Maximising Attendance

Maximising attendance at Dalkeith High School: Information for parents/carers

Good attendance is crucial to ensure that young people achieve and attain at the highest possible level. Further to this, the school’s responsibilities around safeguarding require that we account for the whereabouts of all the young people in our care throughout the school day.

All parents/carers are reminded of the information below:

Reporting an absence
Please telephone the school on 0131 654 4701 as early as possible on the day of absence or before. If this is before 8am, or the phone lines are particularly busy, you may have to leave a message with your child’s name, register class, and a brief reason for absence. Otherwise, please give the information to the member of the office staff who answers the call. If you can tell us when your child will return to school the office staff will note this information. If the child returns at this time then no further contact is required. If the return is delayed please phone again to update information.

If you have been unable to contact the school on the day of your child’s absence, please do so upon your child’s return. This can be done through a phone call or through a note handed into the office.

If the school does not have a reason for absence, it will be recorded as an unauthorised absence.

Where attendance drops below 90% for a prolonged period of time, or where no reasons for absences have been provided, there is a staged process whereby parents/carers are contact in writing to highlight the issue and establish the reasons for the absences.

Truancy call
Dalkeith High School uses ‘Truancy Call’, a computerised system, in order to monitor attendance. If parents have not contacted school on the morning of an absence an automatic message will be triggered to alert parents of pupil absence. It is important that pupils arrive on time to all classes to avoid inaccurate truancy calls being made. In addition, senior staff may ask for a truancy call to be made if a pupil has been registered as in attendance that day, but has not attended a particular class. Anomalies in registers are followed up by our Pupil Support Administrator and our Pupil Support Leaders and contact home will be made where pupils are persistently missing classes without legitimate reason.

In some cases, a pupil who has been truanting will be placed on a daily monitoring card to ensure their safety. This is required to be signed by parents/carers on a daily basis.

Dental and Medical appointments
Please try to make medical and dental appointments outwith the school day where possible. When this is not possible, please telephone the school and leave a message with the school office staff stating the time your child will leave school and when they might be expected to return. Alternatively, a letter of notification may be handed into the school office.

Family holidays
According to Scottish Government guidelines, family holidays during term time are recorded as unauthorised absence. We strongly recommend that parents do not arrange term-time holidays, as these disrupt progress in learning. If it is essential that holidays are arranged in term time then you should request permission in writing. The letter should be addressed to the Headteacher.

Senior phase attendance
The SQA examination diet takes place from the end of April through to June each year. Some courses, especially those with a practical assessment element, will involve completion of part of the exam earlier than this. Pupils will be notified in good time of the dates of these examinations (and can check the programme through the year on the SQA website) and parents must not arrange holidays for their children when they have these national examinations. Further to this, most pupils in the senior phase will undertake preliminary examinations in January and February and are likely to be engaged in assessment activities throughout the year. Consequently, absence during S4-S6 is particularly detrimental to progress and attainment.