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Report a Student Absence

If a student is going to be absent from college, their parent/carer must advice the college as early as possible. This can be done via School Gateway, the 24 hour absence line on 01803 408841 or by email to attendance@thespirescollege.com.  

Pastoral Support Managers oversee attendance for their year groups. Sixth Form absences can be reported via School Gateway, an email to sixthform@thespirescollege.com or a call made to 01803 408852.

The Government regulations for absence mean that, by law, we are not permitted to authorise absence during term except for in exceptional circumstances, e.g. seeing a parent on leave from the Armed Forces, or days of religious observance. Under this law, holidays do not qualify as an exceptional circumstance. The regulations state that exceptional leave must be requested in advance from the Principal and must come from the parent with whom the child normally resides.  This is done by completing an absence request form, which are available from the main reception office.  A student who is absent for more than four college weeks may be removed from roll.

Maximum attendance to college is vital in order for students to achieve their full potential and avoid gaps in their learning. Students are expected to attend punctually for the 190 days per year that the college is open. We recognise there may be unavoidable absence such as genuine illness and occasional medical/dental appointments but ask you keep these to a minimum, try to make them outside of college hours and only keep your child away for the time needed, rather than the whole day.

ENCOURAGING GOOD ATTENDANCE AT THE SPIRES COLLEGE

Parents/carers should encourage their children to be punctual to college and lessons at all times as this not only reduces interruptions to their learning but also teaches them the importance of being reliable and conscientious.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: My child seems ill, but I don’t think it’s severe enough for him/her to take the day off.  What should I do?
A: Feeling under the weather – colds, headaches, stomach pains etc., affect us all, but not to the point that we need to miss school or work.  If students need to take medicine at college their parent/carer will need to complete a form to request that medication is administered in college.  These forms are available from the main reception office.  All medicine must be in the original packaging, clearly labelled with the following information:

  • Child’s name
  • Name of medication
  • Dosage
  • Frequency of dosage
  • Date of dispensing
  • Storage requirements (if important)
  • Expiry date

Students must not bring any medication, including painkillers available over the counter, into college without the above conditions being met and all medication must be kept in a locked cabinet in the medical room.  A child who has an injury that affects their mobility can be allowed out of lessons five minutes early and may use the lift.

Q: My child claims to be ill but I don’t think it’s genuine. What should I do?
A: Sometimes your child may want to avoid school and this may indicate that there are wider issues that need addressing.  Please send your child to school and contact their Head of Year or Pastoral Support Manager about the situation so that they can investigate any possible issues your child may be having.  Please see 'Contact Us' page for their details.

Q: My child is definitely ill with a fever.  What should I do next?
A: Contact the 24 hour absence line on 01803 408841, or email attendance@thespirescollege.com by 9 am on the morning of the absence.  We may ask you to provide medical evidence, in the form of a copy of a prescription, a medical appointment card or a doctor’s note (for a lengthy absence) upon your child’s return.  If the illness is so severe that the absence will be for a week or more, we can arrange for work to be sent home to reduce the disruption to your child’s education.  Please contact the Pastoral Support Manager of your child’s year group to arrange this.  See 'Contact Us' page for their details.

Q: My child has a doctor’s appointment during school time. What should I do?
A: Please try to avoid doctors’ and dentists’ appointments during the school day.  Appointments with your GP are usually available after school hours as surgeries are open until at least 5 pm.  If your child must attend an appointment, for example at hospital where there is less flexibility, please ensure that he/she attends school for part of the day at least and use the pink notes in your child’s planner to advise why he/she will be arriving late or leaving early.

Q: There is a family wedding during term-time. Can we take the day/s as holiday?
A: No.  Schools may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  A request for leave during term time can be made by completing an Absence Request Form; these are available from the main reception office.  Any leave taken without permission will be entered on the register as unauthorised absence and the college is obliged to refer any student who has an unauthorised absence of 10 days to the Attendance Improvement Team at Torbay Council as a ‘Child Missing Education’ (a shorter period is in place where child protection issues have been identified).  If an unauthorised absence continues for 20 days the student may be taken off roll and will need to reapply for a school place.  Re-admission cannot be guaranteed.

Q: My child’s report shows a number of unauthorised absences. What does this mean?
A: These are absences we do not consider reasonable and for which we have not given permission.  They may include: parents keeping children off school unnecessarily; truancy; absences that are not properly explained; or times where students have arrived to school too late to be marked as ‘present’ for the morning. 

Q: My child’s report shows a number of unauthorised late marks. What does this mean?
This means that your child has arrived at school after 8.30 am without good reason.  Dropping off a brother or sister at school, the alarm clock not going off or ongoing problems with transport are not valid reasons for lateness and will be recorded as unauthorised late marks.

To avoid lateness, we advise students to be on site in time for them to make their way to tutor rooms for registration when the bell sounds at 8.25 am.  Students who are not in their tutor rooms by the bell that sounds at 8.30 am will be classed as late and will be issued with a detention after college that day.  Parents will be notified when late detentions are issued.

The Spires College will refer all unauthorised term time absences to the Local Authority for consideration of a Penalty Notice.  Please see the Attendance Policy on the Policies page of this website and the information letter from Torbay Council regarding the consequences of student absence in term time, on the Letters page.