Q. I am new to the post of attendance officer in a large secondary school. I feel like a considerable amount of my time is spent trying to keep the registers accurate due to the large volume of unmarked registers and/or missing marks. What can I do to improve the register marking in my school?

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A.   This is a common frustration in schools where registers are either not taken or are not accurately taken, resulting in the school attendance officer having to chase registers, manually amend marks and double check individual children’s attendance/absence.  

This is time consuming for the attendance officer and takes up time that could be spent contacting parents or implementing attendance interventions, rather than house-keeping registers. Accurate register keeping is essential for attendance and safeguarding and is the legal responsibility of all staff taking registers.

Some best practice we would recommend includes:

  • undertaking a brief staff survey to establish if there are any specific barriers, such as lack of training or IT problems
  • having clear written guidance for staff on marking pupil registers
  • ensuring that information is included as part of staff induction and for any cover staff
  • ensuring there is a paper back-up for the rare occasion that there is no IT access
  • holding a staff meeting or staff briefing session on best practice and having a consistent approach
  • completing daily reports on missing marks and missing registers
  • reporting this to the senior leadership team (SLT)
  • involving the SLT in addressing repeated incidents of poor register taking or missing registers.
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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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