Melbourne Avenue, Whitfield, Dover, Kent, CT16 2EG
Learning to believe, learning to succeed.
Absence & Attendance:

Dover Christ Church Academy recognises that regular attendance is crucial if children are to achieve their potential. Research has identified a clear link between excellent attendance and a student’s overall progress and attainment, and is the reason why we will continue to maintain high expectations around attendance for all our students.

All students must make every effort to attend the Academy every day. However we accept that sometimes a student may become ill or have another genuine reasons for absence. Therefore we aim to ensure that no students’ attendance falls below 97%. If you are absent the Academy must be notified on the first day. Please note that the Academy will not authorise holidays taken during term times.

All pupils to aim to achieve 100% attendance and cannot have attendance less than 97% in any half term period.

Strategies for Promoting Attendance:
The academy rewards good attendance in celebration assemblies, with certificates and reward trips. The academy works with parents to support regular attendance. This is achieved by communicating early about issues and acknowledging positive improvements. Alongside this, the Head of Year and Pastoral Support Managers are another point of contact within the academy.

Attendance Team:
The academy’s Attendance Team are able to meet with parents/carers and students to discuss attendance concerns. This includes where parents/carers are finding it difficult to get their child into the academy each day. Attendance Team are also willing to carry out home visits in order to support the improvement of attendance.

15 Day Challenge:
The Academy have designed a 15 day challenge to try and engage the student to support themselves in improving a problem with using 15 days to try to get it right.

Attendance contracts:
The Academy may request parents and students to complete an attendance contract. This is a supportive measure that outlines the barriers to a student’s attendance, improvement targets for future attendance and what support the Academy will offer. Whist attendance contracts will be required for any student with below 90% attendance, this can be put in place at any stage in order to support a student’s attendance.

Home visits:
The Academy’s Attendance Team will carry out home visits, which may be pre-arranged or unannounced depending on the reason for the visit. In addition, parents with disabilities or any other barrier to them being able to come into the Academy, can request a home visit in respect of advice around improving their child’s attendance.

School Attendance Meetings (SAMs):
The Academy makes use of attendance panel meetings with students and/or parents/carers and Year Heads/PSMs and/or AVP: Inclusion. These are supportive meetings where barriers to attendance and punctuality are raised and informal discussions about required improvements are undertaken.

Individual Health Care Plans:
An Individual healthcare plan (IHP) can be put in place to support students with a temporary or long-term medical condition. This is written by either the Attendance Team or SENCO with input from the parent/carers. The aim of the IHP is to ensure appropriate support and adjustments are implemented to ensure that an ongoing medical condition does not present a barrier to attendance.

Referrals to external support agencies:
Where the Academy believe that internal support strategies have failed to bring out about the necessary improvement to a student’s attendance it may be necessary to make a referral to an external support agency such as social care or Early Help.

Fast Track Referral to LA:
Where Academy intervention and support have failed to bring about the necessary impact, the Academy may refer to the Local Authority in order to implement a Fast Track to Attendance strategy. This is a formal plan to address a student’s persistent absence from the Academy.

Attendance Monitoring:
  • The attendance officer monitors student absence on a daily basis.

  • Parents/carers are expected to call the Academy in the morning if their child is going to be absent due to ill health.

  • Parents/carers are expected to call the Academy at the start of every day that their child is ill.

  • If a student’s absence goes above 5 days we will contact the parents to discuss the reasons for this.

  • If after contacting parents/carers a student’s absence continue to rise, we will consider involving Early Help and the School Liaison Officer.

The persistent absence threshold is 10%. If a student's individual overall absence rate is greater than or equal to 10%, the student will be classified as a persistent absentee.

Student-level absence data is collected each term and published at national and local authority level through the DfE's Academy absence national statistics releases. The underlying academy-level absence data is published alongside the national statistics. We compare our attendance data to the national average, and share this with academy’s Board of Trustees.

The academy collects and stores attendance data, and uses it internally, for example, to track the attendance of individual students, identify whether or not there are particular groups of children whose absences may be a cause for concern, monitor and evaluate those children identified as being in need of intervention and support.

What is ‘persistent absence’?
If your child takes too much time off school they will become categorised as persistently absent.
  • A child with attendance below 90% is classed as being “persistently absent”, schools are expected to act to address this area of concern.

  • Missing school will make your child fall behind in lessons and will impact on their academic progress and achievement.

  • Don’t allow your child to become a persistently absent (PA) student.

All matters of unauthorised absence will be referred to the Attendance Service at Kent County Council

Penalty Notices are issued to each parent for each child who is absent without the agreement of the Principal. Penalty Notices carry a fine of £60 per parent, per child, if paid within 21 days increasing to £120 per parent, per child, if paid between 22-28 days. There is no right of appeal against the issuing of a Penalty Notice because the authorisation of absence is the sole responsibility of the Principal.

Where Penalty Notice(s) are unpaid, the Local Authority may consider taking legal action under Section 444(1) Education Act 1996 for failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at school.

