Every half-day absence from school has to be recorded by the school as either authorised or unauthorised.This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required.
Authorised absences are time away from school for a good reason like illness (where a child is too ill to attend school), medical appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or observing a religious festival. Only the school has the authority to authorise an absence.
Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no ‘leave’ has been given. This type of absence can lead to the local authority using fines and/or legal proceedings.
If your child is absent and we do not hear from you we will:
● Call the numbers we have on file for you
● Call the emergency contacts you have given, if we cannot get through to you
● Visit your home if we cannot get in touch with anyone
● Refer to the Police if we cannot make contact. This is an important safeguarding duty.
Absence due to illness
Everyone is unwell at times and needs to stay at home to get better. If your child is absent due to illness you must tell the school as soon as possible. You should do this by calling the school office number, 020 83534290. You must call us on the first day of absence and any further days that your child is absent. It is important to do this every day so we know where your child is. You will need to explain details of any illness - telling us your child is ‘not feeling well' is not enough information.
We recognise that some of our pupils have medical conditions or disabilities that necessitate them having more than the average number of days off school. Where a pupil has no known diagnosis and misses many days due to sickness absence over a period of time, we may request medical evidence in order to authorise any further absence. We would always give plenty of warning, opportunities for discussion and support from other agencies where we can for families, before that decision is taken.
If it is possible, please arrange for medical appointments to be outside of school time. However, if this is not possible or if you have had to attend in an emergency, you must show evidence of your child's appointment. This can be an appointment card or letter, a prescription that has been issued on the day, a text message appointment reminder, or evidence that you called the surgery to speak to someone and take advice. We will never ask your GP to write a letter, or ask you to show us confidential medical records.
Secondary induction days/taster days/interviews/entrance examinations
These are most likely to happen during the autumn term, the beginning of the spring term, and towards the end of the summer term. Evidence of being registered for an exam and being invited for interview/induction, must be provided in order to authorise.
Holidays during term time
The policy of the school, the Trust, the local authority and the Government is to say no to holidays during term time. The school will not authorise any absence due to a family going on holiday. This includes arriving early to pick up your child on the last day of term or missing the first day of a new term, due to travel arrangements. If it has not been possible for you to return on time you will need evidence to prove why, for example proof that an airline has changed your flight time. We believe there is nothing more important than your child’s education and with 175 days of holiday and weekends, there is plenty of time to go on holiday without missing school. Taking an unauthorised holiday may result in a fine from the local authority.
Absences around a holiday period
We monitor very closely and it is always noted when a child is ill just before or just after a holiday period. If we suspect that you have gone on holiday you risk being issued with a fine by the local authority. We are very thorough in our checking, we will phone parents and carers and will expect to be able to get hold of you. We may also come to visit your home address.
Exceptional term time leave
This is when you need to take your child out of school during term time because you cannot avoid it.The Headteacher is the only person who can authorise exceptional leave. Requests should be made by completing an Exceptional Term Time Leave RequestForm - you can get this from the school office. Examples of exceptional leave are:
We recognise that there may be times where children of different faiths observe religious festivals that fall outside of school holidays and weekends, and will consider authorising absence for these times. This covers important events in the calendars of the six main world religions, such as Eid or Orthodox Christmas.We expect parents to be aware of these dates well in advance and to request absence ahead of time.
External educational opportunities
Some of our children take additional classes or study additional skills outside of their time at school. This is something the Belham greatly encourages. If time is needed to sit an exam for these activities, or appear in a public performance then this is considered to be special leave. Evidence of the date and time of the exam/trial, or a performance license, in the case of appearing in a public performance, will be needed in order to authorise.
Wedding or funeral of an immediate family member
Evidence must be provided, for example an invitation or order of service.
If you believe you have a very good reason to take your child out of school during term time, and it has not been listed above, please complete an Exceptional Term Time Leave Request Form giving full details.