is the Inclusion Commissioner for the service and is supported by Hedda Wright
and Gemma Keating
. Hedda covers the social care areas of Mid and North Essex and Gemma covers South and West.
Improving the attendance of Children in Care is a priority of the Essex Virtual School. Our aim is to:
Track and reduce the amount of time children miss from their education by non attendance, truancy and the gaps created by moved placements or placement distance
Resolve specific difficulties and remove barriers to education and learning.
Reduce the number of fixed term exclusions experienced by children in care
Regular school attendance is vital to successful outcomes for all pupils; for many children in care school is often the stable factor that can make a significant difference to their outcomes.
School attendance for children in care is measured by:
In line with the government’s commitment to reduce absence they will be reducing the persistent absence (PA) threshold from 15% to 10%, with effect from September 2015.
To be classed as persistently absent a child will only need to miss 19 days (38 sessions) over the 6 half terms of the school year.
This refers to the amount of absence a child has over the school year regardless of whether they reach the threshold of persistent absence.
The DfE advice regarding study leave is that it should be used sparingly and only granted to year 11 pupils during public examinations. As study leave is unsupervised, schools must record it as authorised absence. Schools should not continue to grant study leave when examinations are finished.
The official school leaving date is the last Friday in June in the school year in which a child reaches age 16. This means that year 11 pupils must remain on the school roll and their attendance must be recorded to this date.
Schools remain responsible for year 11 pupils up to the leaving date, even when they have finished exams. It is up to schools to consider how they might seek to widen the range of learning opportunities during this time to meet the needs of their pupils.
Holidays in Term Time
Children in care should not be taking holidays in term time. Social Workers are required to make requests to the Director of Local Delivery for their area before approaching a school with the request. Foster Carers should not approach the school without first seeking the approval as set out above.
Further information on school attendance can be found on the Missing Education and Child Employment