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School attendance and absence

Children must attend school regularly and on time during term time. 

Your child can only miss school if:

  • they are too ill to go to school
  • the school has authorised the absence

Holidays in term time

You must get permission from the headteacher is you're planning to take your child out of school during term time. This is called authorised absence.

Your child may be allowed to miss school for

  • a death in the family or funeral
  • doctor, hospital or dental appointments

It's up to the headteacher how many days your child can be away from school if they grant you leave.

If you don't get permission and you take your child out of school, this will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. You can be fined for taking your child on holiday during term time without the school's permission. Speak to your head teacher if you have concerns; they will decide if your circumstances are exceptional. 

Penalty notices

In some circumstances we can take legal action to enforce school attendance. 

Read more about Dorset Children's Services penalty notice protocol.

Speak to the headteacher if you're struggling to get your child to attend school. 

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