COVID-19 - Recording attendance in the school register during the Coronavirus outbreak

Update: August 2022:

For the academic year 2022-2023 the I02 attendance code has been withdrawn. Please view Registration Codes for the codes which are statutory in the 2022-2023 academic year.


Update: 19th April 2022

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that for the Summer Term of academic year 2021 the X sub codes are to be withdrawn

In line with the transition to living with COVID-19, the DfE no longer advises 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 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.

You can find the full DfE guidance here

If you require further advice on which attendance codes to use for your students, please refer to your Local Authority or Trust leaders.


Update 26/08/2021

For the academic year 2021/22 the DfE has amended the X code subcategories


Two new codes have been released:

X08 - Not attending in response to outbreak management

X09 - Self-isolating: close contact required to isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

There is no longer a requirement for children or young people under the age of 18 years and 6
months, regardless of their vaccine status, to self-isolate whilst awaiting the results of their PCR test where they have been a close contact. The X09 code therefore is for students older than 18 years and 6 months.

Two former X sub-codes have now been archived and are no longer available for use:

X03 - Self-isolating: contact inside school

X04 - Self-isolating: contact outside school

For further information, please refer to the DfE guidance: Non-Attendance Related to Coronavirus.

Further information

From Friday 1st October 2021, the education settings status form will move from daily reporting to weekly to reduce the time schools and colleges spend completing it. For more information click here.  This will be kept under review, and should the national situation require, daily reporting may be reinstated. The Covid-19 Attendance Figures report has been updated to comply with the new X sub categories. 

Update 05/03/2021

Schools are reopening on 08/03/2021, and attendance will be mandatory from that date (see here for details).

The Department for Education (DfE) has updated their guidance to schools about attendance code subcategories for the X and I codes. They have defined a set of sub codes for schools to consistently record non-attendance related to coronavirus and to help them complete the educational settings form. For full details click here

In line with the new sub codes, ScholarPack has updated the codes available in the registers
For the full list of Registration Codes, click here.
You may still choose to use the former I - (Illness not appointments) and X - Early Years if you wish, as they are not related to Covid-19 (although X01 and I01 . You will find these codes under Normal Codes in the register dropdown. The new subcategories will appear in Reports and assist with the daily educational setting status form. 


Update 08/01/2021

During the National Lockdown from January 2021, schools are requested to keep registers open to record student attendance (see DfE Guidance here).

Code X - Government Restrictions/Local Lockdown (formerly X - Local Lockdown) is to be used for all students engaging in remote learning from home.

Children of Critical/Key Workers who are physically in school will have daily attendance codes entered in the registers. If part time attendees, they will have X - Government Restrictions/Local Lockdown entered for days they are remote learning from home. 

Vulnerable students are expected to be in school full time. If they are Shielding or Self Isolating the appropriate X codes should be used. If their parent/carer chooses to keep them at home for remote learning, the C- Other Authorised Circumstances code is to be used (authorised absence).  There is to be no penalty for non attendance from January 2021 to February 2021 half term (or later revised date). 


UPDATE (August 2020): Please refer to the article on COVID-19 Attendance Codes to be used in Academic Year 2020 by clicking HERE (last updated 07/01/2021).

The Department for Education (DfE) has issued guidance on recording student attendance in the registers after 1st June 2020. Please click herefor the full details. This guidance on resuming the attendance register will be reviewed regularly by the DfE.

The DfE has confirmed that the Autumn Census 2020 will not be using attendance data from the Summer Term.

All schools should submit daily attendance figures to the DfE using the educational setting status form by midday every day.  The COVID-19 Attendance Figures report has been created to help you complete the DfE form, saving you valuable time and effort - click here for details.

We are currently in talks with the DfE regarding ScholarPack schools uploading a file straight from our reports in lieu of the form, but until confirmed please use the form provided.

Schools should resume taking the attendance register in ScholarPack when specific groups of students begin to return to school, and use the attendance and absence codes listed below until further notice. For guidance on setting up your Covid-19 teaching bubbles within ScholarPack please visit our step by step guide - ScholarPack Teaching Bubbles

To view the changes ScholarPack has made to subcategorise the attendance codes, helping you with DfE reporting requirements, click here.

Whole School closed

# code (school closed to all pupils): This code is to be used when a school is closed completely for a session. 

Pupils who are not eligible to attend a session

X code (not required in school):  This code is to be used for students who are not eligible to attend a session. This will include any student who is not in an eligible year group or priority group (those children of keyworkers and vulnerable children).

This may also include students who are in an eligible year group but are not required in school for a specific reason (e.g. they may be in year 0 or 1 but not expected in school at a given time due to social distancing requirements).

Temporarily, the X code can be used for compulsory school age children – usually it is only used where non-compulsory school age children are not expected to attend.

Pupils who are eligible to attend a session but do not

These codes are to be used for children in eligible year groups, children of critical workers and vulnerable children who do not attend a session.

Y code (unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances): This code is applied where a student is shielding, self-isolating, or has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and their risk assessment says that their needs cannot be safely met in school.

Temporarily, the Y code can be used where a student is prevented from attending school due to following government guidance on coronavirus. To help you to complete the educational setting status form, you should note whether the absence is due to shielding or isolation.

I code (illness): This code is to be used where a student cannot attend school due to illness. To help you to complete the educational setting status form, you should note whether the illness involves coronavirus symptoms.

C code (leave of absence authorised by school): This code is to be used where a student does not attend school (despite being eligible and is not shielding, self-isolating, unable to attend due to illness, nor has an EHCP risk assessment saying their needs cannot be safely met at school). This will include students whose parents choose for them not to return at present.

Note: At this time, all absence should be classed as authorised.

Pupils who are attending other schools

D code (dual registered): This code is to be used where a student is attending another school,  such as a pupil referral unit (PRU). The code will indicate that the student was not expected to attend the session in quesion as they are attending the other school at which they are registered. 

B code (off-site educational activity): This code is to be used for students attending a host school on a temporary basis because their home school cannot accommodate them. The host school should record the B code. The host school does not need to add this child to their attendance register but should keep a record of their attendance for safeguarding purposes and include the child in their daily totals for the educational setting status form - schools should put in place arrangements whereby the host school notifies the home school of any absences.

Using other authorised absence and attendance codes

Where other specific authorised absence and attendance codes are more appropriate schools may want to use these as usual, such as the M code (medical appointment).

Staggered start times

Schools should have a policy on how long the register should be kept open but where a school implements staggered start times, they may wish to consider temporarily extending this period, or reopening the register.

Changes to the Register on ScholarPack

To assist schools with their registers we have devised some subcategories to the Attendance codes. This is for your records, and will help you complete the educational setting status form. In Register > Manage Register, once you have selected your form group or 'Covid Bubble' from the Dynamic Group dropdown, click a cell to apply an attendance code. You will see in the image below there are

Covid-19 Subcategories of: 

C -  choosing not to attend

I -  illness involving COVID symptoms (the I code for other illness is found under Normal Codes in the dropdown)

X - Not required to be in school

Y - shielding

Y - self-isolating


These code options are also available at the base of the student table in Manage Register in order to apply in bulk to a number of students in that group.


Note: while every effort is made to ensure this guide is correct, please seek guidance from your Local Authority or Trust leadership for the final decision on attendance codes.

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