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Summary of advice to schools and settings to keep a record of attendance.

First published:
20 September 2021
Last updated:

While Fixed Penalty Notices for non-attendance have been available to Local Authorities during the pandemic, we have generally recommended against their use. We are now at a stage where we can revert back to the previous policy, where they can be used as a last resort. We remain clear that fines are to be used in only the most extreme cases, as part of a range of options and when all efforts to engage with the family have been tried and failed and where it is evident that there are no underlying reasons that are impacting upon attendance at school. Effective immediately, all Local Authorities should revert to guidance on the use of FPNs, contained within the 2013 guidance on penalty notices for regular non-attendance at school.

Following consultation, the Welsh Government has revoked the School Performance and Absence Targets (Wales) Regulations 2011 (in force from 7 August 2020). As a result, there has been no statutory requirement for schools to set targets for future years or report on those previously set for 2019 to 2020 onwards. This arrangement will continue for 2022 to 2023. This is in recognition that schools may need flexibility and space to use creative means of re-engaging learners and that we will be conducting a comprehensive review of attendance and inclusion guidance. 

However we will be reinstating the requirement on a non-statutory basis for the coming academic year, and would ask that Local Authorities provide appropriate support and challenge to schools to enable them to meet agreed targets. We will review this approach after a year.

The annual attendance data collections will continue.

Schools should record attendance and absence in keeping with the following codes; guidance on when they should be used follows the summary.

What code should be used?

The following Covid specific codes should no longer be used and as such have been deactivated within the schools MIS:

Code Meaning Statistical category
[ Remote learning due to COVID-19 (where a learner is shielding or self-isolating) Not required to attend
; Illness due to COVID-19 Authorised absence

All codes apply as per the guidance on school attendance.