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Attendance Policy


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I don't have one either, but I think it might be a good idea to have one: I note that at least one local authority is clawing back FE from settings where a child has been absent, so it might be good to cover this with parents?

surely if pre-school is not compulsory how are they going to do this?...we have children who go to other countires on a regular basis, so avoiding the high cost of summer hols

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I don't have one either, but I think it might be a good idea to have one: I note that at least one local authority is clawing back FE from settings where a child has been absent, so it might be good to cover this with parents?

I just used to state that fees had to be paid when children were absent on my registration form and invoices. Perhaps you could add something similar to say that parents agree to pay for any missed sessions in the event that the LA reclaims nursery education funding for sessions when children are absent?

 

However, as finlaysmaid says, pre-school is entirely optional so I'm not sure how that will work in practice: this is the last time families have the flexibility to be able to take off for a long weekend or whatever without the need to ask for permission. :o

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I don't know finleysmaid, but it was in Nursery world magazine a couple of weeks ago. Some of the clawback WAS due to settings claiming incorrectly, it seems, but other instances were for general non-attendance. I guess we're in harsh times; if a parent asks for 15 hours, but uses only say, 10 on a regular basis, should that be paid back? and if so, where does that leave the settings? What I was agreeing with as far as the OP goes, was that maybe it's a good idea to tighten up contracts to say something along the line of' if you claim XX number of hours, then your child must use them, as our setting may be asked to pay the money back to the LEA'? I don't know where this leaves us, as legally we'd be hog-tied wouldn't we, as we can't legally charge for anything up to the 15 hours.

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Our Lea insists! we should have written reason for more than 5 missed sessions in a row. Have made up short form for parents but we usually have text to say sick or they let us know that it will be holiday etc. Not been checked yet but I think it is to cover overclaiming by some settings rather than general absences. Have warned one parent that as child has only made 1 Thursday this term that they may lose funding without good reason for non attendance. Mum told us Dad couldn't be bothered! to bring child. Attendance has improved since.

Korkycat

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Our LA did recover money for regular non attendance of a child , they did regular audits of our register and the funding claimed and billed us if a parent was claiming 5 days a week but only regularly attending 4.. same for long holidays any more than 10 days and they reclaimed the money.. we had to tell parents that if they went away any longer we could not hold the place unless they paid for it, and by not paying there may not be a place on their return as we would fill the session if we could.

 

we had to have a written letter/note for every absence a child had, and keep it with the register... I had a book with the register and gave it to parents to fill in when the child returned if thy did not have a note to give me.. I asked them to fill in name , date of absence, date of return and reason and they had to sign it.. even one day off had to be covered.. and yes they did check them when we had an audit.. not every entry but several at random..

 

it was to stop those parents who claimed for more sessions than they attended ( and settings who told parents to do it :o )

 

They started it a long time ago now at least 4 years and still ask for it to be done.. a nightmare chasing the parents, and tons more paper to find somewhere to keep..

 

Preschool may not be compulsory but someone is paying for it so they should be aware of this and realise that if they don't attend regularly then they will lose the funding for it..

 

 

so maybe things like this need to be included,

payment in advance

all sessions to be paid for even if non attendance due to illness/holidays etc

a written note on return to explain absence

 

must be more ... think we had a lot of this in a fees policy though not attendance..

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someone is paying for it

 

Yup - we are, through our taxes.

 

I think on that basis there's a moral responsibilty to take being given free childcare seriously and responsibly. And that would include a commitment to attendance in my estimation.

 

Sounds harsh but I've often seen the difference non-attendance habits make further up the school, and those habits start early.

