Attendance and Absence
STUDENTS are expected to attend ALL their classes and engage appropriately in their studies. It is recognised that on occasion students may need to have a period of absence. These guidelines explain how Further Education students should notify the College of an absence, whether that absence counts as an “authorised absence” and how absences may affect any Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and / or Bursary funding received from the College.
Students must advise the College every day (or part of a day) of an absence using the ABSENCE REPORTING PROCEDURE detailed later in these guidelines. Students must advise the College that they will not be attending on the day of their absence and provide evidence of their absence, if appropriate, when they are next in College.
EMA and Bursary funding is subject to satisfactory attendance and engagement on the course for which funding was awarded and this will be monitored on an individual basis by the student’s Personal Development Advisor (PDA) and the Funding Team.
Students in receipt of an EMA are required to maintain 100% attendance (including authorised absences) to guarantee their funding.
Students should be aware that the College may withhold / cancel payments if their conduct, progress and attendance is not considered satisfactory.
Absences can be authorised providing the ABSENCE REPORTING PROCEDURE has been followed, the reason for the absence is appropriate and documentation has been submitted (if required). Levels and patterns of authorised absence will be monitored by the students PDA / Funding Team.
Any absence that is not considered a valid authorised absence will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. Examples of absences which will not be authorised are driving lessons, holidays (including pre-booked holidays) and work. If a student is absent for a reason which he / she feels is justified, including a family emergency, the student should email their PDA to provide further information.
The following reasons can result in an authorised absence:
- Ill health - absences up to 5 days require the student to contact the College in line with the Absence Reporting Procedure. Absences of more than five days up to a maximum of four weeks require a medical certificate from a doctor (if a period of absence extends beyond 4 weeks, students must contact their PDA). Students with an ongoing medical condition that may affect their attendance whilst they are at college are advised to contact their PDA as soon as possible.
- Medical / dental appointments for either the student, their child or a dependent adult. Every effort should be made to avoid making appointments when classes are scheduled. If this is not possible, appointment cards / texts / hospital letters must be provided.
- Jury duty / court appearances - a Court citation and / or a letter from a solicitor or court official must be provided.
- Religious holidays / festivals – please provide details when reporting the absence.
- Unexpected caring responsibilities – for example, the ill health of the student’s child(ren) or a dependent adult.
- Care related responsibilities – for example, attendance at a children’s hearing, meetings related to caring responsibilities / needs. Relevant documentation should be provided, if appropriate.
- Driving test / university or college interviews / job interviews - written appointment / interview details must be provided.
- Bereavement / funeral - for family members / close friends.
- Work experience placements – relevant to a student’s course and sanctioned by their PDA / relevant member of academic team.
- Severe weather / transport breakdown - considered for authorisation on an individual basis.
- Exam preparation – must be agreed by PDA / relevant member of academic team.
- Fulfilment of an official position – for example HISA representation. Relevant documentation should be provided.
- Maternity /paternity / adoption leave – Maternity leave is available up to a maximum of four weeks and paternity leave up to a maximum of two weeks. Supporting documentary evidence will be required.
Attendance and Engagement
Students should aim to attend 100% of their classes. Attendance will be monitored, for funding purposes, over a two-week period and will take account of both authorised and unauthorised absences. If a student’s attendance is causing concern, the student will be contacted by their PDA.
As well as attendance, consideration will be given, in consultation with PDA’s / academic members of staff, to whether a student has taken reasonable steps to engage with their studies. Examples of engagement include the student:
- keeping up to date with learning by obtaining lecture notes, online resources, or other learning materials from relevant staff members
- handing in assignments at the correct time, unless there are mitigating factors
- continuing to meet learning objectives.
Attendance and engagement will be monitored on an ongoing basis by the College. Failure to maintain appropriate levels of attendance and engagement and respond to communication from the College may result in the suspension and / or cancellation of any funding awarded.
Students should advise the Student Funding Team if they decide to withdraw from their course to reduce the risk of overpayment of any funding.