Connell Co-op College
Attendance and Punctuality Policy for Academic Year 2023/24
1. Policy Statement and purpose
1.1 This attendance and punctuality policy has been drawn up to clarify expectations of our students in all post 16 study at Connell Co-op College. High levels of attendance and excellent punctuality are both characteristics of students who achieve above or in-line with their Target Minimum Grade. We actively promote and encourage 100% attendance and punctuality for all students. Research shows poor attendance and punctuality has a detrimental effect on outcomes. Falling below 95% has been shown to result in an average reduction of one grade at A level and this increases to two grades when attendance falls below 90%.
Our aim is to teach students to conduct themselves in a manner that is suitable for a professional environment. We want students to be able to:
- Access their next steps.
- Succeed in their next steps.
- Thrive and contribute positively to their communities.
We want the students who leave us to be ‘work ready’ co-operators.
Absence, even for a good reason, still affects student outcomes and so while we can empathise with personal circumstances we cannot tolerate poor attendance.
2. General Overview
2.1 Excellent attendance and punctuality is the expectation for all students. We expect students to adhere to the attendance and punctuality policy so that they have no unauthorised absences. When a student’s attendance and punctuality do not meet our expectations, action will be taken to support and challenge them to improve. See appendix for triggers and thresholds.
2.2 The College believes that for effective intervention to take place students and parents/carers:
- must be accurately informed of current levels of attendance and punctuality.
- must understand the policies and processes that are applied to attendance and punctuality.
- need to understand the impact that poor attendance/punctuality has on learning, progress and possible future outcomes.
- feel that recognition is given when improvements are made.
The College also believes that:
- concerns should be raised as early as possible through centralised notification systems.
- support should be put in place early before attendance or punctuality problems become an established pattern (See appendix for triggers and thresholds).
- teachers are very effective at changing behaviours and attitudes by communicating the link between attendance/punctuality and learning.
- personal circumstances, attitudes and behaviours need to be explored and perhaps supported in order to secure change.
- clear and measurable targets for improvement must be set and monitored at a level that is reasonable for the individual through a support contract.
- a failure to improve attendance/punctuality must have real consequences so that
- students are encouraged to be ‘ready for the real world’.
- other students see that expectations have real meaning and must be adhered to.
2.3 To reduce the number of students whose attendance at college drops below the persistent absentee level of 90%, an annual target for attendance will be established. The Principal in conjunction with SLT and the Governing body will set this target, which is currently 92%. The annual target will be published with other benchmarking data to students, staff, parents and Governors.
2.4 Students who finish the academic year with attendance/punctuality of less than 90% are at risk of not progressing into the next year of their studies. Exceptional circumstances and direction of travel will be taken into consideration.
2.5 Students receiving a bursary may not receive payments if their attendance or punctuality falls under 90%.
2.6 Students whose attendance or punctuality for any course is below 90% may be withdrawn from their qualification or, if they wish to remain as a candidate, then they may be asked to pay the examination fee.
3.1 Students are expected to attend all timetabled sessions within the College day and are expected to attend on time.
3.2 All students at Connell Co-op College will be expected to have high levels of attendance and punctuality and no unauthorised absences.
3.3 Students must take responsibility for following the college absence procedure, specifically they must:
- Notify the college (firstname.lastname@example.org) AND their teachers by email no later than 1 hour before their first lesson on the day of any unplanned absence (e.g. illness).
- Notify the college (email@example.com) AND their teachers by email in advance of any planned absence and provide supporting evidence such as a hospital appointment card.
- Make arrangements to catch up on any work missed promptly and, if directed, attend College for the next timetabled catch up session.
- Notify their teachers by email if they are running late for a lesson and follow the ‘knock and wait’ policy when they arrive.
Further details of the the types of absences which will be authorised are provided in the appendix
3.4 Students and parents/carers will have live on-demand access to attendance and punctuality information.
3.5 Students and parents/carers will be informed about attendance and punctuality levels at the end of every half term.
3.6 The College will celebrate those who have excellent attendance and punctuality.
3.7 Students and parents/carers will be notified by central systems if levels of attendance/punctuality fall below certain thresholds and appropriate interventions will occur to support the student and increase their attendance or punctuality using the processes outlined in the Support and Challenge Policy.
4.1 Students themselves must ultimately accept a high degree of responsibility for their punctuality and attendance. Students must arrive punctually to all timetabled sessions.
4.2 Students are responsible for notifying the College of both planned and unplanned absences via email to firstname.lastname@example.org in accordance with the guidance provided in section 3.
