Vision and Aims

Vision and Aims





Vision and Aims

Redbridge Children’s Services has a corporate plan designed to support its vision in accordance with the Children and young People’s plan. We envisage a future for children and young people in Redbridge where they can fulfil their dreams and achieve their full potential. They will be aspiring, independent and confident, enjoying family, school play, learning and life. They will be proud of themselves and able to make informed choices, while growing up in a safe and secure environment.

Children and young people will develop a sense of responsibility and fairness and justice, becoming positive and informed members of their communities. They will continue to learn and develop throughout their lives, becoming healthy, creative, responsible and successful adults.

Redbridge Children’s Services aims to ensure that all school aged children access their entitlement to education. The school and Education Welfare Service will take steps to improve school attendance and ensure that all welfare needs of school-aged children are addressed. The Education Welfare service works collaboratively with partner and external agencies and services to address any barriers to learning and/or social inclusion and promote school improvement.

Redbridge Chidlren’s Services is committed to the Every Child Matters agenda, particularly the five main outcomes in which our young people should:

  • Stay Safe
  • Be Healthy
  • Achieve Economic Well-being
  • Enjoy and Achieve
  • Make a Positive Contribution.

Regular attendance at school contributes effectively to each of these outcomes.

Key Principles

The Local Authority shares with its schools the wish to provide an excellent education for all of Redbridge’s pupils.

All those with parental responsibility have a legal obligation to ensure that their children receive an education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

The role of the Local Authority

  • The Local Authority will strive to achieve excellent outcomes for all its schools and all its pupils in an inclusive education service.
  • The Education Welfare Service (EWS) is a service within the Local Authority, which works to ensure that children and young people benefit from the education provided. To achieve this the EWS aims to work in partnership with parents, pupils and schools.

The key priorities of the EWS, in terms of attendance are to:-

  • Improve Attendance
  • Reduce levels of unauthorised absence
  • Apply appropriate sanctions in accordance with the Redbridge Attendance Policy

The Law

  • A child of compulsory school age who is registered at school must by law attend regularly
  • Only schools can authorise the absence of a registered child
  • Education Act 1996, Section 444 as amended by Section 82 and 109 of the Education and Inspection Act 2006.

444 Offence: failure to secure regular school attendance of registered pupil

(1)If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, the parent is guilty of an offence.

(1a) If in the circumstance mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that the child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails to cause the child to do so, he/she is guilty of an offence.

(1b) It is a defence for the person charged with an offence under subsection (1a) to prove that there was a reasonable justification for their failure to cause the child to attend regularly at school.

(2) Subsections (2a) to (6) below apply in proceedings for an offence under this section in respect of a child who is not a boarder at the school at which they are a registered pupil.

(2a) The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of the absence from the school at any time if the parent/carer proves that at that time the child was prevented from attending by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause.

(3) The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of their absence from the school.

(a)with leave, or

(b)any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body of which parents belongs.

Role of the Education Welfare Service (EWS)

The Local Authority has a statutory responsibility under the Education Act 1996 to enforce regular attendance of registered pupils at school, which is carried out by the EWS working with schools.

Data on attendance is collected termly by our Research and Data Team and it is the responsibility of the EWS to audit pupils who fall below target levels.

The work of the service can be broadly divided into three categories.

School Action

  • Working closely with school to analyse school level data and trends.
  • Devising action plans with Heads to meet the specific needs of individual schools by, for example contributing to school assemblies, attending parents evenings and undertaking late gates.
  • Monitoring action taken by schools to improve attendance and reviewing school targets at half termly intervals.
  • Ensuring effective and regular liaison between the EWS, school management teams and other key agencies or organisations.

Direct intervention with pupils and/or parents and carers

  • Providing direct intervention with pupils who fall below target levels of attendance and devising strategies to improve their attendance in partnership with schools.
  • Ensuring that borough and school policies on attendance are implemented appropriately in each individual case including the use of legal action against parents where they are failing to fulfil their child’s regular school attendance.
  • Working closely with schools at transition stages to ensure that identified vulnerable children are provided with all possible support to reduce the likelihood of increased non attendance, where necessary working and liaising with partner agencies.

Role of the School

1. Attendance Register

In accordance with Regulation 3 of the pupils’ Registration Regulations 1956, class teachers keep an attendance register in which at the beginning of a morning and afternoon session, pupils are marked present or absent.

In accordance with ‘The Education (Pupils’ Attendance Records) Regulations 1991, attendance registers show whether an absence is authorised or unauthorised.

In accordance with Curricular 2/96 a summary of the pupils attendance record is reported to parents annually.


  1. Class teachers talk to pupils reinforcing the need for good attendance.
  1. The Headteacher reminds parents of the importance of punctuality and attendance through the following channels of communications:-

a)New parents meetings

b)School prospectus


d)Parents’ evening

Class teachers discuss attendance at Parental Consultations

  1. Wherever possible we will endeavour to make first day contact when a child is absent from school.
  1. Certificates are awarded to classes with 100% attendance for a week. Recognition is given to individual pupils with 100%.


