Absence

Please let the school know by letter or phone if your child is likely to be absent for some time, and give your child a note on his or her return to school, confirming the reason for absence.

Please contact the school office by 9am to advise of any absence.  If there is no explanation from a child’s parents, the absence will be regarded as unauthorised. Please also ensure that you keep the office informed of any changes to your contact details eg new mobile numbers. Cramond uses an email communication system, GROUPCALL, which is an excellent medium to be kept updated with school information.

Please make every effort to avoid family holidays during termtime as this will disrupt your child’s education. Absence from school may qualify in exceptional circumstances for special authorised leave. Most term time holiday requests will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. Any requests for extended absence over two weeks will be referred to the Senior Education Manager: Inclusion, who will decide if it will be recorded as authorised or unauthorised leave.

Parents from minority ethnic religious communities may request that their children be permitted to be absent from school to celebrate recognised religious events. Absence approved on this basis, is regarded as authorised absence. Extended leave can also be granted on request for families returning to their country of origin for cultural or care reasons.

A supportive approach is taken to unexplained absence. However the children and families department has legal powers to write to, interview or prosecute parents, or refer pupils to the Reporter to the Children’s Panel, if necessary. All schools work in partnership with an Education Welfare Officer who may become involved if any child’s attendance is causing concern.

At Cramond I regularly receive requests for leave during term time. Please see link on school website and the post about attendance and absence. I draw your attention to this extract from Scottish Government guidance:

Please do not hesitate to get in touch and discuss any attendance or absence queries.

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2003/07/edc05/1

Family Holidays During Term Time

16. The majority of family holidays taken during term time should be categorised as unauthorised absence. However, it is acceptable under exceptional circumstances for schools to authorise a family holiday during term time. Such circumstances may include:

A family holiday judged to be important to the wellbeing and cohesion of the family, following serious or terminal illness, bereavement or other traumatic events.

 17. A family holiday classified under the ‘authorised absence’ category should not include such reasons as:

The availability of cheap holidays

The availability of desired accommodation

Poor weather experienced during school holidays

Holidays which overlap the beginning or end of term

Parental difficulty obtaining leave (with local judgement applied in cases where evidence is provided by the employer that it cannot accommodate leave during school holidays without serious consequences).

 18. Family holidays with the above and similar characteristics should be classified as unauthorised absence. In relation to previous Circulars, a criterion of otherwise satisfactory or otherwise unsatisfactory attendance was attached to the differentiation of family holidays as authorised or unauthorised absence. While otherwise unsatisfactory attendance may well be one reason for a school to withhold agreement to absence for a family holiday, it may not be the only factor needing to be taken into account. The decision on recording absence as authorised and unauthorised should therefore be based simply on whether the school has given prior agreement to the absence or not, using the criteria outlined above. Where a school’s prior agreement has not been sought the absence should automatically be classed as unauthorised.

Authorised Absence

10. The category of authorised absence includes absence deriving from reasons such as:

  • Sickness
  • Medical and dental treatment
  • Bereavement
  • Short-term exceptional domestic circumstances
  • Religious observance
  • Meetings prior to and in court
  • Attendance at or in connection with a Children’s Hearing or Care Review
  • Weddings of immediate family
  • Agreed debates, sports, musical or theatrical productions not arranged by or in conjunction with the school
  • Sanctioned extended absence in relation to children of travelling families.

Extended Leave with Parental Consent

11. Where most family holidays will be recorded as unauthorised absence (see below), extended leave with parental consent should not be considered the same as a family holiday. Extended leave with parental consent should be recorded separately outside the figures for attendance and absence, and includes circumstances such as:

  • Extended overseas educational trips not organised by the school
  • Short-term parental placement abroad
  • Family returning to its country of origin (to care for a relative, or for cultural reasons)
  • Leave in relation to the children of travelling families.

Exceptional Domestic Circumstances

12. Absences related to short-term exceptional domestic circumstances can be classified as both authorised and unauthorised absence. Authorised absence under this heading covers situations such as:

  • The period immediately after an accident or illness
  • A period of serious or critical illness of a close relative
  • A domestic crisis which causes serious disruption to the family home, causing temporary relocation.