Introduction: At Drayton Park, we take attendance and punctuality very seriously. We aim to provide your child with the best education we can, every day they are in school. If your child is absent, we cannot teach them. The government has published research which shoes a link between pupils' attainment over time, and their attendance. There is a leaflet about attendance from Islington you can read below.
Punctuality makes a real difference to your child's learning too. It is a habit that is important to form early in life. Children who are late, have often had rushed, stressful mornings. They have to enter class once everyone else is settled, which can be embarrassing. They also miss the crucial introduction to the day's learning. It can take a long time to fully catch up on even a few minutes missed.
Success with Attendance: Over the last few years our attendance has been steadily rising. This year, for the first time, our attendance is well above national averages. This is testament to the commitment that the vast majority of our families have to school and learning, and the effective way we promote good attendance.
Targets: Our target for all pupils is at least 96%. Most of our pupils achieve much more than this. We celebrate them termly in a special assembly. Attendance below 90% is considered to be persistent absenteeism. This leads to a process aimed at improving attendance. At the start of the 2015-16 academic year we had 21 persistent absentee children at school. By Christmas, we had reduced this number to 16. Our system works. It is initially supportive, and when parents engage well, we can make a real difference. Sustained persistent absenteeism is considered a form of neglect, however. It does lead to referral to Islington's Families First team, and ultimately to Social Services. Our aim is to have no persistent absentees at Drayton Park. You can read more about our approach to attendance in our policy below.
Illness: We know that children fall ill and this may lead to a few days missed from school. Our target for every child of 96% attendance, is attainable with up to 7 days absence from school a year. We believe this is more than enough to cover minor illness and most of our children do much better than 96%. The document below, on Infection Control in Schools, gives a good guide on how long children should be kept of school for most common illnesses. If your child has a slight illness, do please bring them in. We are able to administer pharmacy as well as prescription medicines in school. See our Safeguarding page for more information. We also ask that you try to book medical appointments outside of school hours if possible. If medical appointments are within school hours, do please bring your child into school before and after the appointment.
Religious Holidays: Pupils are entitled to miss school for important religious holidays, however, this is still counted as absence when we calculate their attendance percentage. The entitlement is only for the religious holiday itself. If your children miss school on any day before or after the holiday, it is counted as unauthorised absence.
Inset Days: There are 195 school days in a year. We are required to assign 5 of these days as 'Inset Days'. On these days, school is closed to children, but open to staff. We run whole-staff training on these days. We try to give you plenty of notice about our Inset days. Our usual pattern is the first two days in September, the day back after the Christmas holiday and the day after the Easter holiday. Over the last few years, we have held the fifth day on the Muslim holiday of Eid. Since so many of our pupils are Muslims, we are happy to ensure that by observing their religion, they do not miss out on education.
Attendance in Early Years: Parents have sometimes told us they think that school does not matter much when their pupils are young. However, it is in Nursery and Reception that children's brains and bodies go through the most rapid and fundamental development of their school lives. Getting a good foundation is crucial to children's future success in school. Throughout Early Years, a huge amount of learning takes place in vital areas, such as spoken language, phonics, reading, writing and maths, as well as in children's social and emotional development. If children fall behind in their earliest years of school, it can be very hard for them to catch up again. We consider good attendance and punctuality in our Early Years classes to be as important as in any other year of school. We have a distinct policy for attendance in the Early Years, which you can access below.
Term Time Holidays: Parents sometimes believe they have a right to a number of days' term-time holiday a year. This is not true. Term time holiday is always unauthorised, except in the most exceptional circumstances, such as the death of a parent. We have a process for requesting term-time absence, which you can read about in our policy below. Taking term time absence can lead to a fine of £60-£120, per child, per parent.