Good punctuality at school is essential for students to achieve their full educational potential. It is also vital for students to form good habits for later life. Punctuality records form part of references passed onto employers or higher educational institutes.
All students are expected to arrive punctually for school in the morning and to arrive punctually for each lesson. A register is taken at the start of the day and during each lesson. Students arriving late are recorded as thus on the register, along with how many minutes late they are.
Lateness to school
According to DfE guidelines, registers must be closed after a certain time in the morning. Therefore, if a student arrives after 9.15am, they cannot receive a late mark but have to be marked as absent for the whole morning session. If the lateness is due to a legitimate reason e.g. a medical appointment, the absence can be authorised. Otherwise, the session is marked as an unauthorised absence. A letter is sent home to parents informing them 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.
The School’s Support for Good Punctuality
We place a strong emphasis on good punctuality; we support this by:-
- Giving sanctions to students who arrive late to school or lessons.
- Informing parents, by automated call, if their child arrives late for school.
- Awarding tutor points to tutor groups where all students have arrived punctually over a period of time.
- Senior staff patrolling the local shops first thing in the morning to encourage students not to loiter in these areas and make themselves late.
- Sending attendance records home to parents each term so that parents can monitor any lateness.
- Addressing issues of poor time keeping with individual students and their parents.
Parents’/Carers' Support for Good Punctuality
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 departure in the morning.
- Discussing any issues of lateness 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.
Parents and Carers: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
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 9.15am, 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 has to 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 can not 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 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 bus is late, they will still arrive on time. If the bus is sometimes late, then it is not a reliable way to ensure arrival in good 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 would be one such example.
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?
Much of our attendance policy is designed to satisfy DfE regulation 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, whilst any such policy is in place, the school will operate as stated.