4.3 Subject teachers are required to complete an electronic register for each lesson through CEDAR.
- Registers must be taken within 10 minutes of a lesson beginning.
- The lateness of students must also be recorded using L and by amending the start time of the lesson to record the students arrival time - allowing cumulative minutes to be recorded over time.
- Teachers must record an X if the lesson does not take place.
4.4 Subject teachers are responsible for notifying parents, carers and students about the impact of any poor attendance or punctuality is having on learning and should record that they have done so on CEDAR.
4.5 Subject teachers are also responsible for logging an escalation of concerns thread on CEDAR if they feel that a trigger has been met and no contract has been actioned. They are also responsible for alerting the Progression Tutor if they feel no progress/insufficient progress is being made towards targets within a contract and that a review should be completed sooner than originally planned.
4.6 Progression Tutors are responsible for monitoring absences, unexplained absences and lateness against College ‘thresholds’ on a daily basis for students in their groups and will seek to support students who are not meeting expectations through our Support & Challenge Policy.
4.7 Progression Tutors will work alongside the SEND team and SG team to ensure that the support & challenge they offer students takes into account their needs and circumstances.
4.8 Parents/Carers have responsibility to ensure that students attend the College. They are asked to use CEDAR and half termly reports to support them in having regular conversations with their child about their progress at Connell Co-op College and their attendance and punctuality in particular.
4.9 The attendance team will take responsibility for ensuring that student absence is accurately recorded in CEDAR.
4.10 The attendance team will take responsibility for notifying parents/carers when a student is absent without explanation.
4.11 The attendance team will take responsibility for noticing if a pattern of absence might be a safeguarding concern, including identifying students who need to be contacted by telephone or who might need a home visit.
4.12 The Operations Manager (Student Administration & Enrolment) will take responsibility for ensuring that the attendance policy is being adhered to by all parties and will keep appropriate records to enable leaders to take action where required.
4.13 The Operations Manager will ensure that data is available to:
- the wider pastoral team to support effective safeguarding and intervention through Mindset for Learning, Fitness to Study of SEND support.
- parents/carers/students at half termly intervals and more regular if a student is under another monitoring process e.g. 2 week punctuality reporting.
- all staff through the friday note - overall and subject attendance as directed.
- Senior Leaders.
It is the ultimate responsibility of the Operations Manager to ensure this Attendance Policy is effectively implemented. Where it is not being adhered to they will report to their line manager or SLT who will determine the appropriate course of action. The Operations Manager will report on the Policy at regular intervals throughout the academic year to SLT. SLT will then report to the Co-op Academies Trust and the Governing body.
6 Special Cases to note
6.1 In the case of an absence falling on the day of an important assessment or public examination the following should be noted. In the case of:
- a BTEC submission deadline the student is still expected to submit the work electronically. If they are unable to do so they must follow the guidelines in the BTEC handbook.
- a classroom based assessment the teacher may direct the student to attend college on their next available catch up day.
- a mock or progression exam the student should note that a resit may not be possible.
- a controlled assessment or public (real) exam, the student must provide a statement from a parent to confirm they were too ill to attend - without this they may fail the entire qualification as we will be unable to apply to the exam board for special consideration. This statement should reach the college at least 1 hour before the start of the examination.
If a student is absent without explanation or absent for an unauthorised reason for any of the assessments described above they may be issued with a Directors Warning or Suspension.
In the case of a controlled assessment or public examination, a student who is absent without explanation by 8am on the day or who is absent for an unauthorised reason:
- may be withdrawn from the qualification.
- may be required to cover the costs of their exam/assessment and invigilation if a resit opportunity is granted.
- may be withdrawn from other qualifications that are being assessed in the same season.
6.2 Students should not take any term time holidays and these will not be authorised. This also includes ‘family emergencies and events’ as regardless of their nature, they do disrupt education and will impact on students’ achievement.
In circumstances where this leads to an average attendance of less than 90% during the year, this could prevent a student from progressing into the next year of their studies or being entered for their examinations (see 2.4 and 2.6).
If a term time holiday is taken a mindset for learning contract will be issued, regardless of the reason.
NOTE: Absences related to the serious illness or death of a loved one are treated with compassion and understanding but a prolonged absence from College, regardless of the reason, may still prevent a student from progressing into the next year of their studies or being entered for their examinations if significant learning time has been lost (see 2.4 and 2.6).