 

Cx

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firstly blondie sorry i seem to have hijacked your thread a bit!! although i understand that some LEA's are protecting their money in a way i think it is our money as tax payers! also i firmly believe in parents having choices and pre-school offers them flexibility ...if little Johnny is feeling tired or they want to go to legoland then they should be able to opt to do that, after all we should be encouraging parents to do things with their children, not removing them as the government seems to be wanting to do at the moment.(but thats another rant for another day!!) and lets face it the lea's do not pay us enough as it is (or as much as school settings!) also what happens if a child has an sen need/illness that requires them to have extra time off...do they get penalised for that??

i am glad our lea has not gone down this line yet...though reading this post they may decide to now :o

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but...............would they decide to go to Legoland etc if THEY had to pay for the missed session at the setting?? It might well be our money as taxpayers, but with my moral head on, if the money isn't being used as intended AND for example, a respite group has to close because the Council don't have the money to pay for it,because that money has been spent on children who don't use the places. then surely that can't be right? If you claim the money for sessions, then it's only right that those sessions should be taken up, unless there is a darned good reason, such as genuine illness ( and not a case such as I had last week......Oh, sorry J isn't coming today, she said she wanted to go to the other group because her friend is down there today '........well, fine, but who should pay for that? Me, by taking the hit and giving them the hours next time? Or mum, who chooses to let her little one pick and choose?Or us as taxpayers because we pay for her not to come?). I think, as things become harsher, there will be a tightening up on this and maybe that's as it should be.

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I think there's an assumption being made here that attending pre-school sessions is always the best thing for the child.

 

High quality pre-school education is good for children but so is high quality time with parents and if the child has days he or she doesn't feel like attending or there's a more attractive/educational/emotionally supportive activity on offer is that really a problem? The money paid to the setting for their place then pays for a higher staff ratio for the children who are there. It is not wasted. It's a win/win situation really.

 

Preschool education is voluntary and I don't feel that we have the right to ask parents to explain their child's absence. If little Johnny's mum decided this morning that the weather was lovely and she would forego the chance to catch up on the ironing and take him out to the countryside centre surely she shouldn't be made to feel guilty?

 

Obviously if a large percentage of the sessions were unused and this was preventing another child from benefiting from a place that would be a different matter but this isn't school. Surely the most important thing is what is right for the child and, within reason, that should include allowing their parents the flexibility to decide whether they take up their place in pre-school or not on any given day.

 

If the local authorities are going to start trying to claw back money for unused sessions perhaps we, as practitioners, should explain to them the benefits of putting the needs of the child first. Otherwise we might find that those children who need these places most don't benefit from them because their parents are too concerned about being asked to pay penalties for non-attendance.

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think i have opened a real can of worms here - lol.

its just that as part of our funding agreement we have to

have an attendance policy which ensures follow up of non-attendance, for purposes of safeguarding and accurate funding

whatever that means and entails - any ideas ? x

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I have 1 child who is booked in for 5 sessions but this term can only attend 4 as his parents are attending a course to support the child through an autistic spectrum diagnosis. The course runs into the afternoon so the child goes to grandparents in a different town that day.

 

Now saying to the parents they'd loose the space or have to pay would be discriminatory (plus if grandparents are ill we would have the child anyway), but I know the reason for absence.

 

So I guess putting codes in the register to explain absence would be a good idea as schools do. And keeping a record of why children are absent in their personal files so we can track patterns.

 

We do have to notify various people if a child with Child Protection issues is absent. I know that's not what the initial question was about but just wanted to add that!

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High quality time with family is important no-one would disagree with that at all. But equally,catma made a sound point about establishing attendance patterns too. I have had children who are most definately better off in the setting than at home, though of course some children wouldn't perhaps come at all if it weren't for the FE. I also agree that the occasional day out/off for a trip out, or whatever, is fine, of course it is.

But If parents had to pay for the missed sessions I think they would use them more efficiently. I certainly couldn't run my setting on a premis of 'Little Jonny has gone to visit his friends today, so I won't charge for his missed session ' and that is my point..........because it is free, to everyone, regardless, some people abuse it ( as people always will). I have had all sorts of suggestions of how to use the FE to benefit the younger child in the family ( well, it's 15 hours, so if I send Suzy for 9, her little sister could use the other 6 couldn't she??). I simply feel that if you claim it, you should use it.

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