SCHOOL CLOSURES AND ATTENDANCE DISPUTES

March 2018

Whilst we hope that we have all had a happy snow day or two over the last week or so, some parents have been left torn over whether to send their children to school.

Is your school local?

These days many children do not attend their nearest school often needing to make a journey by car or bus or have a long walk.

School closures

Some schools have closed during the recent snowy weather but some have been open.  Although many school bus services have not been running and drivers have been advised not to travel; should you try to get your child to school regardless?

Facilities

I read recently of a school which banned children from wearing boots or coats to school as they had no lockers, coat hangers or storage facilities on the premises.  Parents refused to send their children in cold weather without appropriate footwear or clothing. 

Unauthorised absence

Many parents are worried that if their child’s school is open and their child does not attend that their absence will be marked as unauthorised and they receive a fine.

Absence code

This is where Code Y comes in.  Code Y can be used in when a pupil is unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances.  The circumstances listed for using the code are vague:

This code can be used where a pupil is unable to attend because:

• The school site, or part of it, is closed due to an unavoidable cause; or

• The transport provided by the school or a local authority is not available and where the pupil’s home is not within walking distance; or

• A local or national emergency has resulted in widespread disruption to travel which has prevented the pupil from attending school.

They do not define the distance or treacherous nature of any potential walk but we feel that there is often an arguable case.

If you are concerned about whether your child has been marked as absent using the correct code, or worse still receive a fine for unauthorised absence, check with your child’s school.

Source Department for Education, School Attendance, page 13:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil...