Attendance Give your child the best start in life- every school day counts! Missing a few days of school here and there may not seem like a big deal, but research shows that it can have a significant impact on children’s learning. At Sir Alexander Fleming, our curriculum is sequential and progressive, which means that units consist of learning which build up over time. Due to the amount of knowledge children are expected to know by the end of each year, work missed is understandably hard to catch up on, which can then lead to gaps in children’s learning. Friendships can also be affected by persistent absence: it can be hard for a child who misses lots of school to form relationships with their classmates. Here at SAF, we work closely with parents to ensure that children are in school learning. Learning Key reasons why it is so important for children to attend school: To learn To have fun To make new friends To experience new things in life To develop awareness of other cultures, religion, ethnicity and gender differences To achieve To gain qualifications To develop new skills To build confidence and self-esteem To have the best possible start in life How can you help with your child’s attendance? Establish a good routine in the mornings and evenings so your child is prepared for the school day ahead Make sure your child goes to school regularly and follows the school rules Ensure your child arrives at school on time – not late (many children feel embarrassed when they go into their classroom late) Arrange dental and medical appointments outside school hours when possible Always inform the school if your child is absent due to illness – expect a courtesy phone call to check on your child at the end of the day Take family holidays outside term time Talk to your child about school and take an interest in their school work (including homework) Attend parent evenings Praise and reward your child’s achievements at school Discuss any problems or difficulties with the school – staff are there to help and will be supportive Is my child too ill for school? When your child is unwell, it can be hard deciding whether to keep them off school. These simple guidelines should help. Not every illness needs to keep your child from school. If you keep your child away from school, be sure to inform the school on the first day of their absence. Use common sense when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. Ask yourself the following questions. Is my child well enough to do the activities of the school day? Does my child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff? Would I take a day off work if I had this condition? Common conditions If your child is ill, it’s likely to be due to one of a few minor health conditions. Whether you send your child to school will depend on how severe you think the illness is. Use this guidance to help you make that judgement. Remember: if you’re concerned about your child’s health, consult a health professional. Cough and cold. A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by a raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay off school, visit the GP and return to school 24 hours after they start to feel better. If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, consult your GP. Raised temperature. If your child has a raised temperature, they should not attend school. They can return 24 hours after they start to feel better. Rash. Skin rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions should not attend school. If your child has a rash, check with your GP or practice nurse before sending them to school. Headache. A child with a minor headache does not usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep the child off school and consult your GP. Vomiting and diarrhoea. Children with diarrhoea and/or vomiting should definitely be kept off school until at least 24 hours after their symptoms have gone. Most cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in children get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, consult your GP. Sore throat. A sore throat alone does not have to keep a child from school. But if it’s accompanied by a raised temperature, your child should stay at home. Chickenpox. If your child has chickenpox, keep them off school until all their spots have crusted over. How we monitor attendance We monitor attendance on a daily, weekly, termly and yearly basis. Our Educational Welfare Officer, Mrs O’Donnell, is relentless in her strive for all children to be in school receiving a quality education and having the best chance in life. We recognise there can be relationships between poor attendance and behaviour, which we closely monitor. We understand that there may be genuine reasons why your child is absent from school, but where there are not, we encourage all children to attend school every day. Please speak to a member of the office or pastoral team with any questions or concerns regarding attendance. Something to think about… 90% may seem like an acceptable level of attendance but in reality, this level of attendance means that your child will miss half a school day each week or 19 days of school during a year – that’s nearly 4 weeks!