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 10 October 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 3590
  1. You must have a register
  2. When to take the register
  3. What format it can take
  4. What to record
  5. Who can take the register
  6. Clearly set out when your register will close

You must have a 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 DfE's guidance on working together to improve attendance and legislation, which we refer to throughout this article.

When to take the register

You must take the attendance register at the start of the morning session of each school day and once during the afternoon session.

You're not required to take additional attendance registers in individual lessons or for before and after-school sessions.

What format it can take

If you're keeping it physically, you must make the entries