Recording the school as closed for a day

There are two ways to record school closure to students in Arbor. The method we recommend will depend on whether the closure is planned (such as an election or bank holiday) or not planned (such as a snow day or heatwave).

We recommend using these methods based on the guidance on Attendance Administrative Codes supplied by the DfE in their School Attendance Guidance document, page 13.

Please note that if you are adding whole school closures into your academic calendar, you should do this before the day: Registers still there when school is marked as closed

Adding a planned school closure e.g. bank holiday, a polling day or the coronation

Whole school closure

This method will mark attendance in the background with the # attendance code. This method should be used for whole school closures that are known or planned in advance such as:

  • between terms
  • half terms
  • occasional days (for example, bank holidays)
  • up to five non-educational days to be used for curriculum planning/training
  • use of schools as polling stations

Important notice about clubs and trips

Even if your school is marked as closed, your clubs, trips and wraparound care will not be automatically cancelled or refunded. The invoices will still be in the Payments area, but you won't be able to refund them.

We recommend you make any refunds or cancellations for sessions before marking your school as closed. You can see how to do this here: 


Go to School > School Structure > Academic years and select the year.



Click the red Return to incomplete button before making changes.



Click +Add in the Holidays section to add planned whole school absences.



Fill in the relevant information in the slide over, including the Holiday Type. This means that there will be no registers for the days covered by the holiday.

For example, when the school is being used for polling, you would select Election as the holiday type. When you have filled in the information, click Add Academic Holiday to implement the holiday and prevent registers from existing on those days.



Once this holiday has been added, click the green Mark Calendar as Complete button to save your changes.




Partial school closure - Planned absences

For the students who will be off, you can add in a planned absence with the right pre-fill attendance code (likely the Y code) to pull through to the registers: Adding and viewing Planned Absences and future pre-fill marks

On the day of the partial closure, you'll need to open the registers for the planned absence marks to pull through, as this will not update marks automatically. Go to Students > Attendance, click into that class' register and click the Open Register button to open it and pull through the marks. You can then edit any marks from the Bulk Edit Marks pages if needed.



Adding an unplanned school closure e.g. a snow day

There are two ways to add unplanned school closures. The one your school chooses is up to you. These methods should be used when students are unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances such as:

  • the school site, or part of it, is closed due to an unavoidable cause
  • the transport provided by the school or a local authority is not available and where the pupil’s home is not within walking distance
  • a local or national emergency has resulted in widespread disruption to travel which has prevented the pupil from attending school
  • the pupil is in custody; detained for a period of fewer than four months

Whole school closure

We advise against adding a holiday type of 'Exceptional circumstances' into your academic calendar for an unplanned school closure. This is because this will be logged as # code.

The DfE advises you to record unplanned school closures with the Y code, so we would instead recommend following the instructions in the Partial school closure - Bulk edit attendance marks section below.

Partial school closure - Bulk edit attendance marks

You may wish to manage the attendance marks yourself. In this case, registers will still appear, but the marks placed in them as a result of this process will not impact your school's attendance statistics. This process must also be done on the day of the closure or later.

Please note: In order to complete the following method, you will have to manually open all the registers on the day first.

Go to Students > Attendance > Bulk Edit Marks Standard.

Use the filters at the top of the page to select the students and make sure the start and end dates are correct.



Click the tick box at the very top of the table to select all students, then click the Bulk action button and select Bulk Set Absent.



In the slide over, select the Attendance mark. If it is a snow day or similar emergency school closure you should use the code Y. The School closed to pupils code # should be used for planned school closures only (such as for election polling at the school).

Scroll down to the bottom of the slide over to select which periods to update and whether to overwrite already existing marks, such as for planned absences.

Once happy with your selection, click the Bulk Set Marks button.





You will receive a notification in the top right of your MIS when the change has been completed.

Refresh your page and you will see that all the marks will have changed to the correct absence code. You can also click the notification to go to the Bulk Edit Marks Advanced page.

Please be aware that it can take some time for marks to load if you have updated many student's marks at once.


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