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Absences during term time

Covid-19 Procedures

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Attendance and Wellbeing Service are working with schools and other educational settings via Wellbeing Response Visits. Referrals will be accepted where there is little or no contact between families and their school/setting.

Wellbeing Response Visits are door knock visits to learners and their families. These visits adhere to the latest Public Health Wales guidance including social distancing and hand cleanliness. An Attendance and Wellbeing Officer will carry ID and identify themselves to you and will remain outdoors at all points. The officer may request to see the children at a safe distance to ensure that they are safe and well. They will also discuss with you any barriers you and your family are facing toward education and this will be fed back to the school. Visits are intended to ensure the wellbeing of learners and their families.

We are also now looking at a small number of cases where there is entrenched absences which may result, as a last resort, with statutory powers being implemented in line with the latest Welsh Government guidance.

We would encourage all families to maintain good communication with your school to prevent the need for a visit as attendance at school remains compulsory for those on roll and we appreciate you cooperating with us at this time.

You (parents/carers) do not have the automatic right to withdraw pupils from school during term time; all requests for leave must be approved by the head teacher prior to the absence.

Occasional days off/parental condoned absences

We expect you to make sure that your child attends school every day during term time, as long as they are fit and healthy enough to do so.

The schools are open to pupils for 190 days of the year, which leaves 175 days non-school days a year (including school holidays and weekends) for families to spend time together and undertake routine appointments.

The following reasons are not acceptable for taking your child out school:

  • to look after siblings
  • shopping trips
  • days off for birthdays
  • to visit relatives
  • sleeping in
  • to go on day trips

There will be days when your child cannot attend school.

For every day your child is absent, you must inform the school in line with the school’s attendance policy. . The school will decide whether to authorise the absence. Your child’s school can only authorise an absence if:

  • your child is too ill to attend school
  • they have a dental or medical appointment
  • there is a bereavement of a relative
  • there is a need for religious observance
  • they are self-isolating in line with COVID-19 regulations

Illness

Is your child well enough for school?

Not every illness needs to keep your child from school. If you keep your child away from school, be sure to inform the school on the first day of their absence and throughout the period they are away from school.

Use common sense when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school and please adhere to the latest government guidance on Covid-19.

Don’t forget to tell the school!

It’s important to inform the school if your child is going to be absent. On the first day of your child's illness, telephone the school to tell them that your child will be staying at home. The school will ask about the nature of the illness and how long you expect the absence to last.  If it becomes clear that your child will be away for longer than expected, phone the school as soon as possible to explain this.

Holidays

If you are planning a family holiday during the school term, you must make a formal request for time off to the Head Teacher prior to booking any holiday.

From September 2014, the Local Authority has introduced a firmer approach to holidays during term time. Head teachers will consider each request on its own merits and have the discretion to authorise or unauthorise every leave of absence period. Should there be any special family circumstances that prohibit a family taking a holiday during the school holiday periods, the head teacher may possibly decide to authorise the request. Such exceptions include, but are not limited to:

  • families of serving armed forces personnel (parents)
  • parent or child experiencing a life-limiting illness
  • families that have suffered an acute trauma

In some cases, unauthorised absence may lead toa Fixed Penalty Notice, if the pupil is of compulsory school age. Please click on the link for the latest information on Fixed Penalty Notices for Non Attendance at school.

If you need to contact our service, please email aws@rctcbc.gov.uk