If this happens, the case will take place before magistrates who could issue the maximum fine of £1000 per parent per child for this offence. Parents/carers are asked to respect the new regulations under which the school must work and if there is a need to take a child out of school during term-time, an application or request must be made in advance and make clear how the circumstances are exceptional.

Should your child’s attendance fall to below 96%, we will send a letter informing you of our concerns. If further absences occur, we will send an additional letter asking for medical evidence to be supplied to Mrs Cloves in order for any further absences to be authorised. This can be in the form of an appointment card, prescription or medical letter.

Unauthorised absences can lead to more formal legal monitoring and you could be at risk of being issued a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Should your child’s attendance fall below 94%, you may be invited into school so we can support you in improving your child’s attendance. We are committed to working in partnership with parents and carers to ensure students’ have the best possible chance of achieving their full potential.

Every lesson counts:
Attending school has a huge impact on your child’s academic success starting from reception all the way through to Year 11 and into the Sixth Form. Families play a vital role in making sure that their children get to school safely, regularly and on time. Here are some useful tips to help you.

Improving your child’s attendance:
We need our children to attend school so they can receive the support and guidance that they need to thrive academically. However, there may be that can make it hard for students to take advantage of the chance to learn at school. The good news is as a parent/carer you’re in the driver seat. You make a considerable difference in whether your child gets to school every day.

  • Help your child understand why going to school everyday matters. Discuss what they’re missing out on and how showing up to school every day is an important skill that will help them become successful in life.

  • Create attendance goals with your child and track their progress in a notebook or calendar. Also, you can try giving them small rewards for attending school on time, every day.

  • Make attendance a priority by giving your children regular bedtimes. For older children make sure they understand the connection between school success and chronic absenteeism.

  • Discuss any concerns you have about your child’s attendance with our Attendance Improvement Officer.

  • Work with other people in your network to reduce common barriers to your child’s attendance, such as the absence of reliable transportation or long-term health problems.

We monitor attendance to identify potential concerns at an early stage. When a concern is identified, we will contact parents and carers to seek their assistance. We have been successful in improving attendance by allocating resources to provide dedicated support to pupils and their families who struggle to engage with education. However, there are instances when, despite using a range of intervention strategies to support them, the pupil will still struggle with attendance.

When we are unable to resolve an attendance issue and are concerned or attendance has reduced to below 90%, we will seek support from the Local Authority. The Local Authority has a dedicated School Liaison Officer (SLO) who helps young people of school age and their families to get the best out of the education system. Its aim is to promote a culture of regular attendance at school.

The SLO has service level agreements with every school and each school has a dedicated SLO. SLOs work proactively with schools to raise awareness of attendance issues using agreed strategies for example, whole school assemblies, information sessions for parents/teaching staff on the role of SLO.

Always make school a priority:
  • Only make doctor, dentist or optician appointment during school time if it is absolutely necessary.

  • If you do need to make an appointment in school time, try to ensure that your child misses as little of school as possible.

  • We know that travel companies don’t make it easy for families but never book a holiday during term time (it won’t be authorised, your child will fall behind and you may be fined).

  • Don’t allow your child to stay off school to make things easier for yourself – this is against the law.

  • Don’t allow your child to miss school on Mondays and Fridays if you are going away for the weekend.

  • Don’t allow your child to take a day off because of the weather.

  • Don’t allow your child to take a day off for their birthday – this is unnecessary and does not prepare them for adult life.

Help your child to stay on track:
  • Find out if your child is coping with their work and if they are up to date – missing school will make them fall behind.

  • Check your child’s attendance with the academy – you might not realise how much school they have missed.

  • Encourage your child to stay after school to attend home learning clubs, booster sessions and extra lessons whenever they are offered.

  • If your child forgets their home learning, PE kit, stationery etc. or is not in correct uniform, it will cause problems for them at school – please help your child become organised at home.

Key Attendance Points:

  1. All students should be in the Academy for 8:40am each day ready for registration at 8:50 am.

  2. If your child is absent from the Academy you should telephone or make contact with the Attendance Officer, Mrs Cloves, as early as possible with a reason.

  3. The Academy has the right to request medical evidence as proof of illness / appointments. If requested and you are unable to produce these, absences may be unauthorised and a fine may be issued.

  4. No holidays will be authorised unless in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the Principal. All requests for such absences must be made to the Principal in writing. Fines will be issued for all unauthorised holidays. Whilst we recognise that it is not always possible, please try to ensure that all medical and dental appointments are made so that they take place outside normal school hours.

If your son or daughter is unable to attend school please let us know as soon as possible as all unexplained absence will be followed up by a call from the academy.

If you wish to speak with the Attendance Officer, Mrs D Cloves, telephone the academy on 01304 820126 and follow the menu option select Option1 - attendance. Alternatively you can email the Attendance Officer directly:

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Every Day Matters

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Learning to believe, learning to succeed.