Dixons Unity Academy | Attendance
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Dixons Unity Academy


Dixons Unity Academy is committed to maximising educational opportunities and achievement for all students. For students to gain the best from their time at Dixons Unity Academy, it is vital that they achieve excellent attendance and punctuality. We strive for 100% attendance for all students unless the reason for the absence is unavoidable. The school actively promotes excellent attendance and discourages unjustified absence. 90% attendance sounds good to some people, but this is half a day missed every week



Above 97%


Above 95% but below 97%


Above 90%, but below 95%

A cause for concern

Below 90%

A serious cause for concern

If your child’s attendance is…

Then your child has been absent…

Which equates to this many weeks…

And this much learning…

Over 5 years, this equates to…


9 days

2 weeks

60 lessons

0.25 Years


19 days

4 weeks

120 lessons

0.5 Years


38 days

8 weeks

240 lessons

1 Year


57 days

11.5 weeks

345 lessons

1.25 Years

Promoting excellent attendance and punctuality prepares students for the disciplines of adult working life and is a key priority for the academy.

Guiding Principles

  • Dixons Unity Academy recognises that parents / carers have a legal responsibility to ensure their children attend school every day, (section 444 Education Act 1996).
  • The academy emphasises that it is the responsibility of everyone in the school to improve attendance and punctuality.
  • Dixons Unity Academy aims to ensure that all its students access an education which meets their needs and allows them to realise their potential.
  • The academy will strive to provide a safe and caring environment where each student can engage in all opportunities offered.
  • The academy will work with students and their families to ensure every student attends regularly and punctually.
  • The academy will challenge those students and their families that give a low priority to attendance and punctuality.
  • The academy has an effective system of communication with families together with appropriate agencies to provide mutual information and support.
  • The school will use suitable tracking strategies to recognise any trends that can damage excellent attendance and learning.
  • The school will have regard to the Equality Act and reasonable adjustments will be made for young people.

Why is regular attendance so important?

Any absence affects the pattern of a child’s schooling and regular absence seriously affects their learning. Any child’s absence can disrupt teaching routines so may affect the learning of others in the same class. Research has clearly shown that children perform significantly less well in exams and assessments if their attendance has been lower than average:

Legislation and Statutory Responsibilities

There are two types of absence:

  • Authorised (where the school approves student absence; medically evidenced, religious observance, funerals)
  • Unauthorised (where the school will not approve absence e.g., holidays during term time, taking children out without permission i.e., birthdays, parents/carers or siblings attending medical appointments etc.).

Only the school, and not parents/carers, can decide whether to authorise an absence even if you send in a note or leave a message. This is written down in the Education Registration Regulations 2006. This will show on the MyChildAtSchool App if we are not authorising your child’s absence.

Parent/carers are responsible under the Education Act 1996 for ensuring their child’s full and regular attendance at the school while they are of compulsory school age. If we have not authorised your child’s absences from the school and this becomes persistent, legal action, which can include prosecution and/or the issue of a fixed penalty notice from Leeds City Council. We will always offer you opportunities to talk to us and will try to help resolve things without going to court, but we will ask for legal action when this is necessary.

Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. In this situation it is essential that the parent / carers do not give in to pressure and allow students to stay away from school. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse. The school works to support parent/ carers to ensure that the child returns to school.


Dixons Unity Academy is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all its students. Each student’s welfare is of paramount importance. We recognise that some students may be especially vulnerable. Safeguarding the interests of each child is the responsibility of everyone and within the context of the academy, promoting the welfare and life opportunities for your child encompasses attendance, behaviour management, health and safety and access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Pupils may be at risk of harm if they are not in school regularly. Learners who are missing from school are at significant risk of being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation, underachieving, and becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) later in life. We will do everything we can to ensure our learners are safe including as per guidance in KCSIE paragraph 102 schools where reasonably possible asking for more than one emergency contact per child that is registered with the school. As such having more than one emergency contact may mean these are used to support attendance where it is not possible to make contact with parent / carer including when addressing concerns if child is missing from education.

If a pupil or student is unexpectedly absent from school, all efforts will be made to assure their whereabouts and welfare as quickly as possible. Often this will be achieved via a call home but if we do not know reason for absence or have contact from a parent/care then this will result in a home visit that confirms the child’s whereabouts. The Principal will not accept anything short of a definitive confirmation of the child’s whereabouts. The DfE guidance, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ paragraph 102 states: ‘‘Where reasonably possible, schools and colleges should hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil or student”. This goes beyond the legal minimum and is good practice to give the school or college additional options to make contact with a responsible adult when a child missing education is also identified as a welfare and/or safeguarding concern. If your child has been absent for three or more consecutive days, then a home visit may be completed to comply with our safeguarding procedures.

What you can expect from Dixons Unity Academy

  • We will promote excellent attendance and punctuality and will investigate any unexplained and/or unjustified absence.
  • We will work closely with parents/carers where student’s absence is cause for concern.
  • We will support students to achieve excellent attendance and punctuality.

What Dixons Unity Academy expects from Students:

  • To attend every day and on time.
  • To be punctual to all lessons.
  • To ensure students are resilient in making every effort to attend and stay in school despite feeling a little under the weather.

What Dixons Unity Academy expects from Parents/Carers:

Parents / Carers are asked to:

  • It is vital for safeguarding, if your child is absent, that you make the school aware.
  • Immediately inform the school if their child is unable to attend by 7:30am where possible. This can be done via a call to the Attendance Team on 0113 5125530 Option 1. A Voicemail can be left with then team if there is no answer. A member of the team will contact you if required. Alternatively email DUAattendance@dixonsua.com Please include the reason for absence and expected date of return.
  • If we do not hear from you before 9am of the day of your child’s absence, then an absence text will be sent and a member of the Attendance Team will be in contact with you.
  • Try to avoid unnecessary absences. Wherever possible make appointments for the doctors, dentists etc. outside of school hours.
  • Ask the school for help if their child is experiencing difficulties.
  • Inform the school of any change in circumstances that may impact on their child’s attendance.
  • Support the school; take every opportunity to become involved in their child’s education, form a positive relationship with school and acknowledge the importance of children receiving the same messages from both school and home.
  • Not keep their child off school to go shopping, to help at home or to look after other members of the family.
  • Avoid taking their child out of school during term-time.
  • If there is any bereavement within the immediate family, then the child will be given two days authorised absence. Any additional authorised absence will be considered on an individual basis with the Attendance Manager and the family.
  • Provide school with multiple up-to-date contact information.
  • You may be asked to provide medical evidence if a medical condition is affecting attendance or if your child’s attendance is below 90%.


  • Students are expected to arrive on site by 7:56am in-order to be ready for the start of registration at 8.00 am.
  • Students are registered at the start of every lesson each day.
  • Registers close at 8:30 am in the morning and 13:20 pm in the afternoon, after which students will be marked unauthorised absence unless a satisfactory explanation has been received.
  • The register is marked using the DfE Attendance and Absence Codes (see Appendix 1).
  • The school gates close at 7:56 am. Any student arriving after this time will need to sign in at Student Reception. They will be given a late mark on MCAS and the child and parent will be informed of a 30-minute Correction the same day.
  • Any student that arrives persistently late in a week will receive a call from the Attendance Team to discuss next steps in improving punctuality.
  • Records will be kept of students that are late.
  • Any student that arrives after the registration close at 8:30am will be marked as a U-code which if persistent will result in a fine by the Local Authority. A U code signifies the missing of a session which affects overall attendance percentage. In short punctuality is key.

Holidays in Term Time

  • The Education Pupil Registration Regulations 2013 removed all reference to “family holidays”.
  • In April 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the ban on parent / carers taking their children out of school for family holidays during term time. Delivering the verdict, Lady Hale said “Unauthorised absences have a disruptive effect, not only on the education of the individual child but also on the work of other pupils … If one pupil can be taken out whenever it suits the parent/carers, then so can others … Any education system expects people to keep to the rules. Not to do so is unfair to those obedient parent/ carers who do keep to the rules, whatever the costs or inconvenience to themselves.”
  • This means that the school will not authorise a child to take a planned absence during term time and parent/carers do not have the legal right to take children out of school for holidays.
  • Any absence, including absence for holidays, interrupts the continuity of students’ learning and students cannot “catch up”. Research shows that by missing lessons, students fall behind as lessons are not repeated at a later date.
  • Parents/carers are strongly urged not to take students out of school for holidays during term time as there is no entitlement for them to be taken out of school for such a reason. Any holidays are expected to be taken as part of the 176 days available outside term time.
  • If parent/carers take their children out of school without first seeking the school’s permission or take their children out after permission has been denied or not requested, you will receive a penalty notice fine of £60 per parent/carer per child. Failure to pay the fine at all will result in Leeds City Council taking the matter before the Magistrates Court where they could be fined up to £1,000.
  • At Dixons Unity Academy, leave of absence will only be granted by the Principal in exceptional circumstances. Family holidays do not constitute exceptional circumstances and we will ask the Local Authority to issue you with a penalty notice if we do not agree the leave of absence should be authorised.
  • Parent/carers who wish to apply for a leave of absence due to exceptional circumstances must complete the Reason for Absence Form which is available from Reception. The Attendance Team will then be in contact with you.

