William Murdoch Primary School works hard to ensure that all pupils reach their potential and attendance and punctuality is key to achieving this. Meeting our ambitious school target of 97% attendance during the academic year will help to ensure pupils do not miss key learning opportunities and are able to make good progress as a result. To reach this target pupils cannot miss more than 5 days during an academic year. We therefore regularly monitor the attendance of all of our pupils. Where the attendance of individual pupils becomes a concern, we will endeavour to work as closely with parents as possible to find solutions and a positive way forward.

The school policy closely follows the Department for Education (DFE) and Local Authority (LA) policies and guidelines for attendance. All pupils are expected to attend every day unless there is an ‘authorised’ reason for absence.

Authorised Absence – Please telephone the school as soon as possible to let us know if your child is unwell and not able to attend school. This will prevent any unnecessary action by the Education Welfare Service.

Unauthorised Absence – Any absence judged to be unauthorised would be referred to the Educational Welfare Service and, in line with the Government’s Behaviour and Attendance Act, parents/carers may be served with a penalty notice ranging from £50 to £100 if they are capable but unwilling to secure an improvement in their child’s school attendance.

Persistent Absence – Since September 2015 the DfE has defined persistent absence as the attendance of a particular pupil which falls below 90%. Therefore, if a pupil misses 19 or more days over an academic year, they will be classed as ‘Persistently Absent’ regardless of the absence being authorised or unauthorised. If a pupil becomes persistently absent, parents will be contacted for a meeting with the Pastoral Manager/Designated Safeguarding Lead to discuss the pupil’s lack of attendance and further disciplinary action may be taken.

Leave of Absence – In exceptional circumstances the Headteacher may authorise a leave of absence. A home/school contract stating the date of return must be agreed and signed by the parent/carer and Headteacher. If a child fails to return by the agreed date they may lose their school place.

It is school policy that “holidays in school term time are not allowed”. Parents/Carers who take their children out of school during school time risk losing their child’s place at the school and may be taken to court.

Appointments – Whenever possible dental and medical appointments should be made outside school hours. If this is not possible, parents/carers should provide either a letter or an appointment card for school records. If your child does need to leave school to attend an appointment or for any other reason during school hours, they must be collected from reception by a parent/carer and signed out. If you delegate anyone else with this responsibility you must inform the school prior to their collection. Should school have any concerns they may refuse collection.

William Murdoch Primary School operates a ‘soft start’ to the school day with doors opening for pupils at 8.40am every morning. All pupils must be in school by 8.50am which is the official start of the school day. Being on time every day is vitally important as it ensures pupils do not miss important learning.

Pupils who arrive after the doors close at 8.50am will need to enter school via the main school entrance and sign in using the InVentry machine by the school office.

Collection of Pupils after School
Pupils MUST be collected from school promptly at 3.20pm, unless they attend an after- school club. Failure to do this means children are potentially put at risk as they are not being constantly supervised. Social Services deem this persistent lateness to collect children as neglect of parental responsibilities. If late collection persists, we will have no alternative but to involve Social Services in order to deal with the matter.

If your child attends an after-school club, they should be collected promptly at 4.30pm from the Upper School hall. If pupils are not collected from after-school clubs on time, they may have that privilege withdrawn.

Pupils who are in Nursery to Year 4 must only be collected by a parent or other individuals whose name is recorded on the Pupil Information Form (which is sent to parents at the beginning of each academic year to be updated) unless alternative arrangements have been made with the school office. No pupil will be permitted to go home with anyone under the age of 16, including siblings who attend William Murdoch Primary School. Year 5 and 6 pupils may go home alone if permission has been sought by parents and agreed by school. Parents who wish for their child to go home alone must go to the school office to complete the relevant form, which will be assessed in school to decide if permission will be granted or not.