School attendance and admissions registers will be held electronically, under plans announced in a new Department for Education (DfE) consultation paper.
The proposals were first mooted as part of the January announcement by the Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, that the DfE was looking to tighten rules around pupil absence.
That month, the department began to trial a real-time attendance tracker which, it claims, “most” schools are now signed up to. As well as insisting that all schools switch to such a system, the government is proposing that both local authorities and the central government be given access to the data.
Part of the consultation is a reaction to a changing landscape in post-pandemic education. In addition to the complete lockdown during remote learning, a student’s home-based participation in education cannot currently be recorded in the attendance register; Instead, schools keep a separate record.
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“We recognize that as remote education technology develops, and schools maintain their capabilities to deliver remote education in cases where it is not possible for students to attend face-to-face lessons, there may be a need for this type of participation to be recorded. , “Reads the paper.
“As such, we propose that new regulations be provided for remote education to be recorded as ‘attending any other place for approved remote education’ where it meets a specific set of criteria.”
Other proposals include:
- Setting a national threshold for fines unauthorized absence, rather than leaving it to the discretion of individual heads and councils
- After two fines for the same child in a school year, any further offenses should prompt consideration of the prosecuting parent
- Simplifying the terminology by which the reasons for absence are recorded
- Schools inform councils when it is clear that illness will prevent a pupil from attendingingschool for an aggregate total of 15 days or more.
- Recording reasons for absence should extend to non-compulsory school age of students
- Revising the methods and criteria by which pupils are deleted from the admission registers