Contact us on (01255) 245 460


Attendance: Improving attendance and learning at HDHS

I would like to take this opportunity, at the start of our new academic year, to remind you that Harwich and Dovercourt High School is continually striving to raise standards of learning and increase academic progress and achievement for all our students.

Our expectations are therefore set out in this letter to all parents and carers:  Attendance letter – Sept 2021

We are aware that with the ever changing current climate with Covid 19 and the changing government guidelines and rules on isolation, it can be a confusing time for parents/carers.  Here is the newly updated ‘Self-Isolation and Testing Guidance’ from the Essex Schools Communication Team:  Self-isolation and testing flow chart

A high level of attendance is important at HDHS and vital to achieving success. It is expected that students attend school every day it is open. Attendance is celebrated and rewarded. Rewards are given every term for those students who significantly improve or achieve excellent attendance. Please see our Attendance Policy for details.

If a child is ill, the parent/carer must contact the school on the first day of school missed and each day after, as long as the absence continues.

Telephone the ‘Student Absence Line’ on 01255 245460 by 8:30am.

You have the choice to leave a message or be connected to Student Services should you wish to speak to a member of staff. Parents should contact the school for every day of absence. This is for safeguarding purposes. We will assume that a child will be present unless you inform us otherwise.

The School will attempt to contact the parent of any pupil whose absence has not been established. This may be by phone or an unannounced visit to the home. When a child returns to school following a period of absence he/she must provide the Attendance Office with written confirmation of the reasons for the absence signed by their parent/guardian even after a telephone call.

Medical or similar appointments for your child should, wherever possible be made outside of school hours. If this is impossible, written notification must be sent in and passed to the attendance office. Students who need to sign out during the school day, must sign out at Student Services and they will be provided with a ‘permission to be out of school’ slip and exit via main reception. They must sign back into school at the upon their return, also via main reception. This is vital for safeguarding purposes.

Please click below for our most recent Attendance letter to parents
How is your child’s attendance affected every time they are absent?


Every morning students are expected to be on the school site and in their registration rooms for the 8.35am morning register. Pupils arriving after the 8.35am start time will be marked late and receive a C2+ sanction. If there is a legitimate reason for being late, parents/carers/guardians must phone the school or send a signed note in with the student; they should sign in at the main reception. In these instances they will be given a late slip so that they do not receive a C2+ sanction. Persistent lateness, that is unauthorised, will be dealt with by our attendance staff and can be treated in exactly the same way as if the student had been absent for the whole session.

What the law says?

The parent is legally responsible for ensuring that their child receives a suitable education.  (Section 7, Education Act 1996). Failure to ensure that their child attends school punctually and regularly could lead to legal action being taken against the parent.  This could result in each parent receiving a fine of up to £2,500 for each time or up to 3 months imprisonment. Local Education Authorities are required by law to enforce school attendance. By law, only the School can approve absence, not the parent.

Leave of Absence during term time

The School complies with government legislation, which states that term time leave of absence can only be taken in ‘exceptional circumstances’. For example: Forces personnel on leave from a foreign posting or significant family events or circumstances.  If this is the case, a ‘Leave of Absence’ request form must be completed; this can be obtained from the Attendance Office. When returned to the Attendance Office, it should be accompanied by a letter of explanation. If the School considers an application has not justified ‘Exceptional Circumstances’, approval will not be given. This is a school decisionIf the leave of absence is then taken regardless, the school may seek to apply for a Penalty Notice in accordance with Education (Penalty Notices) Regulations 2004. The LEA will impose fines and prosecute parents for unauthorised holidays and prolonged unauthorised absence. There is a fine of £60 per parent, per child for authorised leave of absence.

The HDHS Attendance Protocols

HDHS Admission Policies can be found here:  HDHS Policies

If you have any questions relating to attendance in the school please contact:


TELEPHONE – 01255 245460, EXTENSION 2256



TELEPHONE – 01255 245460, EXTENSION – 2205