Attendance Service Update 06/05/2021

This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Interim Attendance Team-Service Manager, Farah Malik, for the attention of all schools.

In order to keep school staff updated regarding current topical issues and concerns we will be providing regular updates by email from the Attendance Service, with the intention of eventually developing a regular Newsletter. We hope you will find this useful.

Pupils Abroad

We are aware schools are concerned about the number of pupils on roll that have travelled overseas and currently remain abroad due to travel restrictions (Red Zone) and/or flight issues. We have discussed this with the DfE and requested a recent update, shared below. Please note this advice applies nationally :

23/04/2021 DfE Response

We are aware that some pupils are not attending school because they remain abroad.

Where possible, we expect schools and local authorities to engage with families who are abroad to understand the children’s circumstances and plans to return.

You should encourage families to come back to the country, emphasising the benefits of regular school attendance, that school attendance is mandatory, and that parents have a duty to ensure that their children of compulsory school age are receiving efficient full-time education.

Schools and LAs may treat these cases as attendance enforcement cases, as they would for term-time holidays, where this is appropriate to do so.

A pupil’s name can only lawfully be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. Where a pupil of compulsory school age has not returned to school for ten school days after the end of a leave of absence or is absent from school without authorisation for twenty consecutive school days, the pupil’s name can be removed from the admission register but only when the school and the LA have failed, after jointly making reasonable enquiries, to establish the whereabouts of the child.

These grounds only apply if the school does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend because of sickness or unavoidable cause. If the school are in contact with the family whilst the family is abroad, they are likely to know the whereabouts of the child, therefore these grounds for deletion are unlikely to apply. Schools may wish to seek their own legal advice before deleting a pupil’s name from the admission register.

For each session that the pupil continues to be absent, the school must continue to keep an accurate record in the attendance register. As always, it is up to schools to determine the nature of the absence and record it in the attendance register in line with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended, based on the individual circumstances in question.

Where families are concerned about the costs of quarantining upon return, you may wish to remind them that there are opportunities to apply for a deferred repayment plan for quarantine.

Remote Learning for Pupils Abroad

A number of schools have enquired about the responsibility of providing remote learning to pupils abroad.

Our response would be that there is no legislative requirement and therefore would advise schools to decide on their own approach. There is no guidance from DfE to stipulate remote learning is to be arranged. As you are all aware, schools returned to full opening on 8 March, with the expectation that all pupils would be attending on site with remote learning only intended for the CEV. For parents and pupils who are overseas, you can of course request parents to make alternative arrangements whilst they are abroad and make note of this.

We would advise if there are any safeguarding concerns, to complete a MARF and send to Front Door, Children’s First.

DfE COVID Portal

Please do continue to complete the portal on a daily basis as this is very useful for the DfE and other partners to determine trends and help to inform on Government guidelines and policies going forward.

Attendance Drop In Surgery

The attendance surgery held on 21/04/2021 was attended by 9 schools who found this forum really useful. Similar concerns were raised as mentioned above, regarding pupils abroad and off rolling as well as remote provision.

We would encourage schools to attend the drop in sessions as this is a friendly way of acquainting with the team and discussing shared concerns in a forum.

The next surgeries will be held on:

Month Meeting Date Time BlueJeans Meeting ID BlueJeans Meeting Passcode
May 2021 Wednesday 19/05/2021 10:00 - 11:00 756844010 1234
June 2021 Friday 18/06/2021 10:00 - 11:00 756844010 1234
July 2021 Friday 23/07/2021 10:00 - 11:00 756844010 1234 - will reschedule


Enforcement – Penalty Notices and Warning Periods

Thank you for following our guidance provided on 5 March 2021. Since the 8 March, we have received a number of Penalty Notice and Warning Period requests which we are currently processing.

Please ensure:

  • You provide all communication with the parents as part of the request to instigate enforcement. We will need to specifically see that the parent was made aware of a fine being issued before they travelled.
  • The Attendance Certificate has the child’s name on it as this is a legal document

Persistent Absence Referrals

We have received 92 referrals to date. Many of the referrals were completed by schools as a form of support for families going through a difficult time in the pandemic prior to 8 March as enforcement was not in place.

For the majority of these referrals, we have worked closely with schools, families and agencies to address attendance concerns and will continue to support poor attending pupils through this route.

CME Update

CME Statistics –Upto23.04.2021 we have received 1579 CME referrals and currently have 246 CME referrals that are currently open to us.

CME Reminders and Tips:

  • Schools to only sent 1 CME referral per email to avoid any breach in GDPR, Data Protection. As we may need to forward emails, CME referral on to other agencies.
  • If possible, please, add emergency contact details as this will help us when we’re unable to get hold of either of the parents
  • Do not off roll even if the parent has indicated in writing they wish to be off rolled –please send a CME referral to the LA and let us follow our due diligence and statutory checks, and wait our advice before off rolling

Elective Home Education

We currently have 316 EHE cases. EHE referrals are beginning to slowly creep up since 8 March which was an expected trend.

Once parents express their interest in EHE please do discuss this with them, explaining the responsibility and obligation so that they are fully aware of the implications e.g. all responsibility lies with the parent, there will be no support from a school or LA or access to financial help, examinations would need to be arranged by the parent/s independently.

Again, please keep the pupil on roll until advised to off roll by the LA.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspect mentioned above, please contact the Attendance Team.