Students who do not come to school are, not surprisingly, not very successful at school. That is why in countries throughout the world it is a serious problem if children do not go to school. In England, at the moment, an attendance of less than 85% will see your child referred to the authority in charge of education. If a parent is found to be supporting their child in not going to school, then it is against the law. And there are only two ways in which a child is allowed to miss school. They are if the child is too ill to attend or if the parents have got permission from the school beforehand.
Lateness is a similar problem. Though we are sympathetic at the school to those students who have to get up very early in the morning to get to school, we cannot support it. By being late, a student not only misses the essential part of a lesson (the beginning), they also disrupt the other students when they go into class.
I have heard some comments from parents that they are happy for their children to be late for school or even miss school if it makes their children happy. I’m afraid this is a rather short-term view of happiness. I might choose to stay in bed tomorrow, which might make me feel very happy… but I won’t be happy when I get into work and realise the amount of work that I have to catch up. Students can very quickly get into a situation where they have lost control of their learning.
The school cares about your child. We want to give them the best possible chance in life – to achieve their potential and to realise their dreams. That is why we are going to get tougher on absence and lateness. Those who are late are going to be in detention more often. Those who are absent for more than 10% of the school year will be subject to review. If their absence has affected their education seriously, they may be asked to repeat the year.
By Mr Charles Barrow, Deputy Head Secondary