We expect students to have an attendance of over 95% unless there is a known medical reason of why it might be lower than this. Evidence shows that attendance lower than 95% adversely affects the grades that students achieve and this can seriously affect their future. Evidence also shows that if a student has attendance as low at 90% then they are likely to achieve a grade lower than they should in every subject that they study. It is also worth noting that the average attendance for people in work is 97% so even 95% is slightly lower that the average of working adults.
Due to the clear link between attendance and achievement, and in line with common practice in many Haringey schools, we do not automatically authorise absence when a parent informs us of it if a student’s attendance is lower than 96% unless we have a doctor’s note or appointment card as proof of why a student is absent. It is still important from a child safety and protection point of view that parents keep us informed about absence as there is a big difference between an absence that a parent is aware of but that we unable to authorise and an absence that is unexplained.
We have this procedure in place to emphasise the importance of attendance and to maximise the achievement of students at Highgate Wood School. If a student does have an ongoing medical issue and we have a doctor’s note informing us of this and specifying the likely effects of them attending school, then we will of course authorise absences on an individual basis even if this leads to a lower attendance than 95%.
We endeavour to be flexible and we treat all students as individuals.