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Attendance guidance for current lockdown

By 6th January 2021No Comments

Attendance update

We wanted to ensure that our schools were fully aware of the current government advice regarding COVID attendance & the School Census.


Attendance guidance for current lockdown

As vulnerable children are still expected to attend school full time, they should not be marked as Code X if they are not in school (except if they are shielding, self-isolating or quarantining). Schools and colleges should encourage vulnerable children to attend but if the parent of a vulnerable child wishes their child to be absent from school, the parent should let the school know that the pupil will not be attending. The Department for Education expects schools and colleges to grant such applications for leave given the exceptional circumstances. This should be recorded as code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) unless another authorised absence code is more applicable.

As with vulnerable children, critical worker parents and carers should let schools know if their child will not be attending and, if not, schools should grant a leave of absence (code C) given the exceptional circumstances.

All pupils who are not expected to be in school should be marked as Code X. They are not attending because they are following public health advice.

Current Attendance guidance for when schools resume

Instances for when the X code should be used

  • A student is self-isolating, has symptoms or is awaiting a COVID test result
  • Pupils who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are therefore shielding

Instances when the I (Illness) code should be used

  • Code X should be used for the period of self-isolation until the test. After the pupil tests positive they should be recorded as code I (illness) until they are able to return to school.
  • A student has had a negative test result but remains unwell such as with a different illness.

The following resources to assist with attendance are available on the Customer Portal (

  • School ICT have produced several free reports that will help schools to analyse attendance with and without the inclusion of the X code. These can be accessed via Categories/Report Downloads.
  • We have also created a video under the attendance category to help schools understand the impact of the X code.
  • Our recent free best practice’s seminars also included a COVID Attendance section and a demonstration on the functionality our new free reports allow. These videos are available to watch under the events category on our portal also.

Our suggested guidance for Secondary Schools wishing to monitor home learning lesson attendance

  1. Ensure that in Tools / Setups / Lesson monitor Options / Lesson monitor Setup, the tick boxes for copy lesson marks to sessions for both AM and PM sessions are unticked
  2. Record session attendance as X or C as per the current DfE lockdown attendance guidance for AM/PM registration
  3. Record lesson attendance as normal

Census update

School Spring Census (21st January 2021) will be the first School Census to report all attendance codes other than the following two:

  • Z – ‘Pupil not on roll,’
  • # – School closed

It is therefore vital that the correct codes for the right period are recorded as the DfE are looking at the impact of COVID. However following last nights announcement the DfE are currently in the process of reviewing the January census in its entirety. At this stage we do not know if the census will go ahead or if it does what format that will take. As soon as we receive an update we will let customers know. Our advice would be to prepare as normal ensuring your data is accurate.


Please note from September 2020 schools should NOT be using the Y, # or 7, 8, 9 codes to record COVID related attendance.


For further information regarding attendance please consult the below DfE documentation.

DfE Schools returning in January updated document


DfE COVID Attendance guidance

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