Attendance Mentoring

If your child’s attendance is below 97% but above 90% then your child will be assigned an Attendance Mentor. This will generally be their Form Tutor whose role will be to:

  • Discuss with the Attendance Team any reasons for absence
  • Have a weekly attendance check-in during Morning Meeting
  • Complete the Student Attendance Tracker
  • Address any further absences and support the students with attending every day to improve their YTD to at least 97%.

This monitoring period will last for 6 weeks initially with the expectation of a positive outcome. A member of the attendance team will inform you when the Attendance Mentoring process will be put into place.

Persistent Absence

A student becomes a Persistent Absentee (PA) when their Year To Date (YTD) attendance is at 90% or below for whatever reason. Absence at this level is doing considerable damage to any child’s educational prospects and we need parents’/carers’ fullest support and cooperation to address this.

Any student whose attendance has reached the PA threshold (less than 90%) or is at risk of moving towards that threshold is given priority for intervention.

Intervention will include the following:

  1. The Attendance Manger will send an Attendance Concern Letter if the Attendance Mentoring has not resulted in a positive outcome.
  2. If YTD% attendance continues to reduce at 90% or below the child will be placed on the Fast-Track process. You will be informed by the Attendance Manager of the Fast-Track process and your expected next steps.
  3. If the initial 20-day monitoring period of the Fast-Track process is not successful, and there has been further absence, you will be invited to attend a legal Student Attendance Panel (SAP) meeting in school. It is vital that the parent/care attends this meeting as this can lead to a penalty notice warning. The meeting will go ahead in any parent/care absence and meeting minutes/penalty warning notices will be hand delivered to your home address.

Severe Long-Term Absence

Where a student has been absent for a prolonged period of time, the school will endeavour to engage with the family to begin a return to school support plan. The school will:

  • Welcome the student back to the school and value their return.
  • Provide support for the student in consultation with parents/carers to enable a successful return to the school.
  • Ensure that all relevant staff are informed of the circumstances.
  • Work with other agencies, where appropriate, to ensure a successful outcome.
  • Consider a personalised programme of return, if appropriate.
  • Nominate a key member of staff to monitor and review the student’s return.

Legislation and Guidance:

  • If all the above support and interventions are unsuccessful in increasing your child’s attendance, the following process will begin as stated by the guidance from the Department for Education (DfE).
  • The Attendance Manager will collate chronological evidence of support and interventions and you may be asked to attend a SAP meeting.
  • Regular home visits by safeguarding/Safer Schools Police Officer.
  • Potential legal intervention requests will be submitted to Leeds City Council which could result in a Magistrates Court Hearing resulting in further sanctions.
  • The expectation always remains that your child should attend school every day, even at this stage.

Promoting Excellent Attendance and Punctuality

  • Students are informed weekly of their attendance levels and, if appropriate, how they can improve.
  • Students whose attendance falls below 95% will be set targets for improvement and progress towards these targets will be regularly reviewed.
  • Excellent and improved attendance and punctuality will be promoted and rewarded regularly throughout the year as part of our recognition event.
  • Students, parents/carers and staff are regularly reminded about the importance of excellent attendance.
  • Parents/carers are encouraged to contact the Attendance/Pastoral Team at any time to discuss their child’s attendance.
  • Regular meetings will be held with the appropriate members of staff/external agencies to identify and support those students whose attendance is a cause for concern.
  • Students who have been absent for extended periods of time will be supported as appropriate to re‐integrate back into the school.
  • Effective links are made with primary schools to facilitate the smooth transition to Dixons Unity Academy