Parents, caregivers, and members of the education community are raising concerns and seeking clarity on the Department for Education’s (DfE) recent announcements regarding school attendance. The DfE’s seven updates, though aiming to improve the education system, have sparked curiosity and scepticism among many parents and educators, as a significant percentage voiced opposition during the public consultation.

We have broken down the important points for you to make sense of, as the main document is detailed and long-winded. This gives a little summary of what you need to know…

Read the official document here.

1. Remote Learning – Keeping It Real

Let’s kick things off with a biggie. The DfE won’t make schools record remote learning on the attendance list. But wait, how will they keep track of our remote-learning kids? That’s still a bit of a mystery we’re curious about!

2. The ‘B Code’ – Decoding It

Okay, so the ‘B code’ – it’s like a secret language for schools to use when students do off-site learning with the school’s thumbs up. But here’s the scoop: it’s not for just any off-site learning; it’s specifically for activities approved by the school. Think of it as a school’s way of saying, “We’ve got this covered.” When they use code B, schools are vouching that the education is supervised and that they’ve taken steps to keep our kids safe. This code shouldn’t be used for solo home study or any unsupervised educational activities.

And here’s the kicker: schools should have a system in place where the folks providing the off-site education let them know if a student is absent. If there’s an absence, the school should mark it using the regular absence code, just like when students are in the classroom.

3. Students with EHCPs – The Great Debate

Now, let’s dive into something that’s causing quite a bit of concern. Despite a lot of parents and school folks saying “No way!” the DfE isn’t going to force schools to get the local authority’s okay before removing a student with an education, health, and care plan (EHCP) from the school roll. This decision places a massive amount of pressure on the Section 19 duty, particularly if schools can make this decision on their own.

Can you believe it? Placing a child with SEN in a position where they have no placement is just insane! So many kids might fall under the radar because most parents assume that the Local Authorities will pick this up and implement the Section 19 duty. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t the case. If the school removes them, does that trigger an emergency EHCP Annual review, or is it yet another thing parents are expected to understand? It’s just ridiculous!

4. Electronic Attendance Records – All Digital, Baby!

Here’s a big change: no more old-school paper attendance records. The DfE says it’s time to go digital. That could make spotting attendance issues easier and help everyone work together to keep students in class. But some of us wonder about data security and privacy.

5. Health Matters – Keeping Kids in School

Times have changed since the ’50s, and so have the rules! The DfE wants to stop students from being removed from school just because of health issues. That’s a good thing, right? But how will they make sure kids get the help they need?

6. Sick Days – Report ‘Em!

Here’s a new rule: schools have to report when a student has been sick for 15 days or more. But don’t worry, they say it’s not about getting tough on anyone. It’s more about making sure sick students get the help they need.

We’re keeping a close eye on these changes and want the DfE to chat with parents and educators about our concerns. We’re all in this together, and our main goal is to make sure these changes really help our kids and don’t cause any unexpected hiccups.

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

CLICK HERE to book a call with our team to discuss how we can assist you in advocating for your child’s education or hire our legal adviser to undertake the Pre-Action Protocol letter for you. We are here to support you every step of the way in securing your child’s most suitable educational provision.