Attendance Policy

1. Attendance

Good attendance correlates significantly to academic achievement and so Ashbourne expects students to attend all lessons punctually. Where this expectation is not met students will undergo intervention with the Attendance team, their Personal Tutor and with their parents/guardians involved so that measures can be taken to improve their attendance.

Parents and guardians can view a student’s attendance record on the parent portal.

1.1 Keeping in touch and contact details

All students are required to have a parent or guardian in the UK who may be contactable by phone or email. All students must have a UK mobile number. Students are expected to check their Ashbourne email accounts regularly for all information dealing with Ashbourne. The College will only communicate to students through Ashbourne email accounts.

1.2 What happens if a student is unable to attend a class or is late?

  1. The student should phone (020 7937 3858) or email (absence@ashbournecollege.co.uk) the College to confirm they are going to be absent.
  2. Students must contact the College each day they are absent before their first lesson.
  3. Late slips – All classes at Ashbourne start on the hour. Please keep in mind that even if students are 1 minute late, they are still late and the teachers will log them as late on the attendance database. Ashbourne introduced the late slip system from an administrational point of view to ensure classes are not continuously interrupted. Therefore, if a tutor has completed the register before students arrive, then they will be asked to go to reception to collect a late slip. If students arrive more than 5 minutes late they should automatically go to reception to collect a late slip.
  4. Ashbourne encourages students to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of their first class.
  5. For GCSE students, parents/guardians must inform the College if the student is likely to be late or unable to attend class.

The late slip system does not allow a ‘5 minute grace period’; if students are 1 minute late they are still late.

1.3 Monitoring attendance

Attendance at the College is compulsory for all timetabled lessons. Staff members monitor attendance and punctuality using the following acronyms:

POT – This is used to indicate the student is present and on time for a lesson. PLA – This is used to indicate the student was present but late for a lesson. Please note: Contact will be made with parents/guardians of students who are frequently late. If late attendance is persistent, they should also expect intervention from their Personal Tutor or a member of the Attendance Team.

AA – This is used to indicate an authorised absence, where the student/parents/behaviour contact has informed the College of the reason for their absence. The following (non-academic) reasons are acceptable in this case:

  • Ill health
  • Family/personal problem
  • Religious observance

Please note: A doctor’s note is required for any illness that causes a student to miss more than three consecutive days of classes. This ensures that students are receiving the proper medical care for any illness. We understand that some medical appointments may require having to take time out of class. However, whenever possible students should arrange appointments outside of class time. Proof of unavoidable medical appointments must be provided prior to the appointment in order to authorise the absence.

UA – This is used to indicate an unauthorised absence, where the student/parents/behaviour contact has not informed the College of the reason for their absence OR the student’s reason for absence has not been accepted.

SR – This is used to indicate a school (academic) reason for an absence. In these cases the student must still inform the College of the academic reason for their absence. The following reasons will be accepted in this situation:

  • School subject trip
  • Examination (at the time of the lesson)
  • Interview at a university
  • Agreed open day visit
  • Some other school trip
  • Student unable to start their course on time due to late registration.

1.4 Attendance for international students

Ashbourne expects regular attendance from all of its students. For students on a Tier 4 visa, if 10 consecutive expected contact points are missed without authorisation, Ashbourne is obligated to report them to UKVI. At Ashbourne, we state that a contact point is one full day of absence.

All international students are made aware of the fact that their attendance is vital to the retention of their visa as well as their academic success. Students must understand that their visa status is not final and may be jeopardised by any absenteeism. In the worst-case scenario, their visa may be revoked.

1.5 Taking holidays during term time

Holidays during term time are not permitted at Ashbourne. All absences due to late arrival from holiday after term breaks and holiday taken during term time will be marked as Unauthorised Absence (UA) in the register. Ashbourne term dates are available on our website.

If a student leaves for a break or holiday before the end of term or returns from such after the beginning of term, without permission from the Director of Studies, the student will be suspended, as this will be treated as a Level 2 breach. The student will need to have a re-entry meeting before returning to classes.

