A happy New Year to you all, and I do hope that your Christmas break bought some rest and some reconnection with friends and family in a safe and positive fashion.
As 2022 begins, I’m sure we’re all feeling a mix of positive and apprehensive – positive for hopefully a continuing embracing of more and more of a safe and secure “normality” and I’m sure just a little apprehension of the coming weeks, and I think that sounds about right.
I am feeling very positive about this year – we’re getting back to grips with so much of our normal curriculum and our co-curriculum, starting to get students out on trips and seeing so much more of our day-to-school life unrestricted. At the same time, my apprehension, is that as we continue to make really positive steps forward, that we don’t have to take any small steps backwards – but, as ever, we will continue to act in the very best interests of the safety and wellbeing of our whole community.
The co-curriculum is certainly something I am very excited about – I’ve written here about two examples, badminton club, and the year 7 football team, but the range of co-curricular activities is really starting to build (there’s a list somewhere in this newsletter) and I would encourage all students to make sure that at least once in each week, they care committing to a lunchtime club or team to continue to take every advantage of the experiences and opportunities offered. Once again, if you don’t see a group or subject or activity that you would like us to be offering – then let a form tutor, curriculum leader or member of the senior team know, and we’ll endeavour to support you or other students in setting it up.
I cannot begin to tell you how much of a high point of my week supporting badminton club is, (and indeed how popular it is with our students – we’ve had to separate it out from years 10 and 11 in one day to year 10 one day and 11 another,) how much I look forward to such a different activity mixing up my working work, providing some much needed physical activity, and releasing some very positive endorphins, so important for good physical and mental health.
My hope for our co-curricular sessions is that we continue to enhance and develop the programme so that all students feel there is “something for them” at least one lunchtime a week, if not more. So if you’re thinking, particularly during the grey days of January and February, that you’d like a new challenge during the week, something to really look forward to that sits outside of your lessons, take a look at this list and see what takes your fancy, or come and talk to a member of staff about starting something new, something we’ve never seen before – I bet if you do, there will be an audience for it!
With all best wishes, stay well and safe!
LEAVE OF ABSENCE DURING TERM TIME
UPDATED INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
The Supreme Court recently reached a decision in the case of Platt v Isle of Wight Council which has clarified the law on unauthorised leave, including holidays, during term time. The parents of children of compulsory school age are required to ensure that they attend school on a regular basis. The Supreme Court has made clear that attending school ‘regularly’ means that the children must attend school on every day that they are required to do so. As such, the parents of any child who is absent from school without authorisation for any length of time are likely to be considered as committing an offence under s444 of the Education Act 1996.
Head Teachers retain the ability to authorise leave in accordance with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. When considering such requests for a leave of absence, the school are obliged to act within the law. Head Teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances relating to the application. If the leave is granted, head teachers are able to determine the number of school days a child can be absent for.
It is for the Head Teacher to decide what is ‘exceptional’ and it is at their discretion if the circumstances warrant the leave to be granted. The school can only consider Leave of Absence requests which are made by the ‘resident’ parent.
Each application for a leave of absence will be considered on a case by case basis and on its own merits.
Where applications for leave of absence are made in advance and refused, the child will be required to be in school on the dates set out in the application. If the child is absent during that period, it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence, which may result in legal action being taken against the parent(s), by way of a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Failure to make an application for leave in advance can also result in a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued to the parent(s).
All matters of unauthorised absence relating to a Leave of Absence will be referred to the Warwickshire Attendance Service, part of Warwickshire County Council
It is important to note, Fixed Penalty Notices are issued to each parent of each absent child, (for example 2 children and 2 parents, means each parent will receive 2 invoices in the amount of £120 each, totalling £240 for both children, this is reduced to £60 per child if paid within 21 days).
Where a Fixed Penalty Notice is not paid within the required timeframe as set out on the notice, the matter will be referred to Warwickshire County Council’s Legal Services to consider instigating criminal proceedings under S444 Education Act 1996.
Fixed Penalty Notices are issued in accordance with Warwickshire County Council’s Code of Conduct for Penalty Notices.
Your child’s progress academically as well as socially is our shared priority
Warwickshire School pupils recorded 31,196 half day sessions of absence due to holiday in the Autumn term 2019.
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