Educational settings undertake an array of work to improve good attendance by providing information, guidance and support to parents/carers and children. We have produced an Attendance Strategy and Action Plan, which sets out the city’s vision of working together to improve attendance in:
- early years settings
Attendance Policy & Procedures
A good robust Attendance Policy will set out what the law says about attendance, what your rules are and how they are used. It should include what processes you will use to monitor attendance, how you will address attendance concerns and who will undertake roles.
By creating and sharing this in a shortened form with parents/carers you will make clear your expectations.
It is important that your educational setting has a process to follow when dealing with attendance and punctuality concerns. Having a set of standard letters for when specific concerns arise can be helpful and show progression from a general to a specific concern. This can also provide evidence should further action be required.
Publicity & promotion
We have produced some resources to promote good attendance and punctuality. Having these on display and giving out leaflets at events will show how important the attendance message is.
Competitions between year groups or classes can help raise attendance, displaying targets and celebrating success.
Support for your school
Multi Agency Support Team Attendance and Inclusion Officers (A&I) work with educational settings to support the attendance and punctuality work you do. Each primary and secondary school has a named A&I officer who will maintain regular contact, contactable whenever you need advice or support.
For Early Years settings we can offer advice and support for you to set up your attendance protocols, monitoring systems and provide ongoing support when you need us. A&I Officers can give advice around protocols, guidance and are available for any questions or clarifications around day to day practice. We will share good practice with you and offer ideas and suggestions to help monitor and intervene where necessary.
Within MAST, A&I Officers provide training and support to colleagues working with families when there are attendance concerns, and use consultation sessions to discuss individual pupils’ issues and help plan their approach.
A&I Officers with a social work qualification (A&I SWQ) lead on the legal aspect of working with attendance, from advice to schools and families through to legal action including Penalty Notice fines and prosecution in Magistrates’ Court in conjunction with the legal department of Sheffield City Council. They also support our Children Looked After (CLA) and are CLA champions in MAST.
Effective monitoring of attendance and punctuality assists with the early identification of pupil absence. Your named member of staff should check registers, monitor absence and contact parent/carers when there are concerns.
Examples of this early intervention are:
- first day calling
- home visits
- monitoring letters
- school meetings
If attendance and punctuality concerns continue despite offers of support it would be usual to consider a referral to MAST for allocation to a worker. You should be able to show what the issues are, that you have highlighted concerns to parents/carers and what has been tried.