The Durham Federation recognises the vital role good attendance plays in a student’s college life and academic achievement. We expect all students to attend college regularly and punctually in order to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them. The continuity of regular attendance will enable a student to progress in a structured and progressive manner and so achieve their individual goals.
The college day begins at 9.00 a.m. and finishes at 2.15 p.m. on a Monday (only) and 3.05 pm Tuesdays – Fridays.
Punctuality is vitally important if students are to succeed. Punctual students are happier and more successful in their education. They are laying the foundations for success and happiness in the future. Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring that their children arrive in college on time. Students should not attend before 8.30 am as this is when staff start duty.
We understand that, on occasions, there may be unavoidable reasons for your son’s/daughter’s absence. You should notify the college by 8.30 a.m. on each day of your son’s/daughter’s absence. You can leave a message regarding absence by telephoning the main college number 0191 3730336 (Ushaw Moor) or 0191 3710277 (Sacriston). In the event that your son’s/daughter’s absence is likely to be prolonged please contact the Attendance Officer.
Durham Federation works in conjunction with the Attendance Improvement Team to support students to achieve good attendance and Durham Federation has a minimum target of 96% attendance for every student, anything below this will be closely monitored.
Persistent absenteeism is a Government initiative to improve schools’ overall attendance. It is a method of early intervention to help identify students who may have attendance concerns. This is to make sure they receive the help and support necessary to allow the best opportunities in life. In December 2014, The Department for Education formally announced that the threshold for Persistent Absence would reduce form 15% absence (85% attendance) to 10% absence (90% attendance) from September 2015. Parents/Carers of compulsory school age children who fail in their duty to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school commit an offence under S4444 of the Education Act 1996. Schools have a responsibility to inform parents/carers if their child falls into the category of Persistent Absenteeism. Any students who has a minimum of 14 Unauthorised Absence sessions (7 days) in a maximum 12 rolling school week period will be classed as a Persistent Absentee, regardless of the reason and the Attendance Officer will inform the School Attendance Improvement Team for Support. Irregular school attendance may have a serious impact on your son’s/daughter’s academic progress and you as parent/carer are legally responsible to ensure that his/her regular and punctual attendance is maintained.
Requesting Leave of Absence
Amendments to the 2006 school attendance regulations came into force on 1 September 2013. The amendments make it clear that a Headteacher may not grant any leave of absence during term-time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Requests for leave of absence should be made in writing to the Head of College/Principal at least one month in advance. A Leave of Absence request form is available to download here. Copies are also available to collect from Main Reception.
Children who are taken out of college often never catch up on work they have missed. This affects test results and can be particularly harmful if your son/daughter is studying for examinations. Some children also find it very hard to renew or keep up friendships with their classmates.
Further information and guidance regarding requests for leave of absence during term time is available from Durham County Council.
To request a copy of the school’s Attendance Policy please do not hesitate to contact the college.
Holidays in Term Time
In July 2012, Charlie Taylor (the Government’s expert advisor on behaviour at the time) was asked by Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Education) to conduct a review of school attendance. Mr Taylor stated in his report that if students are taken away for a two week holiday every year and have an average number of days off for sickness and appointments, then by the time they leave at sixteen they will have missed a year of school.
There has since been a change in the law concerning term time leave of absence. From 1st September 2013, Head Teachers are not able to grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances. Where leave is granted, Head Teachers must decide the number of school days a student can be away from school.
If you wish to make an application for your son’s/daughter’s term time leave of absence, you must fill out an application form, which can be requested from school. You should also write a letter which outlines the reasons why you feel your application for leave of absence during term time should be regarded as ‘exceptional’. Following the submission of your application, you will be notified as soon as possible of the college’s decision. It should be noted that weddings and family events are not classed as special or exceptional circumstance.
Parents/ Carers should be aware that if you take leave of absence during term time without making prior application to the college, or if you make an application but your requested leave of absence is not authorised and still take the students out of college, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. Similarly, if you keep your son/daughter away from college for longer than agreed/authorised, the excess absence will be recorded as unauthorised.
Unauthorised absences on your son’s/daughter’s attendance record may mean that you are liable to incur a Fixed Penalty notice (fine) or could face prosecution. A Fine will be issued to each person with parental responsibility for the student/students who is deemed liable for the offence/offences.
Therefore, we ask parent/carers to be aware of the following when requesting holiday absence:
- 1. It is granted entirely at the school’s discretion. You do not have a right to holiday leave for your son/daughter.
- 2. Decisions will be made in the best interest of the young person’s long-term future.
- 3. The decision will be made on an individual basis, using our published guidelines. Our decision might differ depending on the circumstances.
- 4. We do not permit weekly absence for religious observance. Prayer facilities can be made available in college, if required.
- 5. The fact that a holiday has been bought by another family member or as a gift will not affect our decision.