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Dorchester Primary School Attendance Information & Holiday Request Procedure


Life only provides one chance to gain a childhood education.  The process raises achievement and enhances success in later years.  Failure to attend school results in missed opportunities disrupts a child’s education and impacts on his/her attainment and life-chances.

As a result of this Dorchester Primary School is very proactive in ensuring good attendance.  We work closely with parents on matters relating to attendance.  Persistent and unexplained absences are followed up by the schools attendance officer and Education Welfare Officer.  Good attendance is encouraged through a comprehensive and effective reward system.

Authorised Absences

These are absences where there are genuine reasons for a child being off school.  In most cases this is for an illness which would mean attending school would make that illness worse or could be passed onto other children.

Unauthorised Absences

These are absences where there is no justifiable reason as to why a child is absent.  This also includes children who are regularly absent even if a call is made to the office giving a reason.

If a child has 20 unauthorised absences in a term a letter is sent to parents informing them that they face the possibility of a fine if attendance does not improve.  This fine is the same as the one issued for term time holidays.


Whilst we appreciate that most parents and carers understand the importance of punctuality and do their best to get their children to school in time for the bell, we are currently trying to work with parents and carers who find it difficult to get their child to school on time.  Please ensure your children are at school for 8.55am.

Please note that children with regular lateness to school in the mornings will not be entered into the prize draw if the time adds up to more than 60 minutes in a half term.  It would be unfair for lateness that adds up to so much school time to not be taken into account when we do our attendance traffic light letters.

Holiday Requests

Dorchester Primary Academy’s policy for family holidays during term time

The aim of this policy is to minimise the amount of lost term time holidays in order to maximise the educational potential of every child.  This can be achieved with the support of parents/carers by ensuring holidays in term time are not taken in school time unless there are exceptional circumstances.  There are 175 days each year when you child is not in school.  Absence for any reason during term time interrupts a child’s education and disrupts educational progress.

Pupils who take 10 days leave during term time can achieve only a maximum attendance of 94.7%, even if there are no other absences through the year. The government recommendation for all school pupils to achieve their potential is 95%+.

Research suggests that children who are taken out of school during term time may never catch up on work missed.

Taking a child out of school in term time may give them the unspoken message that it is acceptable to be absent from school during term time.

Regulations & Guidance

The law says that parents/carers do not have the right to take their child out of school for a holiday during term time. Under the Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006, head teachers have a discretionary power to authorise up to 10 days leave in each school year for the purpose of a family holiday in term time.  Dorchester Primary School Academy will not routinely grant permission for holidays or extended holidays.  Only in exceptional circumstances will permission be normally granted.

Dorchester Primary School Academy exceptional circumstances are as follows:

Service personnel returning from a tour of duty abroad where it is evidenced that the individual will not be in receipt of any leave in the near future that coincides with school holidays.

Where an absence from school is recommended by a health professional as part of a child’s rehabilitation from a medical or emotional issue.

Immediate family crisis.

The pupil’s overall attendance pattern is also taken into consideration when considering the above.  Written requests for holidays in term time must be made 6 weeks prior to the holiday.  It is strongly advised that you do not book your holiday until approval has been given.  Once a request for a holiday in term time is made parents/carers will be notified in writing of the decision.

Legal Implications

Where a pupil is taken out for the purpose of a holiday in term time without the prior permission of the school in 10 sessions (5days) or more, the parents/carers of the pupil may be issued with a penalty notice from the Education Welfare Service.  The penalty notice can be £60 per parent per child payable within 21 days.  If this is not paid it can rise to £120 payable within 28 days.

If you don’t pay the fine you may be prosecuted.

You could get a fine of up £2500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months.  The court also gives you a Parenting Order.

If you plan to take your child out of school within term time please let Mrs Olsson know the dates that you plan to do so by sending her a letter and handing it into the school office.

File icon: pdf Attendance Letter [pdf 231KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Attendance Leaflet Part 1 [pdf 414KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Attendance Leaflet Part 2 [pdf 425KB] Click to download