Please refer to the Support & Challenge Policy - Pastoral Support and The Bereavement Policy for further information on these instances
6.3 Students can request absence to attend Open Days at universities but are encouraged to visit at weekends wherever possible.
6.4 Students may be absent for unavoidable appointments such as specialist medical or dental appointments, job/apprenticeship/university interviews (not part time jobs) and driving tests (not lessons). Absences for other appointments will not generally be authorised.
6.5 Under no circumstances should students undertake paid part time work during the College day. This is because they may be required to attend college for meetings, special events or academic support. Students are advised to limit part time work to 8 hours per week and to avoid late shifts during the week.
6.6 Students may undertake work experience or work placements or complete voluntary activity in support of university or work applications within the College day during study periods with the agreement of the Director of Next Steps or Vice Principal -Student Services. In special cases work experience that takes place during lessons may be approved.
6.7 Study leave will be:
- Authorised for public examinations
- On the morning before an afternoon exam.
- On the afternoon of the day before a morning exam.
- During a designated period determined by the Vice Principal - Curriculum & Quality.
- Authorised for internal mock or progression exams for a designated period determined by the Vice Principal - Curriculum & Quality.
Requests for additional study leave will not be granted and absence without authorisation during an assessment period will be treated as a conduct issue.
6.8 Absences for religious observance will be authorised where they are made in advance. Requests for these kinds of absence must be made in advance to the attendance team email@example.com and the student should also notify their teacher and make plans to catch up on work missed as they would for any other planned absence. Up to two days can be authorised for religious observance during any academic year.
Addendum 1: KCSIE September 2022 update
If a young person has a social worker, the College will liaise closely with them to ensure the student has the support they need.
‘The DSL is expected to: ensure that the school or college knows who its cohort of children who have or have had a social worker are, understanding their academic progress and attainment, and maintaining a culture of high aspirations for this cohort, and support teaching staff to provide additional academic support or reasonable adjustments to help children who have or have had a social worker reach their potential; This includes: supporting teaching staff to provide additional academic support or reasonable adjustments to help children who have or have had a social worker reach their potential, recognising that even when statutory social care intervention has ended, there is still a lasting impact on children’s educational outcomes.recognising that even when statutory social care intervention has ended, there is still a lasting impact on children’s educational outcomes.’
April 2022 Addendum 2: Attendance Policy update (from DSL network meeting 22.3.22)
Our Trust issued the following guidance for pupils in it’s Academies under the age of 16
All pupils who are absent from school for a week or more should have contact with a member of staff either by video call or home visit by a member of staff. The frequency of contact should be determined by the level of risk but as a minimum weekly for the duration of the pupil's absence. The exception will be
- if they have been seen by another professional within this time period
- If it is agreed via a multi agency plan that direct contact from school is not in a child’s best interest.
The staff member must have sight of the pupil and record their appearance and interactions with the child.
As a post 16 provider we will mirror this where judged appropriate and in accordance with the age of the student.
In the case of an unauthorised family holiday we will use risk based professional judgement and take into account the practicalities of contact.
We will also use our professional judgement in the situation where it is known that a student intends to leave the college but they are still on roll while we support them with finding alternative education, employment or support.
Triggers and Thresholds related to attendance and punctuality
Mindset for Learning
Poor attendance and/or Punctuality
2 days of absence triggers a warning, 3rd day means MfL contract is set.
2 lates in a week or 3 in total triggers a warning, on the next incident a contract is set.
YTD total of 4 days absence triggers a warning, 5th day means MfL contract is set.
2 lates in a week or 5 in total YTD triggers a warning, on the next incident means a contract is set.
YTD total of 6 days absence triggers a warning, 7th day means MfL contract is set
2 lates in a week or 7 in total YTD triggers a warning, on the next incident means a contract is set.
Fitness to Study
Students who have been absent for more than 10 working days or who are likely to be absent for this length of time due to a known medical reason.
Students whose attendance is below 85% and the reason is not believed to be due to mindset or conduct.
The student, their parent or carer or a medical professional informs the College of a medical reason which may significantly impact their ability to attend, learn or make academic progress or which presents a Health and Safety risk to the student or to others.
Students whose attendance is impacted by circumstances beyond their control (e.g. relocation to a different part of the city) or which may be impacted, will be placed on a pastoral support contract to help them navigate the challenges of their changed circumstances and ensure that their attendance remains/returns to the expected level.
Mrs Emma Boswell, Operations Manager - Student Administration & Enrolment
All policies are available to stakeholders either on the College website or upon request from the College Office.