academic year, our average attendance was 94%, in line with the national average. We believe that this is one of the reasons for our students’ improving success academically.
We encourage and recognise exceptionally good attendance by awarding termly and annual certificates for students with excellent attendance records. 100% attendance during a single term also gains house points for the student.
There will be times when your child is too ill to attend school or he/she has to attend an important appointment. It is important that parents contact the school on the first day of absence and everyday thereafter. Contact can be made by email to [email protected], using the Edulink App, or by phoning the school on 01380 724886 and following the instructions to report student absence.
In any event, an absence letter must be brought by your child to the tutor on the first day back after any absence. This should be signed and dated by the parent, giving the child’s name and tutor group, and clearly stating the reason for the absence. In certain circumstances evidence to support absence may be required, for instance when a child has had a sustained period of absence or has multiple days of absence.
Students are expected to copy up classwork and homework missed during an absence.
Reporting Exam Absence
If difficulties are experienced during the examination period (e.g. illness, injury, personal problems), please inform the school at the earliest possible point so we can help or advise.
Only in exceptional circumstances are candidates allowed special consideration for absence from any part of an examination. It is essential that medical or other appropriate evidence is obtained and given to the examination officer without delay in all cases where an application is to be made for special consideration. A self-certification form (JCQ/ME Form 14) can be obtained from the examinations officer.
Parents and candidates are reminded that the school will require payment of entry fees (approximately £29.00 / £77.00 per subject) should a candidate fail to attend an examination without good reason and without informing the school, as detailed in the examination contract.
Please note that misreading the timetable will not be accepted as a satisfactory explanation of absence.
Parents are asked to refrain from arranging family holidays when examinations are taking place, and if absence permission for this purpose is sought, authorisation will not be given.
The school has an automated ‘absence call’ system. This system operates to ensure that your child is safe. If a student is not in school by 8:45 a.m. and we have not received a call or email explaining his or her absence on that day, parents will be called once every hour during the day until a response is received explaining why the student is absent.
To safeguard our students, we will notify parent/carers of their child’s absence from school on a daily basis. We will do this even when a child has been collected from school the previous day. This is because unless advised otherwise we do not know if your child has left the family home to come to school.
Exceptional Circumstances Known in Advance
In such circumstances, the parents must write in advance to the headteacher, explaining the situation and requesting permission for authorised absence. The school follows the local authority’s attendance code. Absence from school can either be authorised by the school or unauthorised:
- AUTHORISED ABSENCE will include genuine illness, medical appointments, music exams, special tuition, approved public performances, work experience, interviews, non-arrival of school transport, immediate family bereavements, exclusion of students, and some family holidays that have the prior approval of the headteacher.
- UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE (i.e. permission has NOT been given by the school) includes unauthorised holidays in term time (see below), truancy, caring for younger brothers and sisters, visits to relatives, long weekends, shopping, excess of time on holiday over that agreed with the school, and arrival in school after 8:45 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.
Family Holidays in Term Time
Parents should arrange family holidays only during school holiday periods. If there are exceptional circumstances, parents should write to the headteacher to seek permission before making holiday arrangements in term time.
If a student has five or more days of unauthorised holiday absence within a six-month period of the current academic year, the school must notify the local authority and a penalty notice will be issued to each parent. The cost of a penalty notice is £120 per child, per parent. This can be reduced to £60 per child per parent if paid within 21 days.
Punctuality, like full attendance, is very important. Students should arrive at school by 8:20 a.m. — there is no supervision prior to this apart from breakfast club.
The school registers each student electronically for all lessons throughout the day. This encourages full attendance and good punctuality in lessons. To discourage lateness, raising achievement leaders organise after-school detentions as necessary for students who are persistently late. There are occasions when school buses are late, in which case staff will be aware of this and take it into account.
Education Welfare Officer
Mrs Vicky Gale is our school educational welfare officer. Mrs Gale deals with severe or persistent attendance problems, child employment, and other welfare matters. She has regular contact with raising achievement leaders and is also available to act as a confidential counsellor to students if necessary. Mrs Gale can be contacted via the school switchboard.