Q. How should a child’s absence be marked if the school does not have confirmation of the child’s whereabouts?

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A.  If you did not have confirmation of the child’s whereabouts, this scenario would be more complex.  Under the current DfE guidance in relation to absence and the current Covid-19 outbreak and wider opening of schools to certain year groups (May 2020), there should be no unauthorised absences in the register.

You would need to ‘C’ code this absence whilst invoking Child Missing Education (CME) procedures and making reasonable enquiries to establish where this child/young person is.    This guidance is short-term guidance due to the very specific unprecedented situation we are in.  Prior to this, the code would potentially have been the ‘O’ code (unauthorised absence) whilst invoking CME procedures and making reasonable enquiries to establish where this child/young person is.   

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About Author

Joanne Sierzega

Joanne Sierzega worked for almost 16 years in local authority education welfare. Since then she has established CSAWS (Central School Attendance and Welfare Services Ltd) with two partners. CSAWS comprises a team of education welfare officers who are committed to achieving better outcomes for children by securing regular attendance at school.

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