  1. The School Day

K.S.109:10am – 12:00 noon (classrooms open at 9:00am)

01:00pm – 03:30pm

K.S.209:10am – 12:15pm

01:15pm – 03:30pm

If pupils have medical or other appointments to attend then they must be in school by 11:30 (KS1) or 11:45 (KS2) to obtain a present mark. Otherwise they should not return until the start of the afternoon session*. Pupils need to be in session for at least ½ hour in the afternoon to obtain a present mark.

*NB If your child receives a Free School Meal then you can make arrangements with the school office for your child to receive it.

2.Marking Registers

  • Names in registers should be set out in alphabetical order
  • Pupil’s names, addresses and dates of birth should be put in the front of registers.
  • Pupils should be marked absent using a red circle
  • If a letter, telephone call or verbal message authorises an absence, the appropriate code should be written inside the circle.
  • Letters which authorise absence should be kept in the school office.
  • Unauthorised absence should be calculated for each week. The number of sessions should be counted and the total recorded clearly at the bottom of the page. A session is a morning or an afternoon and therefore, the day comprises of two sessions. Class teachers should do this on a weekly basis.
  • Registers should be returned to the office promptly.


Persistent lateness does not constitute as full school attendance (Section 444 of Education Act, 1996).

The morning register will close 30 minutes after the opening of the school day. Pupils arriving after the opening of the register up to and including the 30th minute, will receive an ‘L’ (Late) coding and those arriving after the 31st minute will receive an unauthorised absence ‘U’ coding.

The playground gate will close at 9:10am. After this time children are deemed to be late and will need to be taken to the school office to be recorded in the late book.

Unexplained Absences of Continual Lateness

If a child is late on 3 or more occasions within five school days, the parents/carers will receive a standard letter (see Appendix 1 and 11). Concerns regarding regular unauthorised absences or continual lateness will be referred to the Educational Welfare Officer (see Appendix 111).

Responsibility of the School

All pupils late either with the ‘L’ or ‘U’ coding should sign in at school reception in order that times of arrival can be recorded to be used in evidence in the event of court action. This information should be shared with the schools allocated Education Welfare Officer.

The EWS will challenge persistent lateness both before and after the close of registration, school (after their pre-referral action) should make the necessary referral to the EWS.

An Education Welfare Officer will undertake a late gate inspection at the request of the school.

Sanctions for Persistent Lateness

Legal proceedings can be initiated on behalf of the Local Authority under the Education Act 1996, Section 444 (1) and (1a) after all other formal procedures have been exhausted.

Exceptional Circumstances and Special Consideration for late arrivals

  • Adverse weather and/or travel conditions
  • Delay by a school bus/local authority vehicle
  • Pupil of a reduced timetable

The Policy on Leave

“Leave” in relation to a school means leave granted by any person authorised to do so by the governing body or proprieter of the school.

Parents/carers must apply for permission to authorise a term-time absence in advance. Permission should not be granted after the absence has been taken. All requests should be made by using the designated school standard form and all decisions should be recorded. (Appropriate codings should be used). (see Appendix 1V).

Redbridge Council is committed to a policy of minimum unavoidable absence from school during term time and schools, which agree to follow this policy, will be prepared to grant only a maximum of 3 days absence from school for circumstances as defined in the list below as exceptional. Leave for holidays during term time will not be approved.

Exceptional Circumstances and Special Considerations

We are recommending this policy be used as a guide to the exercise of a school’s discretion. Legally, headteachers cannot forego their discretionary powers.

  • Funeral of parent, grandparent and sibling. Subject to a maximum of 2 days. Death of a relative outside of the UK, subject to a maximum number of 3 days.
  • Sudden loss of housing through eviction or domestic violence up to a maximum of 3 days.
  • Out of school programmes such as music, arts or sport operating at a high standard of achievement and agreed by the L.A.The EWS will advise schools on individual circumstances.
  • Time off relating the Child Entertainment Performances, which is subject to a licence being issued by the EWS.
  • Religious observance subject to a maximum number of 3 days.

Sanctions for an Unauthorised Leave of Absence without Permission

A Fixed Penalty Notice will be issued for unauthorised leave of absence (holiday) taken without permission after the first day of absence. It will be issued by the EWS following discussions with the Head.

This will incur a fine of £50.00 per child being imposed, if paid within 28 days of receipt of the notice, rising to £100.00 per child if paid after 28 days but within 42 days of receipt.

If the penalty is not paid in full by the end of the 42 days, the Local Authority must either prosecute for the offence or withdraw the notice. This prosecution is for the offence of failing to secure attendance at school not for non-payment of the fine.

Prosecutions are brought under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.

