Attendance

This is an area in which we have always been extremely vigilant; and our registration and class attendance system is as fool-proof as is humanly possible.  We have devised a thorough registration system in our efforts to spot irregular attendance and alert parents as quickly as possible to suspected truancy.  As well as morning registration we have an electronic period by period attendance check.  In short if a pupil is truanting he/she knows that we know that he/she is truanting.  As such truanting is minimal.

Any pupils who have developed a pattern of irregular attendance will often carry an attendance sheet, to be monitored daily by home and school.

Truancy will be a problem for only a few of our pupils, but all parents can assist by following some simple arrangements so that we do not waste time following up genuine cases of absence.  You are therefore asked to contact us if your child is to be absent for three days or more, otherwise an absence enquiry letter is liable to be sent from school.  On return to school, pupils should bring a note for the class tutor dated and signed by parents.

Automatic Communication System
Along with all Midlothian Schools, Beeslack uses an automatic communication system that will contact parents if their child is marked absent at registration and/or is late for school.  The system will ask parents to indicate the reason for absence while at the same time, give an alert if your child is not in school when they should be.

We hope that this system will enable school and parents to continue working together to ensure both high attendance and the safety of all of our/your young people.

We seek your support in the following areas:

  • If for any reason absence is likely to be extended, please contact us in school and we shall be happy to arrange for homework to be provided, as appropriate.
  • If there are any particular circumstances following illness or accident that require special consideration please contact us and let us know (eg a pupil may be permitted to leave class a little earlier to avoid crush on the stairs).
  • Any request for absence from school should be made in writing.
  • Advance warning should be given by pupils for any appointment that they may have during school hours.
  • Wherever possible, we encourage pupils to make non-urgent medical or dental appointments outwith the school day.
  • Holidays should not be taken during term time.  There has been a marked increase in requests for such leave in recent years, often at times in the school term which particularly disadvantages learners.  Much of pupil assessment is now done on a continuous basis with regular assessment deadlines to be met.

Essentially, whenever possible, we are trying to avoid breaking the learning chain.

Punctuality
We also stress to pupils the importance of punctuality – to school (morning and after lunch) and to classes.  Arriving in class on time allows pupils:

       to benefit from the lesson                   avoids disruption to class/teacher

       is habit forming for later life                indicates an attitude to work

Employers who ask for pupil references will often ask questions about the pupil’s punctuality.  Again parents will be contacted by standard letter if late-coming is developing and/or persisting as a problem.  Regular late-comers will be placed on “lates” detention by year staff, following agreement with parents.

The legal requirement is as follows:

Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child attends school regularly.  In cases of unsatisfactory attendance, the Headteacher will ask an Educational Welfare Officer to visit the home and discuss the problem with the parents.  If such unsatisfactory attendance persists, the Headteacher, following discussion with the Educational Welfare Officer and other agencies, will decide whether the case should be referred to the local Area Attendance Advisory Group.  This group has been formed to make recommendations to the Director on the statutory responsibilities of the Council with regard to defaulting parents.