At Rainford, our school ethos is:
We expect our community to be polite and respectful
We expect our community to make sensible choices
We expect our community to work hard
Our attendance target is 97% because we want all of our students to achieve their full potential. We want every student to attend Rainford to learn and thrive.
Please read this page to learn more about attendance, how we support this and how are trying to improve the attendance of students at Rainford.
What is good attendance?
There is sometimes a perception that an attendance rate of 90% is good. This is because an examination score of 90% means excellence. However, as an attendance rate, 90% is unsatisfactory, it equates to missing 20 days per year. We consider below 92% as approaching persistent absence. The whole school attendance target this year is 97%.
Why might the impact of poor attendance be on your child?
Government research shows that students who have less than 90% attendance (20 or more days missed in a year) achieve, on average, a whole grade lower than expected in examinations. There is a link between the number of days a child is absent and their average earnings in later life. A child is not in school 175 days a year – plenty of time to go shopping, take holidays, visit family or attend routine appointments.
Having good attendance is not all about attainment; your child is also developing essential social skills which will benefit them in their future endeavours. Research has shown that children who are not in school are most vulnerable and are easily drawn into crime. Those children who play truant are more likely to offend that those who do not.
A parent/carer has a legal responsibility to ensure that his/her child attends school regularly.
Why is good attendance important?
Every lesson really does count for your child, children can quickly fall behind if even one day is missed, catching up even a little lost time from school can be really difficult. Good attendance is linked to achievement, better relationships with other children and better overall behaviour in school. Good attendance is not just about what happens in school, absences when your child is young can limit their future opportunities and set up bad habits for work and life. As parents and school we need to support our children in maximizing their achievements. Good attendance helps reduce the risk of your child becoming a victim of crime or abuse and reduces the risk of your child being drawn into anti-social behaviour.
How can you support and encourage our child to have excellent attendance and punctuality?
Ensure your child is fully prepared for school each day, organise your child’s school uniform and encourage your child to check they have the correct. equipment, homework and PE kit the night before.
- Ensure you child attends school every day and arrives on time, in order to keep up with school work.
- Show your child that you think school is very important.
- Praise your child’s achievements.
- Get them into good habits early on.
- Recognise that children can get into bad habits from an early age and that these are hard to break later.
- Attend any meetings in school to which you are invited.
- Let the school know as soon as there are any problems or changes.
- Do not keep your child at home if your child is worried or has a problem, e.g. bullying. The best way to support your child is to ask for a meeting in school to explain any difficulties and to address problems. The more time your child is absent from school, the harder it will be for them to return.
- Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep and wakes up in good time for the school day, arriving no later than by 8.25am.
- Organise non-urgent medical appointments outside of school time.
- Take time to talk to your child about what they have done in school.
- Contact the school at the first opportunity if your child is genuinely ill or is unable to attend.
- Talk to someone at the school if there is a problem or reason why your child finds it difficult to attend regularly.
Excellent attendance gives your child a better opportunity to:
- make new friends;
- learn and enjoy new experiences;
- develop skills that you will need in later life;
- take part in a wide range of activities in and outside of Rainford;
- learn how to look after themselves and encourage independence;
- feel safe and listened to;
- improve their chances of having a good career or life chances;
- make a positive contribution to the Rainford community.
The importance of punctuality
Whilst overall our pupils arrive at school on time, we can still have a small number of pupils who can arrive late to school. Parents may not be aware of the difficulties experienced by children even when they are only a few minutes late each day.
A few important points to remember:
- Being late to school reduces learning time.
- 10 minutes late a day = almost a whole hour of lessons missed each week, over the school year this equates to 2 whole weeks.
- Your child will miss his/her teacher’s announcements for the day, given out in tutor time or lesson.
- Arriving late to their tutor time or lesson causes disruption to the whole class as well as to your child.
- Children are often very embarrassed and upset at coming into class late.
- Your child will receive a lunchtime standards detention if they are late to school.
In all cases of absence, parents should:
- Contact the absence line to report an absence.
- Keep school informed if more than one day’s absence is necessary.
- Avoid medical appointments in school time, but if necessary please bring your child into school first and return after the appointment.
- Only keep your child away from school if really necessary. Please consider sending them in, and if necessary – we can send them home.
Tel: 01744 885914
Dental & Medical Treatments
Whilst the school will grant requests for absence for dental and medical treatments, parents/carers are encouraged, whenever possible, to book medical and dental appointments outside of the school day. When appointments during school hours are unavoidable, school should be notified in advance in writing, of the date and time of the appointment and when the child will be collected. It is expected that the child will return to school after any appointment if before 2.15pm. Evidence of the appointment will be requested
Leave of absence/Holidays
As a school, it is disappointing when parents decide to take students on holiday during term time as this removes them from the learning that their peers are receiving. Parents are not permitted to take their children on holiday out of school, during term time, without permission from the Principal. In September 2013, government guidelines advise that no absence should be authorised in advance except when due to ‘exceptional circumstances’. They will be marked as unauthorised holidays. All exceptional cases need to be discussed with the Principal and requests should be made in writing at least 28 days before.
If your child is taken on holiday, then the below will apply:
- They will not be allowed to go on any rewards trips or events for 365 days after their first day of return.
