Skip to content

CoVID-19 Absence Coding guidance

On 16 March 2020 the DfE issued updated CoVID-19 guidance for schools and this included basic rules to follow in terms of recording school absences.

We have taken that advice and expanded it to include a number of specific scenarios that we know Kent schools are having to deal with. The information below is guidance only and we expect each case to be looked at on its own merits and for school leaders to ultimately determine how each absence is recorded.

Scenarios and suggested action:

A school has advised a student/pupil to not attend school and go into self-isolation for 14 days because they are displaying symptoms. The parent/carer or student/pupil wish to attend school.

The school should insist that the student does not attend school and mark as code ‘Y’. If Covid-19 is confirmed, use code ‘I’.

A school has advised a student/pupil to not attend school and go into self-isolation for 14 days because they are displaying symptoms. The parent/carer or student/pupil are content to not attend school.

No action, Use code ‘Y’. If Covid-19 is confirmed, use code ‘I’.

A student contacts the school and reports that they are or a family member is displaying symptoms.

The student should stay away from school for 14 days, and should be reminded that all who live in the house should do the same. Use code ‘Y’. If Covid-19 is confirmed for the student, use code ‘I’.

A student contacts the school and reports that they have symptoms and have seen a doctor who has told them to stay off school for 14 days.

The student should stay away from school for 14 days. Use code ‘I’

A student/pupil has presented with Covid-19 symptoms and is in the care of the medical services.

The student/pupil must not return until given the all-clear by clinicians, and no other members of the family living in their home are showing any symptoms. Use code ‘I’.

A parent has informed the school that in their opinion, it is not safe for their child to go to school and no member of the household is displaying symptoms. PHE have not placed the school under any restrictions or advised to close. The school remains open.

The student/pupil should be in school. The appropriate non-attendance procedures should be enacted. The attendance code should be O, absence not authorised.

A parent has informed the school that in a doctors opinion, it is not safe for their child to go to school, as either they or other family members are resident in the same house are at a greater risk of infection. The school remains open.

Use attendance code could be ‘Y’. However, the school should continue to monitor the situation.

A parent has informed the school that it is not safe for their child to go to school, as they believe they or other family members who are resident in the same house are at a greater risk of infection. No medical advice has been sought. The school remains open.

This is a judgement call for the school based on knowledge of family etc. In most cases it is likely this would be a ‘Y’ code but it would be advisable to speak with the family and suggest they seek PHE advice before deciding on such action.

A school orders a partial or full closure, that is supported by PHE in light of an outbreak at, or associated with the school.

Affected student/pupils should not attend school or any school activities. The code used should be Code ‘Y’.

A school orders a closure or partial closure, that is not ordered by Government or PHE.

KCC would not recommend that the school should close, however school closure is at the discretion of the Headteacher depending on the outcome of a risk assessment and individual circumstances. Maintained schools should be mindful of the obligations placed on them through the Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999 to be open for 380 sessions. The parent would have the right to complain to the school with regard to a possible unauthorised exclusion or failure to provide appropriate education.

The school is open and the student/pupil wishes to attend, but transport or staffing difficulties exacerbated solely by Covid-19 result in it being impossible or very difficult for the student/pupil to get to school.

Parents should make every effort to get their child to school, but if impossible, the student/pupil should stay at home, contact the school. If the school determine that the absence is caused entirely or mostly by Covid-19, the code used should be ‘Y’.

The school is closed by local or national government decision.

No student/pupils should attend school or any school activities. The code used should be Code ‘Y’.

Contact Details

If you have any queries about this advice, then please contact your Area Education Officer. For further information check our Coronavirus CoVID-19 page.