Regular school attendance is an important part of giving children the best possible start in life!
Our commitment to improving rates of attendance remains a key priority. We believe that attendance and punctuality is part of good behaviour with our aim to strive for 100% attendance and punctuality for each child. We must support all families to ensure all children are up, ready and motivated to get to school on time and to have high rates of attendance.
We are committed to:
- promoting the positives of attendance
- having clear escalation systems for absence
- addressing persistent absence quickly
- working with external agencies for exceptional cases
We believe that attendance is a shared responsibility and the following is key:
- effective leadership overseeing attendance
- high quality teaching and learning to engage and enthuse all pupils
- strong pastoral and safeguarding systems
- effective monitoring and robust administration protocols to act upon absence
- a warm welcome and clear routines for catch up upon pupils’ return* from absence
*we know that absence from school can result in a dip in academic and social stamina, tiredness and difficulties in re-adapting to the school routines”
Our safeguarding message is clear for the community; if we can’t see a child, we don’t know they’re safe. We know there are a wider range of factors which can affect attendance including Covid, long-term illness and longer respiratory infections.
The facts are that children who frequently miss school fall behind in their learning and do less well in exams. We recommend that all parents read the following helpful guide produced by Dorset Council : https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/w/school-attendance?p_l_back_url=%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dattendance
All absences must be reported to the school office on each day of your child’s absence. Please supply information from the child’s GP as to why they are away, failure to do so may result in an unauthorised absence.
If we do not hear from you and your child is absent, we may need to escalate our concern to Dorset Council social care/Dorset Police in order to ensure you and your child are safe.
Our attendance policy clearly and comprehensively explains the attendance expectations we have of all pupils and this expectation is shared with the West Dorset Collaboration of Schools. A copy of our policy can be found here.
Penalty Notices for unauthorised absence
The school is maintained by Dorset Council and their code of conduct relating to unauthorised absences and fixed penalty notices is included in the policy above.
Working together to support good attendance
We monitor our attendance daily.
If you find that getting your child to school on time is difficult, please contact the school in the first instance. We are here to help your child achieve.
We may be able to facilitate support from the West Locality early help or inclusion team to help you.
Leave of absence requests
After the challenges of recent years, we expect every effort to be made to avoid further disruption to a pupil’s education. This means avoiding booking holidays and routine medical appointments during the school day.
Exceptional and unavoidable
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.
Leave of absence form
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.
It is important for parents/carers to note that once the school have requested that the Local Authority issue a Fixed Penalty Notice for a period of unauthorised leave in term time, they will not have an opportunity to discuss this matter further with the Local Authority. Any queries or discussions should be had prior to, or at the time of requesting the leave.