School will reopen fully on March 8th 2021 - see latest letter to parents and carers



Dear parents/carers,

I am writing in order to clarify the attendance procedures and expectations at Firbeck Academy as well as the reasons behind them.

Schools across the country are judged in part on their levels of attendance. Broadly speaking a school is expected to have attendance of at least 96% (the national average) or better. This means that on average a child who has been at school for the whole academic year would have been absent no more than 15 half days, or ‘sessions’.

The reason for this expectation is obvious (children learn more when they are at school), but to put it in terms specifically for Firbeck Academy:

  • 15% fewer children with poor attendance (90% or less) achieve the expected academic level in Mathematics than their peers.
  • 20% fewer children with poor attendance achieve the expected academic level in Reading than their peers.
  • 26% fewer children with poor attendance achieve the expected academic level in Writing than their peers.

Without a doubt children with poor attendance do not do as well as their better attending peers.

As well as the obvious benefit to children of attending school, Firbeck Academy will seek to reinforce the value of good attendance by:

  • Every half term children with 100% attendance will receive a special treat, generally relating to the time of the year i.e. Easter treat, Christmas treat, etc.
  • The school council have been discussing an end of year treat for the best attending children. So far they have come up with ideas like: a free choice afternoon, non-uniform day, games lessons, a special trip, etc. I’m sure the final treat will be a fantastic one.
  • Publishing weekly, on our website and Twitter, the attendance of our different year groups. Celebrating our successes.

If a child is absent in the morning and we do not have a reason we will make a phone call at approximately 9.30am to ensure the whereabouts of the child.

Obviously, we would not expect a child to be in school when they are ill and often if a child has certain things they may be sent home i.e. If a child has diarrhea or vomiting they should not be sent to school for 48 hours from their last ‘incidence.’ There are also a range of other illnesses whereby school takes medical advice in terms of how long a child should be kept off school.

Over time if a pattern of poor attendance develops a number of things may happen:

  • A member of staff will want to speak to you to see if there is something school can do to support.
  • School may ask for a doctor’s note for your child.
  • You may receive a letter stating that school is concerned about your child’s level of attendance.
  • If there is a persistently poor attendance record referrals may be made to the Education Welfare Office at the Local Authority.
  • Ultimately a recommendation can be made to the Local Authority to fine parents.

In recent months the Isle of Wight High Court Case has been settled with the result that in-term holidays will continue to be denied across the country. What this means for Firbeck is that if a holiday request form is submitted to school it will always be unauthorised unless there are exceptional circumstances, as determined by the Head of School. If a parent takes their children out of school anyway or does not submit an application this could result in a penalty notice/fine being issued.

I hope that as a parent you will continue to support the school in our fundamental goal of educating your children. If you would like to discuss this further please feel free to contact the school.

Thank you for your support.

February 2021


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