There is a direct link between educational attainment and rate of attendance at the Academy. Students at Queensbury Academy are encouraged to learn good habits of attending regularly.
The Official Academy Register
The register is the Academy’s official document that records attendance or absence of a student. The Department for Education advises that it is the responsibility of parents/carers to inform the Academy of an absence and provide a reason. It is helpful to have details of an absence, rather than a message to say simply ‘unwell’, as we often support students who have chronic medical conditions.
If a student normally attends the Academy regularly, the attendance rate is likely to exceed 96%. Year 11 students can use their attendance certificate as a reference for future education or workplace training. If absences begin to impact on learning, you may receive one of our letters expressing concern and inviting you to provide any medical evidence* you have at home to help us authorise further absence.
* Medical evidence can be any hospital or doctors letters, empty packaging or prescription copy or appointment card so we do not need a medical certificate. We can photocopy items for you. Please indicate if you want the original returned.
The Telephone Attendance Line
Option 1 on the main Academy telephone number (01582 601241) will take your message to explain why a student will not be in school on the day you record. We ask parents and carers to notify us daily if absences continue, as we need to know the whereabouts of a student if they have not arrived at school, for safeguarding purposes. Please give as much useful information you can on your message. We ask that unless there is an extreme emergency, only parents or adults with parental responsibility use the Attendance line.
Absences are recorded as ’unauthorised’ if the Academy has been given no reason for absence or if the Academy can no longer automatically authorise absences, as the attendance rate has deteriorated. The government places a duty on schools and academies to investigate absence and collect further evidence working with the family. Please ensure you contact the Academy, as continued unauthorised absence can lead to fixed penalty action. A U code is also an unauthorised coding. See Punctuality heading.
Academy Meetings and Home Visits
We invite parents/carers into the Academy to discuss attendance and academic progress, when there are more complex reasons behind the absences. We can also accommodate a meeting at the request of parents and carers. At the meeting we draw up support agreements to improve attendance and/or collect medical information. If contact is difficult, we may call at your home to pass on any urgent messages or to explain attendance rates.
Referrals to the Access and Inclusion Service
The Central Bedfordshire Access and Inclusion Service inspect the school registers and can make recommendations to the Academy staff. The Local Authority has its own working procedures.
Information about fixed penalty action
On rare occasions there is a need to apply to the Central Bedfordshire Council for further involvement. The Local Authority can issue fixed penalties and take on full referrals to support families.
We encourage parents and carers to keep in contact with staff who will always be prepared to discuss any concerns regarding attendance and learning.
Our students must be in their tutor base at 8.35.a.m. to receive a punctual attendance mark. Failure to be in the tutor room, when the register is taken - but arrival during the period the register is open, will be recorded as code L which is an authorised late and converts to an attendance mark. A student failing to arrive while the register period is open (until 9.00.a.m.) will result in a U code. A ‘U’ records unauthorised absence for the session. (a session is a morning or afternoon).
Detentions are given for ongoing lateness. Students can be on Report for ongoing late arrival to school.
Holidays in term time
From 1st September 2013, the updated Department for Education regulations on school attendance removed the term ‘holiday in term time’ so schools and academies can no longer authorise requests for holiday absence in term time. Leave of absence requests should be addressed to the Vice Principal – Mrs.S.Roberts. Queensbury Academy – in line with other local schools and academies in this area - will use fixed penalty action when students take unauthorised leave of absence for the purposes of a holiday.
Adverse Weather conditions
If there is snow or extreme weather, the Academy website, Central Bedfordshire Council and local Radio will announce any full school and academy closures. Please do not rely on messages from other students, neighbours and friends, as you can be given misinformation and your child will have unauthorised absence for the missed education.