Castle Douglas High School

Achievement, Respect, Unity

Attendance Policy

Castle Douglas High SchoolPublished on Wednesday 14 May 2014


Pupils should be present to be registered in their Personal Support class at 9.00 a.m. If they arrive after 9.00 a.m. they will be deemed to be late and should report to the Main Office.

Frequent late-coming will be addressed with parents if required.

School Responsibilities

The safety of the pupils is of paramount importance to the staff at Castle Douglas High School. Every effort is made to ensure that their whereabouts are known to us when they are entrusted to our care, and if they are not fit to attend school we should be informed immediately.

Procedures for dealing with unexplained absences are robust and effective. An unexplained absence is one for which no explanation (written or in person or by telephone) has been received from the parent/carer.

We operate a text messaging system which alerts parents to the fact that their child is absent from school and no reason has been provided. This system has proved to be very effective and has dramatically reduced the number of unexplained absences. All unexplained absences will continue to be followed up in this manner on a daily basis until an explanation has been received from the parent/carer. In the event of no message being received, contact will be made either by telephone or by a visit from the Attendance Liaison Officer.

Parental Responsibilities

To assist in this, parents are asked to ensure:

  • That any legitimate absence is notified to the school by telephone before 9am on the first day.
  • If the absence is anticipated to be for more than one day the call should, if possible, anticipate the expected date of return to the school.
  • That contact telephone numbers - whether for home, for parents at work or for other contacts are kept up to date. These should be numbers at which a response can be obtained in all normal circumstances.
  • That the school is kept informed of the progress of an absence and the likely return date.
  • That any planned absences, medical or otherwise, are officially notified by letter or telephone to the school in advance.
  • That holidays should be arranged to coincide with school holiday periods. Holidays taken outwith these times will be recorded by the school as unauthorised holidays, in accordance with council policy. See below for more information.


The Government has highlighted the importance of school attendance to a child’s development and has required schools to set targets for improved attendance. Against this background, there is considerable concern at the increasing number of term-time holidays being taken by children at the request of their parents. The Head Teacher is not in a position to refuse permission to parents for such holidays but it is the view of Education Services that these holidays should be officially recognised as “unauthorised”.

Education Services recognises that some parents have difficulties in arranging their own holidays to suit school holiday periods and parents remain free, within reason, to remove their children for holidays during term time. They should, however, appreciate that prolonged absence from school at any stage is harmful to a child’s education and it is not possible — nor fair to other children — to direct teaching time to assist a child who has been on holiday to catch up on what they have missed. This means that, whilst parents are at liberty to remove children from school for the purposes of family holidays, such absences will be recorded as ‘unauthorised’. Parents should continue to inform the school, in writing, of any such holiday plans.

The exception to this is when a family holiday is judged to be important to the well-being and cohesion of the family following serious or terminal illness, bereavement or other traumatic events.