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Attendance Codes

The following attendance code definitions are taken from the government guidance document;

School attendance Guidance for maintained schools, academies,

independent schools and local authorities. May 2022.


Present at school

Pupils must not be marked present if they were not in school during registration. If a pupil were to leave the school premises after registration, they would still be counted as present for statistical purposes.


  • Registration code / \: Present in school / = am \ = pm

Present in school during registration.

  • Code L: Late arrival before the register has closed


Schools should have a policy on how long registers should be kept open; this should be for a reasonable length of time, but not that registers are to be kept open for the whole session. A pupil arriving after the register has closed should be marked absent with code U or with another absence code if that is more appropriate.


Present at an approved off-site educational activity

An approved educational activity is where a pupil is taking part in a supervised educational activity such as field trips, educational visits, work experience or alternative provision.


Pupils can only be recorded as receiving off-site educational activity if the activity meets the requirements prescribed in regulation 6(4) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. The activity must be of an educational nature, approved by the school and supervised by someone authorised by the school. The activity must take place during the session for which the mark is recorded.


Attendance codes for when pupils are present at approved off-site educational activity are as follows:


Code B: off-site educational activity

This code should be used when pupils are present at an off-site educational activity that the school has approved. Ultimately schools are responsible for the safeguarding and welfare of pupils educated off-site. Therefore by using code B, schools are certifying that the education is supervised and measures have been taken to safeguard pupils. This code should not be used for any unsupervised educational activity or where a pupil is at home doing school work. Schools should ensure that they have in place arrangements whereby the provider of the alternative activity notifies the school of any absences by individual pupils. The school should record the pupil’s absence using the relevant absence code.


Code D: dual registered - at another educational establishment

This code is not counted as a possible attendance in the School Census. The law allows for dual registration of pupils at more than one school. This code indicates that the pupil was not expected to attend the session in question because they were scheduled to attend the other school at which they are registered.


The main examples of dual registration are pupils who are attending a pupil referral unit, a hospital school or a special school temporarily. It can also be used when the pupil is known to be registered at another school during the session in question.


Each school should only record the pupil’s attendance and absence for those sessions that the pupil is scheduled to attend their school. Schools should ensure that they have in place arrangements whereby all unexplained and unexpected absence is followed up promptly.


Code P: participating in a supervised sporting activity

This code should be used to record the sessions when a pupil is taking part in a sporting activity that has been approved by the school and supervised by someone authorised by the school.


Code V: educational visit or trip

This code should be used for attendance at an organised trip or visit, including residential trips organised by the school, or attendance at a supervised trip of a strictly educational nature arranged by an organisation approved by the school.


Two additional codes, J and W have not been included here as they apply to older children and students attending an interview or work experience.