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Our Wessex family of schools


Information for parents and carers on the importance of attendance and the attendance process:

The Purbeck School is committed to ensuring that all families understand the importance of high attendance. Attendance in school is vital for academic success. It is our duty to consistently strive to achieve a goal of 100% attendance for all students. We will work hard to provide a safe and welcoming environment for your child and will monitor attendance closely.


Pupils must arrive in school before 8.40am. If your child will be absent, parents must notify the school on the first day of absence and then each day thereafter. To report your child’s absence, please complete our Pupil Absence Form as early as possible.

The school will contact parents on a daily basis if you fail to inform the school of an absence. The school must be notified of the reason for a child’s absence in order to safeguard the child and protect their educational well-being.

The NHS provides this advice for parents on whether your child is too ill to attend school.

We are only able to authorise 3 days of illness without receiving medical evidence.  If your child is still absent after this 3-day period, then their absence will be marked as unauthorised, unless you are able to provide medical evidence, such as a photograph of prescribed medication clearly showing the student’s name and the date it was prescribed, or a hospital/doctors note or confirmation of a doctor’s appointment etc.

Term-time leave of absence

You can only allow your child to miss school if:

  • They are too ill to attend.
  • You have advance permission from the school.

Term time holidays under any circumstances are not considered exceptional and therefore cannot be authorised. Holidays taken during term time can result in Holiday Penalty Notices being issued. Therefore, please think carefully before taking your child out of school for a term time holiday. Penalty fines are payable by both parents and for each child within the school.

To make an absence request, you must submit a formal request to the school at least two weeks before you arrange for your child to have time away. Please complete our Request for Leave of Absence form.


At The Purbeck School, we take timekeeping very seriously. It is important to ensure the students are obtaining the maximum benefit from their education. Lateness is monitored carefully by the school and contributes towards a student’s attendance. Consequences are set for students who are late to school and late to lessons.



The importance of good attendance

Attendance Awareness Session

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All the research shows that attendance matters. It matters:

  • Academically: children who miss learning find it more challenging to learn new content as they have gaps in their existing knowledge. They may then not want to come to school as they find learning too challenging.
  • Socially: most children enjoy coming to school to engage with their friends as well as to learn. Children with poor attendance often find friendships difficult; their friends make new friends when they are not in school.
  • Emotionally: relationships are the bedrock to feeling happy in school. The more a child is in school, the more they build these relationships with staff and other pupils.
  • To us: we want all children in school each day and we miss them when they are not in school.

Please read more on the implications of poor attendance on achievement – click here.

Attending school can be a passport to a child’s future into adulthood, independence and achieving one’s ambition.

If a child has an attendance level of 90%, they will have missed one day a fortnight in school. Over a school year this will represent four weeks of absence. If this level of absence were maintained for a five-year period, it would mean half a school year would have been missed.

Please regularly check your child’s attendance using our SIMS Parent App.


The Purbeck School Attendance Strategy

At The Purbeck School, we will do all we reasonably can to achieve the highest possible attendance – the expectation is that we will “listen, understand, empathise and support – but do not tolerate”. We have a very clear attendance strategy that we follow…

  • Our Tutor Commitment

    • Tutors establish daily routines which incentivise attendance
    • Tutors have an awareness of academic and pastoral interventions supporting tutees
    • Tutors regularly communicate with parents
    • Tutors support the return to school of tutees from absence
  • First day contact system
    • If your child is absent from school and we have not heard from you, we will contact by text message to ask for an explanation for their absence.
    • If you don’t contact us, then we will try to make direct telephone contact with yourself.
  • At the end of each half-term, parents receive an Attendance Report providing a snapshot of their child’s attendance.
  • If a pupil’s attendance drops below 93%, we will send each parent an Attendance Monitoring letter.
  • If a pupil has a prolonged period of absence, then the attendance team will conduct a home visit to check on their welfare.
  • Persistent absence is defined as an attendance less than 90%. If a pupil’s attendance drops below 90%, we will invite each parent into school for an Attendance awareness session.
  • As a result, the pupil will be placed on an Attendance Improvement Plan (4wk monitoring). We will then monitor their attendance for 4 weeks.
  • At this point, it is expected of the school to report the pupil’s attendance figures to Dorset County Council.
  • If there is still no improvement, you will be invited to a Dorset Council Attendance Panel meeting. The reasons for absence will be discussed, and it is possible that the outcome will be to consider issuing a penalty warning notice if attendance doesn’t improve.

We would really appreciate your help in ensuring that your child has good school attendance. We monitor attendance patterns with vigilance and hold parents to account, where necessary. If there is a concern, we will write to you and talk with you so that we can work together to identify any barriers that may be preventing your child from attending school and ensure support is put in place. It is hoped that this will be successful in improving attendance.


If you have any questions with regards to attendance, then please do contact us at