Attendance codes and how they count towards statutory attendance

Attendance codes determine whether a student is marked as present or absent in Arbor. When taking the registers, your teachers can choose the marks of Present (/), Late (L) or No Reason (N), but can amend the N code to a different code if they wish.

Absence codes (not including /,\, L, U) can be prefilled if you add a planned absence.



Our currently available codes are based on the DfE guidance, and as such we do not allow you to create custom attendance codes. In the table below, you can see what each code means, when it should be used, and whether it contributes to your attendance figures. For more information on absence codes, take a look at the DfE's School attendance guide, pages 9-14.

We have included our currently available Covid-related attendance codes. To see more information on past covid-related attendance codes, see our reference guide here


When a student is scheduled to be in two academic sessions at once, Arbor will calculate the best mark which will count as their statutory attendance mark. For example, a student is marked as present in their intervention. They were also marked with an N in registration that takes place at the same time. This means they will get a present mark for their Statutory Roll Call mark.

The hierarchy for best marks are:

  1. Present
  2. Present, at an Approved Educational Activity 
  3. Absent, authorised
  4. Absent, unauthorised
  5. Uncounted codes


Full name 


Code type

/ or \ Present am or pm Present in school during registration. The student is counted as present
L Late Late arrival before the register has closed
B Educated off Site The student is at an off-site supervised educational activity approved by the school. The student is counted as present, at an Approved Educational Activity  
J Interview At a job interview, or interviewing with another educational establishment.
P Sporting Activity (Approved) Pupil is taking part in a sporting activity that has been approved by the school and supervised by someone authorised by the school.
V Educational trip A residential trip organised by the school or a supervised strictly educational trip arranged by an approved organisation.
W Work Experience A student in the final two years of compulsory education is attending work experience.
C Other Authorised Absence Only exceptional circumstances warrant an authorised leave of absence. The student is counted as absent, authorised

E Excluded If a student is excluded but still on the admission register, they should be marked E, for up to the sixth consecutive day of any fixed period or permanent exclusion.
H Family Holiday (Agreed) A leave of absence for a family holiday is granted entirely at the head teacher’s discretion.
M Medical/Dental Appointments The student is absent due to a medical or dental appointment that could not be made outside of school hours.
Religious Observance The student is absent for religious observance on a day designated by the religious body.
S Study Leave Study leave should be used sparingly and only granted to Year 11 pupils for public exams. Students should still be able to come into school to revise.
T Traveller Absence Used when Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish Travellers, Showmen (fairground people) and Circus people, Bargees (occupational boat dwellers) or New Travellers are known to be travelling for occupational purposes and have agreed this with the school.
I Illness The student is ill (unless the truthfulness of the claim is in question). This code should not be used for medical or dental appointments.
Cov Confirmed case of Covid-19 This code maps to the statutory mark of I. Use this code if the student has received a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test result.
G Family Holiday (Not Agreed) The Holiday was not authorised by the school or in excess of the period determined by the headteacher. The student is counted as absent, unauthorised
N No Reason The reason for the absence has not been provided. If no reason for an absence is provided after a reasonable amount of time, it should be changed to O.
O Unauthorised Absence If the school is not satisfied with the reason given for absence they should record it as unauthorised.
U Late (After Register Closes) Schools should keep registers open for a reasonable amount of time, after which the student should be marked with a U.
D Dual Registration The student is registered at another school and attends it during this lesson e.g. students at a pupil referral unit. Schools should only record attendance and absences for sessions the pupil is scheduled to attend at their school.  These codes are not counted so will not affect attendance figures

X Not Required (Non-Compulsory School Age)

The child is of non-compulsory school age and is not required to be in school during this session. This code should only be used for students who have not yet passed the 1st January, 1st April or 1st September following their 5th birthday.

This code can also be used for any covid-related absences not covered by the codes below (after confirming with the DfE).

Y Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances The school is closed due to an unavoidable cause or the student is unable to travel to the school. It can also be used where the pupil is in custody (for less than four months). This code is collected for statistical purposes but does not contribute to your attendance figures.
Z Pupil Not On Roll This code can be used when setting up registers in advance of pupils joining. Schools must take attendance for pupils from the first day the student should be attending the school.
# School Closed To Pupils This code should be used for whole or partial school closures that are known or planned in advance such as if the school is used as a polling station.
SII Self-isolating internal exposure This code maps to the statutory mark of X. Use this code if the student was exposed to Covid-19 in your educational setting and is self-isolating as a result
SIE Self-isolating external exposure This code maps to the statutory mark of X. Use this code if the student was exposed to Covid-19 outside of your educational setting and is self-isolating as a result. This includes self-isolation after travelling outside the UK, self-isolation due to a suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the household and self-isolating requested by the NHS Test and Trace service.
Sym Suspected case of Covid-19 This code maps to the statutory mark of X. Use this code if the student is displaying symptoms but has not yet received a test result.


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