If a student who is sponsored by Ashbourne College on a Tier 4 visa leaves before the end of term or returns after the beginning of term, and the absence exceeds 10 days, the College reserves the right to report the absence to the Home Office (UKVI), which could jeopardise the student’s right to study in the UK.

If a parent or guardian believes that there are extenuating circumstances to support a request for leave during term time, such a request should be put in writing to the Head of Year and Director of Studies.

1.6 Study leave

Ashbourne respects that students revise in different ways and endeavours to organise its academic year to benefit all types of students.

Ashbourne allows three weeks of holiday during Easter, where students have the opportunity to revise at home alone or participate in ‘active revision’ by attending Ashbourne’s Easter Revision programme. Each student is given one free course and has the opportunity to sign up for additional paid courses if they feel they require extra support during this period.

During Half Term (HT4) Mock Week, fewer lessons are scheduled for Year 12 and 13 students, and students can use this time to revise at home or are welcome to use Ashbourne’s facilities to study. GCSE students will have supervised study or trip activities during this week, in addition to their mock exams.

Ashbourne’s last day of teaching is usually the last Friday in May. In the month of June Ashbourne organises 3-hour revision courses, primarily for Year 13 students which students may wish to attend if they want to prepare more thoroughly for the examinations.

In general students are not permitted to miss lessons during term-time because they wish to revise for an examination. This is true even when they have an examination in the same week as they have lessons. Nonetheless, the College will consider requests for study leave on a case-by-case basis and always with the proviso that the student ‘checks in’ at least once per week to report on progress.

Year 12 students must attend UCAS week, which usually takes place in the first week of June. This week is compulsory for all Year 12 students and is a critical part of their UCAS preparation that involves drafting their first copy of their UCAS statement.

1.7 The Attendance Officer

Daily tasks

  1. The Attendance Officer logs all messages regarding absences in the register and ensures that all registers are updated accordingly.
  2. Tutors take attendance at the beginning of each lesson.
  3. Late slips are issued by one of the reception team who then updates the register.
  4. The Attendance Officer checks the registers for Unauthorised Absences and calls students who are so absent. Parents/guardians will be contacted when necessary.

Weekly tasks

  1. The Attendance Team holds a weekly review meeting.
  2. The Attendance Officer meets with the Personal Tutors each week to decide on appropriate interventions with students whose attendance is a concern.
  3. The Attendance Officer checks that all absences are logged with the correct code.

Every Half Term

  1. The Attendance Officer analyses the data.
  2. Meetings are set up with students, parents and the Director of Studies if a student’s attendance reaches an unacceptable level.
  3. Personal Tutors meet with students regarding their performance and attendance.
  4. Emails to parents of students with persistent absence (less than 80% attendance due to authorised or unauthorised absence).
  5. Emails to parents of students with a high number of late arrivals.
  6. Emails to parents of students with a high number of late minutes.

2. A level students under 16

A level entry is typically for students who are 16 or over on the first day of term. However, Ashbourne may accept students for A level study who are not yet 16. This happens either because they are extremely able and can cope with the rigours of an A level programme, or they have completed GCSEs (or equivalent) a year early. In some of these cases, students will undertake a 2.5 or 3-year A level programme.

The Head of GCSE will be the Personal Tutor for these students who must follow the rules for GCSE students. Upon reaching 16, the Head of Year 12 will work with the Head of GCSE to ensure a smooth transition to a Personal Tutor.

Appendix 1

  1. For GCSE students attendance will be recorded at 9.00am at the start of the day and at 2.00 pm at the start of the afternoon’s classes, by the Attendance Officer.
  2. For A level students each teacher will take attendance at the beginning of each lesson they teach.
  3. Attendance will be recorded as follows: a. Present b. Absent
    1. Attending approved activity
    2. Absent because of exceptional circumstances; eg school closure
    3. AA – authorised absence
    4. UA – unauthorised absence

    Note that we have a strict policy on attendance for sixth form students.

  4. All of our data on attendance is recorded electronically and backed up with a separate number of disk drives; we keep all of our attendance data for 3 years.
  5. Failure to comply with obligations as set out in the Department for Education regulation and guidance is a criminal offence.
Authorised by The Principal
Date March 2020
Effective date of the policy March 2020
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2020