Services for children


Summer term 2022 updates

Guidance to help improve school attendance

Working together to improve school attendance has been published for schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities to help improve school attendance, from the beginning of the new school year, in September 2022. Subject to legislation, this guidance will then become statutory from September 2023.

Guidance: Addendum: recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 2021 to 2022 academic year - Updated 4 April (GOV.UK)

Not attending in circumstances relating to COVID-19

In line with our transition to living with COVID-19, we no longer advise schools to record pupils who do not attend for reasons related to COVID-19 using Code X. Pupils with symptoms of COVID-19 are no longer advised to get a test, and most of the scenarios that this category was brought in to record no longer apply.

Pupils who have symptoms or a positive test for COVID-19

Pupils who have symptoms of COVID-19 should follow the latest government guidance about when they should stay at home.

Where a pupil is not attending because they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had a positive test, schools should record this using Code I (illness) unless another more appropriate code applies.

Schools may continue to use the sub-code (I02) to record illness due to suspected COVID-19 although they are not required to.

Schools should refer to the department’s emergency planning guidance and the latest UKHSA guidance for further information.

Remote education

Schools and colleges should continue to provide remote education to allow children and young people, who are well enough to learn, to keep pace with their education when in-person attendance in school or college is either not possible or contrary to government guidance.

Schools should keep a record of, and monitor engagement with, this activity, but this does not need to be tracked in the attendance register.

School attendance from September 2021

Spring term 2022 reminders

School attendance service level agreement 2021/22

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The above SLA documents include guidance on:

  • Benchmark data
  • Ofsted grade descriptors
  • Attendance policy
  • Schools attendance management
  • Leave of absence in term time
  • Leavers and joiners' duties for schools
  • Reasonable enquiry
  • Strategies for good attendance
  • School attendance support framework (primary schools only)
  • Data on SIMS / MIS
  • Legal action guide
  • And more.

Absence due to religious observance

Schools should treat a pupil’s absence as authorised if it is on a day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which the parent belongs. As set out in regulation 6(2)(b)(ii) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006.

The DfE does not define which specific days schools should authorise for religious observance. As a general rule, we would interpret a ‘day exclusively set apart for religious observance’ as a day when the pupil’s parents would be expected by the religious body to which they belong to stay away from their employment in order to mark the occasion. We advise schools to seek advice from the relevant religious body if they are in doubt.

The DfE would not consider attending religious festivals to be a religious observance day and as such, parents are not entitled to take their children out of school for such festivals. Religious festivals would be an occasion which religious bodies mark without expecting families to take time off work or school.

Parents may apply to the school for a leave of absence that is linked to a religious day. However, unlike days that the religious body have set aside to be spent exclusively in religious observance, parents have no entitlement to leave linked to religious days.

Head teachers may grant requests for leave of absence if there are exceptional circumstances that warrant the leave but are not obliged to do so. Authorisation of such leave is completely at the head teacher’s discretion.

More information about religious festivals on this website.

Privacy notice for school attendance, children missing education and child employment service

Attendance and benchmark data analysis

Your school's attendance benchmarks and analysis report are available on your school's page on the Ealing Grid for Learning (EGfL user account with reports access required).

2006 pupil registration regulations (GOV.UK)

School attendance: guidance for schools (GOV.UK)

School inspection handbook - Ofsted (GOV.UK)


School attendance service

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Last updated: 13 May 2022