Ensuring that your child arrives in school every day, on time and ready to learn is the most important commitment that we ask of parents and carers.

We understand that children get unwell and may need to miss the occasional day off school. However, where children are consistently absent from school for a day or even a morning every week there is a proven negative effect on their achievement, their friendships and their overall well-being.

A large number of our pupils do manage to attend for 100 per cent of the time, and as a minimum we look for at least 96% attendance for every pupil.

Where a child’s attendance falls below 96% or is sporadic, we will seek to understand any ways in which the school is able to support families to ensure that children are in school every day and on time. Where the issue cannot be resolved at schools level and attendance does not improve, it may be necessary to involve the Local Authority, who have the power to take legal action as appropriate.

Why is good attendance and punctuality so important to attend every day?

A good education gives a child the best possible start in life. We must ensure that all our pupils have an equal chance to make good use of the education that the school offers by providing a positive and encouraging atmosphere. To achieve this it is important that each child attends school regularly and punctually. When a child does not attend school regularly and on time they will have difficulty keeping up with their work and will therefore underachieve.

The school recognises that parents have a vital role to play in supporting and encouraging good attendance and punctuality. By accepting responsibility in partnership with the school, we can work together to ensure the children’s right to a full education, as well as enabling parents to fulfil their legal responsibility.

It is very important for all children to attend school every day and to arrive on time. 

School starts promptly at 8:40 am, we encourage children to be on-site by 8.30 am. This is essential to ensure that children benefit fully from classroom learning and that other children’s learning is not disrupted.

  • Learning is a progressive activity; each day’s lessons build upon those of the previous day(s).
  • Reading the material and completing work independently does not compensate for direct interaction with the teacher.
  • Many classes use discussions, demonstrations, experiments and participation as part of the daily learning activities, and these cannot be made up by those who are absent.

Are there other benefits to my child?

  • Pupils with good attendance records generally achieve higher grades and enjoy school more.
  • Having a good education will help to give your child the best possible start in life.
  • Regular school attendance patterns encourage the development of other responsible patterns of behaviour.

What are the risks of frequent absences?

  • A child who does not attend school regularly will be unlikely to keep up with the work.
  • The more pupils miss school, the more they struggle to make progress in their learning; the more they struggle to make progress in their learning, the less they want to stay in school.
  • Please see the link below with helpful advice for parents:

Please see the link below with helpful advice for parents:

Dorset Schools attendance advice

Absences From School

Usually, the only acceptable reason for a pupil to miss a day of school is if they are too ill to attend.  If this is the case, you should ring the school office by 9:00 am.

If you are not sure in the morning whether your child is well enough for school please refer to the guidance in the link below. If your child becomes unwell during the day, we will ring and ask you to arrange for them to be collected.

Medical Appointments

Medical appointments should be made out of school hours where ever possible. If your child has to see a doctor or dentist in school time they should attend school for as much of the day as possible. It is not permitted to take a whole day off school for a medical appointment.  Evidence for medical appointments will need to be provided if they are during the school day. 

Holidays during Term Time

Head Teachers are only allowed to grant leave of absence from school in exceptional circumstances. The decision as to whether any request is considered as ‘exceptional circumstances’ rests solely with the Head Teacher.

The fundamental principles for defining ‘exceptional’ are rare, significant, unavoidable and short. ‘Unavoidable’ should be taken to mean an event that could not reasonably be scheduled at another time.

In considering whether or not to authorise a request for exceptional leave of absence in term time, the Head Teacher will look at each individual case and only grant authorisation if the circumstances are truly exceptional.

If you choose to take your child out of school during term time, a leave request form should be completed, these are available from the school office.

Any request should be made prior to the leave of absence and should be submitted to the school using the Request for Leave of Absence form.  Parents/Carers may be asked to provide additional information/evidence or meet with the school to discuss the circumstances.

Notification of the decision and possible consequences

Parents/Carers will be notified of the Head Teacher’s decision at the earliest opportunity. If the circumstances are not considered to be exceptional then parents/carers will be informed of this and made aware that the Local Authority may be asked to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. A Fixed Penalty Notice can be issued to each parent/carer liable for the offence regarding each of their children.

Attendance Process

If your child is absent from school we ask that you please inform the school office via telephone on the first day of absence before 9.00 am and provide a reason for your child’s absence.
If no reason for absence is provided, you will receive a phone call from one of our Attendance Officers. If we are unable to reach you for a reason to be provided, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised.

Our safeguarding message is clear for the community; if we can’t see a child, we don’t know they’re safe.

Dorset County School attendance and absence guidance page