- They will be required to attend catch-up club for the same number of consecutive days as they have missed due to the holiday E.g. 5 days off school due to holiday results in 5 catch-up clubs.
- Parents may receive a fine for the holiday taken for each parent per child.
- If a student in Year 11 goes on holiday, then they will not be allowed to go to prom.
What happens if your child does not attend school regularly?
- You will be contacted by the Attendance/Pastoral Leaders.
- You may be invited to attend a meeting in school to discuss how we can work together to improve your child’s attendance and to set up an attendance support plan.
- If your child’s attendance does not improve, school will look to initiate Early Help through St Helens EHARTS or equivalent depending on your home authority, which could lead to school referring to the Local Authority.
- As a school, we are responsible by law for reporting poor attendance to the local authority.
- As a parent, you are committing an offence if you fail to make sure that your child attends school regularly.
- You run the risk of being issued with a penalty notice or being taken to court.
- A child who has an attendance figure of 90% or below is now classed by the government as ‘a child with persistent absence’.
- If attendance continues to be a concern without improvement, then you will be invited to attend an attendance panel meeting with the trustees.
What is persistent absence?
A pupil is defined as a ‘Persistent Absentee’ if they miss approximately 10% or more of all possible school sessions (attendance of 90% or below), regardless of whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised.
Your child is regarded as approaching persistent absence if their attendance below 92%. If their attendance is below 92% then they will be ineligible for rewards trips unless there are exceptional circumstances, which will be reviewed individually.
What is Catch-up club?
Catch-up club is a compulsory after school club for students, who meet the criteria in the next section, to catch up on work missed due to absence. It is based in the school library and runs from 3:15 – 4:30pm.
In the catch-up club your child will have access to:
- the full library resources;
- computers for appropriate work;
- academic text books;
- catch-up support booklets;
- pastoral staff, librarian and teaching assistants.
Therefore, your child will have access to materials to support them in catching up. Your child is responsible for bringing their work to this session. They will need to ask their teacher for the work they have missed, but there are resources in the catch-up club to support this if they don’t manage to see their staff.
Who is catch-up club compulsory for?
We encourage all students who have been absent to attend catch-up club after they return, but it is compulsory for the below:
- All students who take an absence that is marked as unauthorised.
- All students who have attendance of below 92% at the point of absence (or those that drop below this during their absence), as they are at risk of underperformance/falling behind their peers.
- All students who had an attendance of 92% or below in the last academic year (meaning they were regarded as having persistent absence).
- All students who have been on holiday.
- All students who have been absent due to an exclusion.
- All students who arrive considerably late to school and receive an absence late mark of the morning (after 10:30am).
Please note that if we are not given a reason for absence then we will automatically mark it as unauthorised.
Absences due to common colds and sore throats will be marked as unauthorised. We understand that children are sometimes too ill to attend school, but we expect students to attend if they have coughs, colds and sore throats.
Students who fall into one of these criteria will be required to attend catch-up club for the same number of nights as they were absent. E.g. if they were absent for 3 unauthorised days, then they are required to attend 3 consecutive catch-up clubs. This equates to 3 hours and 45 minutes focused time spent catching up on 15 hours of missed work. These will always take priority over detentions, whereby the after school detentions will continue after the catch-up clubs have finished.
If you take your child on holiday for 5 school days, then they will be required to stay for 5 catch-up clubs etc. to focus on the 25 hours of missed work.
This will help your child keep up with their peers.
EDUCATIONAL PENALTY NOTICES
Under the Education Act 1996, parents and carers have a duty to make sure their children regularly attend school. If parents or carers fail to do this, they can be prosecuted.
Working within a Code of Conduct the Local Authority can issue a penalty notice to parents or carers if a child has missed a number of sessions without permission from the school.
If your child falls within one or more of these categories within a 12-week period:
- 10 sessions (5 days) of unauthorised absence with under 90% attendance;
- 20 sessions (10 days) of unauthorised absence;
- Persistently arrives late for school after the close of registration.
you could receive a Penalty Notice of £60 which will increase to £120 if not paid within 21 days. The Penalty Notice will need to be paid in full before 28 days of the notice being served. Failure to pay a penalty notice may result in prosecution (a separate penalty notice may be issued to each parent, and in some cases, grandparents and stepparents, if they are responsible for any part of the child’s care – for each child).
For any further information, please refer to the St Helens Education Penalty Notice Code of Conduct.
Further information or questions
If you require any further information, please contact:
Mr Kenyon (Assistant Principal)
Rewarding Positive Attendance
To encourage all students to maintain a high level of attendance and to promote positive competition between forms in each year group, the following reward system will be established:
- the attendance of all forms will be monitored on a weekly basis;
- weekly attendance graphs, with targets, will be displayed in form rooms;
- a prize will be presented each term to the form with the best overall attendance in each year group;
- students in Years 7 to 10 with 97% or above attendance will be invited to the Annual School Rewards trip. In Year 11 students with 97% or above will be invited to prom (along with other criteria and as long as they haven’t been on holiday);
- Students with a 100% attendance at the end of summer term will receive an individual certificate and be entered into a prize draw;
- every week students will compare their current attendance to their attendance at the same last year and they will see what their current attendance award is;
- every half-term, your child will be informed what attendance award they are currently achieving. The award categories are shown below:
For further details please download our Attendance Policy here.