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Attendance & Punctuality

Attendance & Punctuality

Ferndown Upper School is committed to ensuring the best for all our students and we actively work with parents and carers to promote good attendance and punctuality across the whole school.  It is proven that fora student to reach their full educational achievement, a high level of school attendance is essential. It is our duty to consistently strive to achieve a goal of 100% attendance for all students. Every opportunity will be used to convey to students and parents/carers the importance of regular and punctual attendance.

Meet the Attendance Team

Katie Langton

Attendance Officer Year 9,10,11 

Kerry Curchin

Attendance Officer – Sixth Form

Student Absence

If a child is absent from school for any reason, it is the responsibility of the Parent/Guardian to report this to the school by 8.50am. 

Ferndown Upper School operates a first day contact system, which means if your child is absent from school and we have not heard from you, we will contact you by Text message to ask for an explanation for their absence.  If they are absent for a second day with no explanation, then we will try to make direct telephone contact with yourself.

For safeguarding reasons, if a student is absent for more than 1 day, Parents/Guardians are required to make contact every day for the duration of their absence.

Reporting student absence

If you need to report your child as absent for any reason, there are several ways that you can do this:

  1. Use Student Absence Reporting via the Parentmail App
  2. Email
  3. Telephone the Student Absence line on 01202 871243 Ext 218

Our School policy states that we are only able to authorise 3 days of illness without 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.

The following link contains further clarification on when a child should be absent from school due to illness:

When is my child allowed to miss school?

You can only allow your child to miss school if:

  • They are too ill to attend
  • Medical appointments – (evidence of appointments should be provided)
  • External Educational Exams such as Dance or Music
  • Elite Sporting Events

Term Time Leave 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.  (Please refer to the information below regarding Penalty Notices)

All requests for Term Time leave should be made in writing to the Headteacher.


We take timekeeping very seriously at Ferndown Upper School.  Not only is it important to ensure the students are obtaining the maximum benefit from their education, but it is a key skill for adult life.  Sanctions are set for students who are repeatedly late to school and late to lessons. Persistent lateness will be addressed in accordance with our Attendance policy.  We know that sometimes students will be late due to issues with the School bus.  We understand that this is not their fault and is out of their control, however the register is a legal document, and therefore we legally have to mark them as being late to School.  However this will not affect their overall attendance, and we always ensure that students are not sanctioned in these instances.

In the event that there is an issue with the School bus and the bus company inform us that a replacement bus is being sent out, then we will send a text message to parents as soon as possible.  Students who then choose not wait for the replacement bus will receive an unauthorised absence on their registers.

Our School Attendance Policy

Good attendance and punctuality is key to a student’s successful education and being able to achieve the best results possible.  Therefore we have a very clear attendance policy that we adhere to:

  • Stage A1 – In September every year we will send you a letter explaining our attendance policy and setting out our expectations.
  • Stage A2 – If a student’s attendance drops (95-97%) the tutor will have a discussion with the student.
  • Stage A3 – if a student’s attendance drops below 95% we will send you a Parentmail notification to advise of you of the situation. We will then monitor their attendance for 2 weeks. Please do contact us to discuss your child’s attendance and any support you feel is appropriate.
  • Stage A4 – If the student’s attendance has not improved, we will send you a letter advising you that we have concerns and that no further absence will be authorised without medical evidence.
  • Stage A5 – If there is no improvement within 2 weeks, then we will send you a further letter to invite you to a meeting with our Pastoral Managers and our Attendance Officer to discuss the circumstances around the student’s absence and what support we are able to offer.  At this point it is expected of the school to report the student’s attendance figures to Dorset County Council.
  • Stage A6 – If there is still no improvement, you will be invited to a Dorset 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 encourage you to talk with your child’s Pastoral Manager and/or the Attendance Officer to support improving attendance.

Penalty Notices and Legal Action

Penalty Notices can be issued by the Local Authority for poor attendance and for Term Time Leave.

The cost of a penalty Notice is £160 per parent, per child to be paid within 28 days.  This is reduced to £80 per parent if paid within 21 days.

If a second penalty notice is issued within a 3 year period, either for poor attendance or Term Time Leave, the cost is £160 per parent per child to be paid within 28 days.  The cost will NOT be reduced for the second offence.

A maximum of two penalty notices will be issued per parent, per child within a 3 year rolling period.  If a third offence is committed then the Local Authority will pursue alternative legal interventions.  This could include and Educational Supervision Order or prosecution via the Magistrates Court.

Magistrates Court fines can be up to £2500 per parent per child, and if found guilty can show on a parents future DBS certificate due to failure to safeguard a child’s education.