Attendance register: requirements and guidance

Be clear on the rules for registering pupil attendance and absence, so you can make sure your school is compliant. Find guidance on when to close the register, and see what approaches other schools take.

Last reviewed on 7 June 2024See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 3590
  1. You must have an electronic register
  2. Take the register twice a day
  3. Keep the all entries in the register for at least 6 years 
  4. Record attendance using the DfE's codes
  5. Who can take the register
  6. Clearly set out when your register will close

You must have an electronic register

All schools, except for boarding-only schools, are required to have an attendance register. You must include all pupils, regardless of their age, on this register.

In a boarding school, if you have any day-pupils, you must keep an attendance register for them. However, there's no requirement to do so for your boarding pupils.

The statutory requirements for the register are set out in the guidance on working together to improve attendance and legislation, which we refer to throughout this article. 

Use an electronic management information system (MIS) to keep your attendance register

This expectation is set out in paragraph 35 of the attendance guidance.

Give the DfE access to your MIS, to help you fulfil the requirement to share your daily attendance data (see paragraph 51 of the guidance, linked above).

You must take the attendance register at the start of the morning session

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