Good punctuality at school is essential for students to achieve their full educational potential. It is also vital for students so that they form good habits for later life. Punctuality records form part of the references that we provide to employers or higher educational institutes.
All students are expected to arrive punctually to the Birley Academy in the morning and to arrive punctually for each lesson. A register is taken at the start of each day and at the start of each lesson. Students arriving late are recorded as thus on the register.
DfE guidelines state that schools must close the register after a certain time in the morning. Therefore, at the Birley Academy, if a student arrives after 9.10am, they cannot receive a late mark and must be marked as absent for the entirety of the morning session.
If the lateness is due to a legitimate reason, for example, a medical appointment, the absence can be authorised. Otherwise, the session is marked as an unauthorised absence. Parents should take not of this and the fact that they could be liable for a fixed penalty notice if the child receives 10 or more unauthorised absence sessions.
At Birley Academy, we place a strong emphasis on good punctuality; we support this by:-
- Giving sanctions to students who arrive late to school or late to lessons.
- Informing parents, by automated text/call, if their child arrives late for school.
- Tutors / teachers award Ready points to students who have arrived punctually.
- Senior staff patrolling the tram stops and local area first thing in the morning to encourage students not to loiter in these areas and make themselves late.
- Sending attendance and punctuality records home to parents each term so that parents can monitor this.
- Addressing issues of poor time keeping with individual students and their parents.
We would ask parents to support us in maintaining good punctuality by:
- Ensuring that their children get up in plenty of time to be ready and prepared for school.
- Ensuring their child has organised their bag and equipment the night before so that this does not delay their departure in the morning.
- Discussing any issues of lateness with their child to ensure this does not become a habit.
- Monitoring their child’s attendance record when it is sent home and looking for patterns of lateness. These will be marked as ‘L’ on the attendance record.
- Why has my child been marked as absent for the whole morning when they arrived at 9.30am?
As stated above, DfE guidelines state that the register must be closed after a reasonable time in the morning. If arriving after 9.10am, a child will be marked as an unauthorised absence for the morning session.
- Could I receive a fine if my child is persistently late?
If your child receives 10 or more unauthorised absences, you could be issued with a fixed penalty notice. This is £50 per parent if paid within 28 days, rising to £100 thereafter.
- My child was only a couple of minutes late. It seems harsh that he/she should get a late mark.
The school must abide by the rules and expectations laid down for all schools. Lateness for school (or work) is a failure to arrive on time and will be marked as such. We would encourage students to set off in good time so that any small delay does not cause them to be late.
- Our whole family overslept, and it is not my child’s fault that he/she is late. Will they receive a late mark?
This cannot be taken as an acceptable reason for lateness so a late mark or unauthorised absence would be recorded, depending on the time of arrival.
- My child has to catch the tram/bus to school which is sometimes late. Will they receive a late mark?
Any lateness is recorded as thus on the register. We would advise that the child leaves earlier so that even if the tram or bus is late, they will still arrive on time. If the tram or bus is late, then it is not a reliable way to ensure arrival in good time. We have placed the tram timetable on our website and highlighted which trams will get your child to school on time.
- Would you make any allowances for lateness if, for example, there were major traffic problems in the area perhaps because of an accident, so my car/the bus was unavoidably stuck in traffic?
The school cannot make allowances for the individual problem (however genuine it may be). However, it does make allowances when there are known reported major problems that effect a large number of people; very heavy snowfall or widespread major flooding would be examples.
- What if I phone up/email to say my child is going to be late? Would he/she still get a late mark?
Yes, they would still be marked late, but it is very helpful to know that you are aware and for us to know the expected time of arrival and reason for lateness.
- If I know my child is going to be late, do I need to ring/send in a note?
It is very helpful if you do this. If your child is very late, they will be marked as unauthorised absence, and your note may give an alternative acceptable reason to allow us to authorise the absence.
- What do I do if I don’t agree with your policy on punctuality?
Our attendance policy is designed to satisfy DfE regulations, but as always, if you feel an approach is unfair or unreasonable, then you can write to the Headteacher and/or Governing Body asking for a review. However, while any such policy is in place, the school will operate as stated.