Q. I am confused about the coding of Covid-related absence as there are additional codes in our IT system that are not in the DfE attendance guidance. The attendance guidance refers to the use of the ‘X’ code for Covid-19-related absence, and the ‘I’ code for positive cases.


A. The attendance guidance and addendum explain that there has been a temporary amendment to the Pupil Registration Regulations, adding an additional legal category of non-attendance, entitled: ‘Not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus’.

The guidance states that you are to use the ‘X’ and ‘I’ codes as you have detailed above (the Annex contains more detail about the appropriate use of the ‘X’ code). However, schools have been provided with some additional codes in their EIMS systems, as follows.

01: Illness

02: Illness, confirmed case of Covid-19

03-X01: Non-compulsory
school age

X02: Self isolating Covid-19 symptoms

X03: Self isolating Covid-19 contact inside of school

X04: Self isolating Covid-19 contact outside school

X05: Quarantine – Self isolating

X06: Shielding as advised

X07: Government advice not to attend.

These codes are optional and are to support schools in distinguishing between the different types of Covid-19-related absence and between Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 absence. These codes are mapped to an ‘X’ or an ‘I’ code as relevant and will not be collected by Census. Only the ‘X’ or ‘I’ codes will be collected.

These codes are for administration/internal data analysis. There is a link in the attendance guidance addendum that takes you to the information on these and the list in full. It states:

‘You can use this list of sub-codes which have been introduced into management information systems (MIS) to help you:

  • extract attendance data to complete the daily educational settings status form consistently
  • record non-attendance related to coronavirus (Covid-19)
  • monitor non-attendance related to coronavirus (Covid-19) for your own purposes.

If you have an existing system for recording and monitoring non-attendance related to coronavirus you can continue to use this if you wish. The use of these sub-codes is not compulsory.’

(‘Addendum: recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (Covid-19) during the 2020 to 2021 academic year’, DfE, March 2021)

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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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