Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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COVID-19 Attendance / Exclusions

COVID-19 Attendance / Exclusions

All coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.​UK: Guidance for educational settings

The government has released new guidance on recording attendance in the school attendance register during the coronavirus outbreak (28th May) including guidance for schools on taking the attendance register and operational queries relating to the status form.

The documents cover what educational settings will need to do, which are:

  • Schools should resume taking an attendance register.
  • Schools should use the codes suggested on this page to record attendance and absence in the attendance register.
  • All settings should submit daily attendance figures using the educational setting status form by midday everyday

There’s further guidance on school attendance policy at Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak

Do schools need to complete our usual attendance processes?

Schools should:

  • resume taking the attendance register when more groups of pupils begin to return to school
  • consider using the attendance and absence codes when completing the attendance register until further notice.

What codes do schools need to use when recording absence?

  • Pupils who are not eligible to attend should be recorded as code X (not required to be in school).
  • Pupils eligible to attend but is shielding or isolating should be recorded as code Y (unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances).
  • Where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as would normally be the case, the pupil should be recorded as code I (illness).
  • Where a pupil does not attend school - despite being eligible and is not shielding, self-isolating, unable to attend due to illness, nor has an EHCP risk assessment saying their needs cannot be safely met at school, the pupil should be recorded as code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) where no other code is appropriate.
  • Where other specific authorised absence and attendance codes are more appropriate schools may want to use these as usual, such as code M (medical appointment).
  • Where a pupil is at another school at which they are registered (for example, a pupil referral unit (PRU)), code D (dual registered) should be used to indicate that the pupil was not expected to attend the session in question as they are attending the other school at which they are registered
  • Where a pupil is at a host school on a temporary basis because their home school cannot accommodate them, the pupil will not be registered at the host school. The home school should record the pupil as attending an approved education activity using code B (off-site educational activity)

At this time all absence should be classed as authorised.

Schools/colleges and social workers should be agreeing with families whether children in need should be attending education provision – and the school or college should then follow up on any child that they were expecting to attend, who does not.

Schools and colleges should also follow up with any parent or carer who has arranged care for their children and the children subsequently do not attend. To support the above, schools and colleges should take the opportunity when communicating with parents and carers to confirm emergency contact numbers are correct and ask for any additional emergency contact numbers where they are available.

In all circumstances where a vulnerable child does not take up their place at school or college, or discontinues, the school or college should notify their social worker.

Buckinghamshire Council no longer requires daily reporting of pupil attendance to be submitted directly to us on a daily basis.  Thank you for your support on this over the last couple of months has been appreciated.

DfE returns for closed schools

If your school or setting is closed you need to complete the DfE form once, so that the Department for Education is aware of the closure.

If your educational setting re-opens, you should start completing the form daily from the date of re-opening.

DfE returns for hubs

For schools operating the hub system, it is the hub school that makes the return for of all children attending the school, not the school where the child is usually on roll.

The DfE has provided a list of FAQ on attendance recording for educational settings:

Educational settings self-reporting online form: frequently asked questions (FAQ) - GOV.UK

What are the attendance figures nationally?

The government publishes a spreadsheet and summary data charts showing the numbers of teachers, vulnerable children and children of critical workers in schools and nurseries from the educational settings survey.

The data is collected from a school attendance online reporting form for education settings and an early years provision online reporting form for all local authorities. These forms allow establishments to report daily on information that shows the impact of closures.

The national data can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): attendance in education and early years settings - GOV.UK

A student returned to European country just as lockdown started. Now I am being told by his parent that he will be staying and attending school in his country of origin. Do I just off roll or do I need to complete a CME form?

If you are confident that this child is at school where parents have indicated and will not be returning to the UK you can off roll under regulation:-

8(1)(e) - except in the case of a boarder, that he has ceased to attend the school and no longer ordinarily resides at a place which is a reasonable distance from the school at which he is registered.

If however you are in doubt please complete a CME form in the usual way.

The DfE has provided a list of FAQ on attendance recording for educational settings:

Educational settings self-reporting online form: frequently asked questions (FAQ) - GOV.UK

Does the School behaviour and attendance statutory guidance still apply?

The statutory guidance for schools, local authorities and the police on dealing with poor attendance and behaviour in schools has been updated.

Both the schools guidance and the parent guidance documents have been updated to reflect changes due to coronavirus.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, the government have disapplied certain statutory provisions so that the parent of a child of compulsory school age is not guilty of an offence on account of the child’s failure to attend regularly at the school at which the child is registered (section 444 of the Education Act 1996). This means that parents will not be penalised if their child does not attend school.

School Exclusions

The Government has just released new guidance on changes to the school exclusion process during the Coronavirus outbreak.(29th May) including having meetings remotely and timescales.

The arrangements come into force on 1 June 2020 and will apply to all exclusions occurring from then until 24 September 2020 (inclusive of those dates).

Governing boards’ duties to consider reinstatement of excluded pupils, and the process for independent review panels (IRPs)

The DfE issued the below guidance on the 9th April:

The timeframes set out in the School Discipline (Pupil Exclusions and Reviews) (England) Regulations 2012 remain in force. This applies to all exclusions, including those that were issued before 23 March 2020.

The government appreciates that it may not be possible to meet the timeframes set out in regulations for review meetings and IRPs, due to the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), and the health risks of holding meetings. The Regulations themselves envisage that the timeframes may not always be met, which is why they specify that meetings and panel hearings must still go ahead even if the relevant deadline has been missed. It is for the governing board, or arranging authority, to assess the facts of the case, and decide whether the statutory deadlines are achievable or whether, in the circumstances, the meeting has to be delayed or alternative technology (such as telephone or video conference facilities) should be used. Governing boards and arranging authorities should continue to take reasonable steps to ensure meetings are arranged for a time when all parties are able to attend.

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