Attendance, Appointments and Holidays

Attendance

Attendance at lessons is a basic requirement of learning, and will be a key focus when monitoring student progress. Monitoring student attendance and responding to absence is the responsibility of all teaching staff and personal tutors.

Prompt intervention and response to student absence is crucial: timely support will help students to stay on course and improve retention. For some students, referral to Support4Learning, the Attendance Mentor, a Study Mentor and/or Student Services (to access pastoral services) will be part of this.

The College sets out in the Student Code of Conduct clear expectations of students in relation to attendance and punctuality. The link between attendance and achievement is emphasised to individual students at all stages. Students are expected to attend and be punctual for all lessons and tutorial sessions (ie 0% unauthorised absence). Reasons for absence/lateness must be reported to the College and/or explained to staff.

Students or parents are expected to contact the college prior to the absence on each and every day that they are absent, unless it is a long-term absence of which the college is aware. All absences will be classed as ‘unauthorised’ unless there is a valid reason. It is the responsibility of the student/parent to ask for absences to be authorised, and Student Services will make judgements case by case. A form notifying the college of known/planned absences such as family holidays is available from Student Services. This ‘Planned Absence Form’ can also be used to request that an absence resulting from, for example, a medical appointment or a funeral be authorised. Students are not expected to take holidays in term time. The calendar of dates for the college shows that students have fourteen weeks’ leave and they are expected to take their holidays at these times. Holidays in term time are very strongly discouraged and will almost certainly be classed as ‘unauthorised’.

Information about attendance patterns will be available to staff on ProMonitor / IRIS so that any inconsistencies, worrying patterns of attendance etc. can be highlighted and discussed with the student. Parents/guardians will have up-to-date attendance information at all times on ProPortal (the Parent Portal), and text messages sent to the parent’s mobile phone will refer them to ProPortal.

Punctuality is a key aspect of attendance, and prepares students for life outside college. We have a ‘Knock and Wait’ policy for students arriving to lessons late. It is college policy that students arriving more than 5 minutes late to a lesson are marked in the register as ‘late’ (L). If a student arrives at a lesson more than 10 minutes late, they are marked as ‘very late’ (V) and the number of minutes is recorded.

Itchen Financial Support (IFS) is a means-tested award designed to remove some of the financial barriers to post-16 study. It is administered by Student Services and is intended to contribute towards costs resulting from attendance at college (e.g. transport, books, educational trips). Eligibility for payment is based on household income, attendance and progress towards learning goals.

It is college policy that students who fail to achieve at least 90% attendance in a course may be asked to pay a proportion of their exam entry fees and/or registration fees, and may be unable to progress to the next level or year of the course.

A significant number of students start their courses at Itchen with Mental Health issues. We understand that we have a role to play in supporting these students to be resilient and mentally healthy. The support begins early, with applicants who may need additional support identified before enrolment through effective information sharing with partner schools.

The Lead DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead) has established links with SENCOs from partner schools and meets them to plan the right approach for applicants with mental health conditions to ensure a smooth and successful transition to college. The Lead DSL and the Guidance and Support Manager will see all identified students at enrolment.

Our expectations of these students will be as high as other students, but they will be supported through a programme managed by the Lead DSL and the G&S Manager. The Wellbeing Hub in the College Centre supports students with the development of their wellbeing and resilience by signposting them to appropriate support. Our priority at all times is to support students to get to lessons and to improve their resilience.