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Attendance Policy


Cerne Abbas CE VC First School, Duck Street, Cerne Abbas, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 7LA – 01300 341319




Attendance Policy 


Date of policy  September 2022

Date reviewed by the

Governing Body

FGB 29/09/2022

Member of staff responsible in

Cerne Abbas CE VC First School

Catherine Cresswell
Review dateSept  2025


Our vision is to be the best we can be.

We are committed to nurturing every child to thrive in a safe and engaging environment based on our Christian values of Peace, Trust, Friendship, Joy, Courage and Forgiveness. We strive to develop happy and confident learners ready to face the challenges of their next steps.


Our school will offer an environment in which pupils feel valued and welcome.


Pupils will know that their presence is important.


Rights and Responsibilities of Parents/Carers


Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child attends school regularly, punctually, properly equipped and in a fit condition to learn.


If a child is prevented for any reason from attending, or is late, parents are requested to notify the school as soon as possible on each day of absence - by phone call or message.


A pupil’s absence from school must be considered as unauthorised until a satisfactory explanation is received.


Attendance will be raised with parents prior to commencing school.


Parents will be informed if concerns about attendance arise and be given the opportunity to discuss these concerns with a member of staff.


Pupils who do experience attendance difficulties will be offered prompt and sympathetic support, initially from the class teacher and should the need arise, from the Head Teacher.




Pupils should be aware of the importance of maintaining their attendance at the highest possible level.  This will be encouraged through positive strategies and rewards.


All pupils are expected to attend school regularly and punctually.


Attendance will be monitored using individual attendance records.




The Head Teacher will report termly to the governing body on attendance matters and attendance information will be incorporated in the annual reports to parents.



Staff will endeavour to encourage good attendance and punctuality.


Attendance is the responsibility of all school staff (not just teaching and pastoral staff). Staff will respond to absenteeism firmly, consistently and with care.



The school will employ a range of strategies to encourage good attendance and punctuality and will promptly investigate all absences, liaising closely with parents.




Approved Education Activity

Time out of school to take part in:

  • Sporting activity
  • Educational visits i.e. to other schools
  • Lessons in other schools


are recorded as present, even though the pupil is not physically on the school premises.


Unauthorised Absence


Absence will not be authorised for:

  • Family holidays (unless in exceptional circumstances – see below)
  • Shopping
  • Looking after family members
  • Birthdays or similar events
  • Theatre Visits / Concerts
  • Any work (paid or unpaid) undertaken in school hours.


Holidays in Term Time

The Headteacher cannot grant leave of absence during term time for family holidays unless there are exceptional circumstances. Any absence due to family holidays will be recorded as unauthorised. If circumstances are deemed exceptional a maximum of 10 days may be granted.


If a pupil is persistently absent and the school’s efforts to effect an improvement have been unsuccessful, the matter will be referred to the Locality Team.


Pupils who are absent through sickness for an extended time (over 2 weeks) will be provided with work to be completed at home and will be re-integrated back into school on their return as appropriate.


Following up Lateness and Absence


It is a parent’s responsibility to contact school as soon as possible on each day of absence.


If a pupil is absent regularly, or unnecessarily, the school will contact parents, to notify them of the school’s concern and emphasising statutory obligations to ensure children attend.


Once the school has exhausted all actions outlined in the guidance issued in ‘‘School Attendance – Good Practice and Procedures’’ with no improvement, a request for involvement will be made to the Locality Team. Consultation between the school and the Locality Social Worker will be arranged to set targets for, and to support poor attendees.  Other services e.g. Child and Family Guidance will be consulted where appropriate.


Regular liaison between feeder First school and Middle schools will be sought in order to identify pupils who may require extra support during the transition.



Promoting Attendance


The parents of every child of compulsory school age are legally required to ensure he/she receives efficient, full-time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and to any special needs he/she may have, either by attendance at school or otherwise. Failure to do so is an absolute offence.



(Section 444, 1996 Education Act)

Registers will be taken punctually each day at the published registration time.


If a pupil arrives after registers close (20 minutes after the published register time of 8.45am) they should report to the school office.  When a pupil misses registration altogether and fails to provide an adequate explanation then that pupil will be marked as an unauthorised absentee for the session.


Authorised Absence

Absences will be authorised for:

  • Sickness
  • Unavoidable medical/dental appointments and
  • Exceptional circumstances such as:
  • Emergency Services personnel and other employees who have restricted holiday periods and are prevented from taking holidays during school holidays;
  • When a family needs to spend time together to support each other during or after a crisis;
  • Parents who are subject to a strict and non-negotiable holiday rota and evidence is provided to this effect e.g. prison employees.
  • Attendance at an immediate family member’s wedding 
  • Attendance at an immediate family member’s funeral
  • Leave following the return of a lengthy absent parent i.e. from military service


Whenever possible, medical/dental appointments should be made outside school hours.






It is essential that children and young people form good habits of regular attendance at school from an early age and that good attendance is maintained throughout their school career. The schools within the Dorchester Area School Partnership (DASP) deem attendance of 95%+ to be good.  All DASP Schools are committed to working together to ensure that there is a consistent approach to school attendance and to supporting parents and carers to achieve good attendance for the children and young people in their care. It is a legal requirement that all children should attend their educational provision and it is the parent/carer's responsibility to ensure that their children attend school.  To ensure this, all schools in DASP have agreed the following:


  • It is important that pupils are in school on time.  Time keeping is not only important in obtaining maximum benefit from education, it is also a key skill for adult life.  Lateness is monitored by the school and contributes to absence rates.


  • Schools will monitor the attendance of pupils and work closely with Dorset County Council’s School Attendance Service to support parents and carers, children and young people where attendance levels are causing concern.


  • Whilst we understand that children do become ill on occasions, children who lose a lot of time at school can suffer in the long term from significant gaps in their learning.   If a child’s health continues to affect their education, schools are obliged to make a referral to School Health to ensure that appropriate medical advice and support is provided to support good attendance.


  • If a child is ill or absent from school, it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to ensure that they inform the school.  DASP schools all operate a targeted “First Day Call” system, which means they will contact you to ask why your child is not in school and when they are expected to return.  Please be aware that schools have a duty to safeguard pupils, failure to inform school or respond to a call from school, may result in your child being reported as missing to police or Children’s Services.


  • Leave of Absence should not be granted during term time, except in exceptional circumstances.  The definition of exceptional circumstances are where requests are rare, significant and unavoidable.


  • It is essential that any requests for leave of absence for holidays, family events or any other reasons are discussed with your child’s Head Teacher prior to the request being made as they cannot be approved unless they are deemed as exceptional circumstances.  Any absence which has not been authorised by your child’s school will be recorded as “unauthorised”.  In line with Dorset County Council policy, if a child has 5 days (or 10 sessions) of unauthorised holiday within a period of 12 weeks, a penalty notice of £60 per parent may be issued by Dorset County Council, which if not paid within 21 days will double to £120.  If this remains unpaid, parents will be prosecuted in the magistrates’ court.  


DASP is committed to ensuring that every learner has the opportunity to thrive and achieve and recognises that good attendance is central to this. 


A positive, purposeful and enthusiastic atmosphere

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