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School attendance, COVID and letters to parents!

As things are slowly returning to ‘normal’ one of our duties as a school is to support your child’s good attendance at school.


The Department for Education (DfE) are clear, attendance at school should be prioritised. There has been too much disruption to schooling over the last two years.


DfE guidance tells us that we must:

‘regularly communicate expectations for attendance and punctuality and school performance through your regular channels of communication with staff, pupils and parents


‘establish robust escalation procedures which are initiated before absence becomes a problem, for example by: sending letters to parents and carers

January 2022


For some families our focus on attendance might be new. As a school we haven’t had a focus on attendance since the start of the pandemic, nearly two years ago. This was because of the constant changes to requirements that have impacted on school life. Now that we are entering a more stable time, every child should attend school regularly, unless they are self-isolating.


Prior to embarking on sending out individual letters regarding attendance (as suggested by the DfE), I would like to give a blanket reminder to all parents reminding them about the importance of attendance at school, which I know you already know.


We know that events come along in life, children become unwell, medical appointments need to take place. The DfE suggests good attendance is 95%, this allows for these life events. In a school year of 190 days this is around 10 days absence. Attendance that falls below 95% becomes a concern, because it can easily slip to 90%,  just another 9 days absence. This is the equivalent to 1 day in every 2 weeks.


For us, attendance of:

  • 89 - 93% is starting to cause a concern.
  • 95% is good attendance,
  • over 97% is excellent – this is our target for your child.


To complicate matters, add COVID into the mix and attendance at school begins to plummet. Following public health guidance is important to slow the spread of COVID, so although COVID illness counts towards each pupils overall absence, when we look at attendance we try not to include this. As such at this point I do not intend to send letters to  pupils who’s attendance has fallen below 93%. However, if your child has had additional days off –  for none authorised circumstances, I may have to alert you of this. This is an early intervention, to raise awareness.


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