There is no stautory reight of appeal against the issuing of a Penalty Notice.

Arrangements for payment will be detailed on the penalty notice.

This will be reviewed on an annual basis.

In cases where unauthorised leave of absence has been taken without permission, which exceeds 10 days or more, the school should advise the EWS in order that steps can be implemented with a view to removing the child from roll. (The EWS will have a checklist of requirements before a pupil can be removed from the school roll). A decision will be taken by the EWS whether to implement legal proceedings under the Education Act 1996, Section 444 and (1a).

Absence due to ill health

Any absence relating to illness of 5 days or more should be supported by medical evidence. Prescriptions will not be accepted for medication of paracetamol or calpol, as these can be self administered within the school environment.

Authorised Absence

Authorised absence is defined as:

  • When a pupil is absent as a result of illness and an acceptable explanation has been received.
  • Religious Observance (as defined in the exemptions list)
  • where a child has been temporarily excluded from school
  • Medical/dental appointments (sight of appointment card should be requested). Appointments should be made outside of school hours wherever possible and the minimum amount of time should be taken.
  • Exceptional cirumstances (unavoidable absence)

Cases of Dual Registration

In cases of dual registration, the Education Welfare Officer of the ‘Lead’ school will undertake register trawls and monitor attendance. It will be the Education Welfare Officers responsibility to liaise with the dual education providers and monitor attendance.

Responding to continued non-attendance

Although it has been stressed that prompt, concerted action by vigilant teachers is the single most effective response to non-attendance, additional action is necessary if patterns of intermittent or persistent absence continue.

Further investigation into the causes of the non-attendance must be carried out in cases of continued absence. Consideration should be given to those factors, which may influence attendance at school. Bullying, school refusal, parentally condoned absence, disaffection and learning difficulties are just a few of the many reasons children have given for continued absence from school.

Once investigation has discovered the cause of their absence from school, it is important to negotiate a return to school programme that everyone is committed to, including the pupil, their parent’s, class teacher(s) and any support agencies. Without an agreed, well-structured programme the pupil is likely to feel unsure about their return. Particular support in language, literacy, numeracy or for special education needs should be identified and a plan made for their inclusion in the return to the school programme.

In very exceptional circumstances the ‘return to school programme’ might consider whether it is appropriate for the head teacher to apply for modification or disapplication from the National Curriculum for individual students. Arrangements to modify or disapply from the National Curriculum must comply with sections 16-19 of The Education Reform Act 1988, The Education Act 1996.

Returning to school after an absence can be difficult for some pupils. A great deal of persuasion by parents, EWO or teacher may have taken place to get the child to agree their return to school programme. Often, considerable courage is being shown by the pupil. Therefore, pupils need to feel secure in the knowledge that their return will be handled sensitively by staff.

Governors have a valuable role to plan in establishing the importance of attendance. They help the school to focus upon the need for a clear policy on attendance and ensure that data on attendance is accurate and meaningful, and that trends and patterns are closely monitored. Governors receive termly reports on attendance for this purpose. Governors support the initiatives, which are taken by a school to promote good attendance by monitoring the relative success of such measures.

Reviewed by the Teaching and Learning Committee – 30/01/07

Approved by the Governing Body – 19/03/07

Reviewed by Resources – 25/05/10

Ratified by the Governing Body – 25/05/10


The Education Welfare Service, Managing Response To Continued Non-Attendance

Formal Procedures

At the initial stage, the school has responsibility for monitoring attendance through rigorous registration and follow-up procedures.

This may be by (i) first day contact (ii) followed by a number of letters – at least 2 preferably 3. If no improvement in attendance is shown, the school would be expected to consult with the EWO.

At the regular consultation meeting between teachers/or nominated person and the EWO a decision will be undertaken as to whether a formal referral is made to the EWS.

STAGE 2 – EWO takes responsibility

Referral form completed. In the main (unless in exceptional circumstances) all absences should be confirmed as unauthorised. The reason for this is that if schools are authorising they are in effect consenting and/or accepting the absences and the EWO role is to question and explore such decisions. The EWO will undertake a home visit within 5 working days, preferably unannounced. If no reply a calling card is left requesting contact. If no further response, the EWO can either offer an appointment for a subsequent home visit or for a school-based meeting.

After this procedure and an agreed monitoring period, if no significant improvement is made, guidance should be sought from line managers and a possible decision may be made to send a court-warning letter. Thereafter, a school attendance consultative meeting should be arranged.

The EWO will agree a date with line manager, book the room and send out necessary invitations to all parties, i.e. parents, school, other agencies such as social services, health, YOT, to be present at the meeting. The EWO will produce a brief report to present at the meeting with a chronology of events. At the school attendance meeting consideration will be given to educational, social, emotional, medical and psychological factors that may be contributing to the poor attendance. The meeting would consider alternative forms of education/action and make recommendations for referral to other agencies/court or a review date may be set.