Dear Parent / Carers,
Excellent attendance is a fundamental indicator of a student’s potential success. We appreciate that starting secondary school can be both an exciting and nervous time for parents and students. However, the transition to The De Montfort School is designed to ensure all students are confident and well-practiced in the routines and expectations that we have. One of the most significant factors that causes worry and anxiety is absence. We will be working with our feeder schools to identify students whose attendance causes concern and therefore may require early intervention from our ‘Attendance team’ to help and support families to address any concerns and ensure a smooth transition.
We would like to stress the importance of not booking term time holidays as it causes students to miss valuable information and learning opportunities. I would like to remind you that the autumn term for Y6, 9 and 12 students is on Friday 3rd September, so please ensure there are no late returns from your summer holidays.
Research carried out by the Department of education (DfE) in 2015 on student absence and exam results shows there is further evidence supporting the link between attendance and achievement. Even short breaks from school can reduce a student’s chances of succeeding at school by as much as 25%. Put simply, students that are frequently absent from school do not do as well when compared to their peers who have excellent attendance. A student who has 95% attendance at the end of the academic year will have missed 50 lessons and over six years would rise to 300 lessons. This will obviously have a negative impact on a student’s progress.
95% in normal terms would be seen as very good. If a student achieved 95% in a test we would be very pleased. However, in attendance terms 95% is below target. An attendance percentage of 95% equates to 1 day off in every twenty school days and five missed lessons. Over the year this would mean nearly ten school days and 50 lessons would be lost. Our school aim is for students to achieve 100% although the difference is small, the small margins will make all the difference in a student’s success.
Poor attendance often starts at first or primary school, and children who fall into this pattern are likely to underachieve at secondary school. Students who miss between 10 and 20% of school (that’s 19 to 38 days per year) stand only a 35% chance of achieving five or more good GCSEs, compared to 73% of those who miss fewer than 5% of school days.
As you may be aware, the government provides regulations regarding attendance at school. The regulations make it clear that headteachers may not grant leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstance’. In such exceptional circumstance, headteachers will determine the number of school days a student can be away from school. Please note, that under these regulations, family holidays do not qualify as an exceptional circumstance.
We look to support students and families to achieving our target attendance of 100%. When there is an attendance concern, we will make contact in a variety of ways including text, telephone, letter and home visits to help and support those concerned in order to improve their attendance.
Similarly, arriving to school and lessons on time is vitally important in ensuring a smooth start to the day and maximise learning time. It is essential that students are punctual as it will promote self-discipline and responsibility. All students need to be in school before the start of Tutor time, this starts at 9am. Students can enter the school site from 8.40am.
We are looking forward to working with all parents / carers and students to ensure the best education and success is shared by all.
Mr M Sandell