Data Trends last looked at attendance back in January. Since then, there have been developments in this area that school leaders should be aware of. In this blog, industry expert Dan Stucke looks at changes in attendance management that come into effect in September 2022 through the DfE guidance: Working together to improve school attendance, and proposed changes for 2023 and beyond that are currently in consultation: Modernising school attendance and admission registers and setting national thresholds for legal intervention

Confirmed school attendance guidance for September 2022 

New guidance has been released with regards to managing school attendance that comes into effect from September 2022: Working together to improve school attendance. Those directly responsible for managing attendance in schools should probably set some time aside to read the whole document, but I’ve pulled out some key changes for you below. 

Pupils with a social worker are a defined group for attendance tracking and monitoring. This group of students are specifically called out as one you should be monitoring closely, alongside the traditional groups such as Pupil Premium, SEND etc. 

Severe absence is a defined category to monitor alongside persistent absence. The methodology appears to be the same as persistent absence and is defined as any student with below 50% attendance. 

Punctuality is given a growing focus within the guidance. Expect this to be reflected in Ofsted inspections for the year ahead. 

Fixed penalty notices will be encouraged, and the criteria have been clarified and will need to be tracked closely by schools. There is an expectation that these are considered for any student where they meet any of the following criteria: 

  • 10 sessions of unauthorised absence including lateness in a term. 
  • Any incidence of unauthorised holiday in term time. 
  • Any sessions of unauthorised absence immediately following a leave of absence in term time. 

This guidance is in line with the formal changes discussed in the consultation below. 

Monitoring and analysing absence patterns have an increased focus. I would recommend that schools are regularly conducting day of the week absence analysis, analysing broken weeks and generally looking for patterns in absences. 

Actions for School & MAT Leaders: 

  • Ensure that your Management Information System is up to date with all the information needed to monitor the above changes. 
  • Set up reports to monitor the above issues, ensure your policies clearly define who will run and monitor reports, and what actions you will take when you identify issues. 
  • Update your policies on fixed penalty notices, and ensure you apply these consistently. You do not have to instigate them in all the situations above, but you should ensure they’re consistently considered. 

Proposed attendance changes for 2023 onwards 

The DfE have an active consultation on changes to attendance recording and on fixed penalty notices that is open to responses until the 29th July: Modernising school attendance and admission registers and setting national thresholds for legal intervention. Whilst not entirely clear, I assume these changes are proposed from 2023 onwards. 

The consultation focuses on two areas: 

  • Simplified register codes & electronic data sharing. 
  • National legislation on when fixed penalty notices must be considered for absences. 

As with all DfE consultations, if you have a vested interest in this area and an opinion worth sharing, please do complete a consultation response. It’s important the views of the profession are recorded in such consultations (whether they’re listened to or not!). 

Proposal 1 – The keeping of attendance and admission registers, access to and sharing of register data and the rules for granting leaves of absence. These proposals include: 

  • A simplification of absence codes, in particular filing all under either present or absent (moving approved educational activities within the present section). 
  • All registers to be completed electronically pending the setup of automatic electronic data sharing directly from MISs to LAs & the DfE. 
  • Updates on deletions from registers. 

Proposal 2 – Thresholds for the new national framework for issuing fixed penalty notices.  These include: 

  • Proposed national thresholds for when a fixed penalty notice must be considered 
    1. 10 sessions of unauthorised absence including lateness in a term (where support has not been successful, has not been engaged with, or is not appropriate). 
    2. Any incidence of unauthorised holiday in term time. 
    3. Any sessions of unauthorised absence immediately following a leave of absence in term time. 
    4. Any incidence of an excluded pupil being in a public place without reasonable justification during the first 5 school days of an exclusion. 
  • The claimed aim of this is to ensure consistency across different LAs and to ensure that a clear framework exists for schools to work in partnership with LAs to improve attendance. 


These two pieces of guidance and consultation, in combination with the Children’s Commissioner report from March (Where are England’s Children? Interim findings from the Children’s Commissioner’s Attendance Audit) demonstrate a considerable focus on attendance in schools for the year ahead. This is understandable as following the impact of Covid, attendance has dropped considerably, and this is probably the biggest single lever for improving outcomes in schools right now. The Summer is a great time to be updating your policies, procedures and data analytics systems to allow you to best support young people in attendance in your schools. 

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can support you with attendance monitoring across your academy trust then please get in contact. Assembly Pro has a huge range of powerful PowerBI dashboards for monitoring and reporting on attendance, alongside other key factors such as safeguarding, behaviour and outcomes. 

Analysing attendance for students with an EHCP across a MAT using cross-filters in Assembly Pro: 


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Investigating persistent absence for Y9 students across a MAT: 

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Monitoring punctuality for PP boys with an EHCP in Y11 using characteristic filters in Assembly Pro: 

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