To conclude this series of reference guides, Ben Whitney reflects on some of the issues it has raised, both in correspondence and through questions by participants at Forum attendance conferences.
Q. There are a number of online learning providers offering distance learning to schools as ways of preventing exclusions or as part of re-integration packages. Schools have suggested that they have been informed by those providers and by some Ofsted inspectors that they can mark the school register as ‘B’ for those sessions provided by online learners. Could you clarify if this is an acceptable mark, bearing in mind the DfE guidance that says pupils should not be marked ‘B’ where pupils are at home doing school work?
Q. I have four pupils on the school roll who travelled abroad in December and have not returned. How do I code their absence, or can I remove them from roll?
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.
Q. I am an attendance officer for a school in Manchester. A Year 8 pupil’s family has relocated to Birmingham. This was a planned move and they have provided their new address and new school details. They have been in touch to advise that, whilst the move has gone ahead, the new school has been unable to offer a start date as there have been delays in the admissions process, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Therefore, their child cannot start school until September. How should I mark the child’s absence?