St Mary’s School
Attendance Matters – January 2023
The aim of this letter is to promote improved attendance for the students in our school and to raise awareness of the importance of good school attendance. We expect students’ attendance to be at 96.5% - this is in line with the Government of Jersey’s expectations too. As a school, we are absolutely committed to making sure that every child is successful, and encourage parents to ensure their child receives a full-time education, unless there is a very good reason for absence.
Punctuality Matters Too!
We are concerned that too many students are not arriving at school on time. If a student arrives late on 3 occasions within a term, a telephone call will be made home. Those students with persistent lateness (more than 5 lates) will go on a Punctuality Plan.
Missed Minutes mean Missed Learning = Missed Opportunities
Children can come into school on their staggered schedule and students must be in class, ready to learn by the end of their designated drop off time. Children who arrive in the classroom after that time are marked as late, and must report to the School Office.
Change to Sickness Policy
It can be tricky deciding whether or not to keep your child off school when they're unwell. At the end of this newsletter we have some useful tips on how to assess whether your child is too unwell to be in school, please read this as it will enable you to make a decision whether your child is well enough to attend. If your child becomes unwell at school, the school will send your child home. If you do keep your child at home, it's important to phone the school each morning and give a reason for the absence. There are two registration sessions in a school day, so if you can send them in later in the day, if your child appears to improve, every session counts!
Please note your child is only unfit for school if he/she has vomited twice or more in the last 24 hours. A one-off episode could be the result of something else like overeating or over exertion and so we encourage parents to please use your discretion. If a child has had a bug, they should not be in school until 48 hours after their last episode.
Family holidays and term time leave
Please ensure that family holidays and any other leave are arranged outside of school term time. Parents should not remove their child from school during term time without having first requested a leave of absence in writing from the Head teacher. All requests for absence will be responded to in writing and will only be authorised in the most exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances include:
- Bereavement or the serious illness of a relative in the UK,
- Employees who are given their holiday dates with no flexibility (e.g. fire service, etc.)
- It may also be possible for permission to be given to travel to a celebratory event off island (such as an afternoon travelling to get to Grandma’s 70th, etc.)
Permission will not be given to attend in island celebrations during school time. All term dates and INSET days are available on the school website and gov.je. Taking your child out of school without authorisation could potentially result in the school needing to take action and a referral to the Education Welfare Officer.
Is my child ‘too ill’ for school?
There are clear government guidelines for schools that say when children should be kept off school and when they shouldn't. The guidance below taken from the NHS website and includes information on common childhood illnesses where school is missed when it needn’t be. It is vital to follow this, as school will not authorise your child’s absence if we feel they are well enough to be in school (this could lead to consequences for parents/ carers, which we would like to avoid!):
Covid, coughs and colds
It's fine to send your child to school with a cough or cold. However, if they have a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes. Encourage your child to throw away any used tissues and to wash their hands regularly. If you think your child has Covid, please give them a lateral flow test and if it’s positive, keep them at home for 5 days. Siblings do not need to isolate.
You can still send your child to school if they have a sore throat. However, if they also have a fever, they should stay at home until it goes away.
This only affects a few of our children, but even so school should not be missed due to ‘the time of the month’. It’s important for your child to have pads or tampons with them at all times and ensure that they are comfortable making regular trips to the bathroom. If you let school know, we can have a discreet word, and set up a private area in one of the adult toilets for the children to use to keep their pads/ tampons, etc. It’s also a good idea to have a spare pair of underwear for in case of emergency. If you have any concerns in relation to this matter, please contact the school so appropriate provision can be arranged.
You don't need to keep your child away from school if they have conjunctivitis. Do get advice from your pharmacist. Encourage your child not to rub their eyes and to wash their hands regularly.
Head lice and nits
There's no need to keep your child off school if they have head lice. You should treat your child and send them into school.
Thank you for your support in helping to improve attendance at St Mary’s School. We are here to work in partnership with all our families and offer support where needed. Sometimes there are underlying reasons why a child does not attend school regularly. If at any time you encounter any difficulty in getting your child to school please speak to us.
We are here to help and support, and can often find ways to stop any problems, so please come and talk to us!