Bubble classes - Taking attendance for vulnerable and key worker students if the rest of the school is closed

Common questions

This guidance is for schools who are only open to vulnerable and key worker students and closed to other students. The meaning of vulnerable is defined by each individual school, but the DfE guidance on defining these students can be found here.

Do I need to create bubble registers?

You don’t need to create additional registers, however, having separate registers makes it easier to see who are meant to be physically present and mark their attendance. 

You can use your current registers but this may be more difficult to track the number of students in each group and where you have allocated your staff.  

How can I check what day my bubble registers start on?

You can check you have set up your bubble registers to start on the right day from Students > Attendance > Registers > Registers By Date. Not just for viewing past registers, this page can also be used to show upcoming registers by changing the date.


How would teachers see their new registers?

To ensure teachers are able to access their new register you have to ensure they are the academic lead of the course or module. This article will help you with this.

If you have Teaching Assistants who need to access the registers to take attendance you can give them access using this guidance.

How do I access my evacuation register?

Due to the additional bubble classes, the best way to create an evacuation register has changed because it will not show your new bubble classes. You can generate a printable register for one lesson from the Lesson Dashboard, or to generate printable registers for the whole day, go to Students > Attendance > Reports. 

Why is my register already marked in the afternoon?

This happens when only one register has been set up for your bubble groups for the whole day. To take separate attendance registers in the morning and afternoon, you will have needed to schedule both AM and PM sessions, with a gap between for lunch. You can add missing PM sessions by going to School > Programmes > 2020/2021 Courses and selecting the bottom-level course, then scheduling more Classes & Lessons.

What if I enter the marks into bubble registers and my normal registers?

The Covid-19 Dashboard looks at one mark per student, taking the most recent, relevant marks into account. This means that marking students in both the bubble and normal registers should not negatively impact your attendance data, providing you use the correct attendance code. You can see which code to use in the How to take attendance section of this article.

I can see an error message when taking attendance?

If you're using bubble registers, you'll see an error message in registers saying students are due to be in two places at once. You'll need to ignore these messages.

Don't worry - if the student is marked as present in your bubble register, but marked absent in their normal register, they'll be counted as present on the Covid-19 Dashboard.




Setting up additional scheduled lessons

We urge schools to not to add holiday days to your academic calendar, remove any of your current registration groups, or end any of your scheduled registration sessions, courses or classes as this can impact your New School Year Setup and API integrations. Instead, we recommend you add any bubble classes that you need.

Important notices:

  • During this process, there will be timetable clashes. This is unavoidable due to the current circumstances and you will need to ignore these.
  • Our new Daily Report tab will only be able to count up the day’s attendance marks so far. If you have students scheduled to come in during the afternoon only, they will not be counted in the figures until afternoon registers have been taken.
  • Due to the DfE using non statistical marks, your main dashboard won’t display accurate information.
Step 1 - Set up bubble registers

Please note: you will not be able to use TimeTabler to create bubble classes as this will override your current classes. You will only need to set up classes for students due to attend, so it’s likely you won’t be setting up a full timetable. 


Before you set this up, you’ll need to know which students will be expected to attend your school on which days. You can create classes with a different structure, the example below is just one way to create new classes for socially distanced registers. In my example, the students will remain in the same room for the whole day, so I’m only going to set up AM and PM registration to take attendance.

Go to School > Programmes > 2020/2021 Courses. I first need to create the new top-level course by clicking +Add from this page.



If you don't have different students every day and all your children are being registered together, you can go straight to enrolling students.

If you have a different group of students in each day, you can set up a different module for each group so you can schedule their lessons. A module is a sub-group of the students, with the parent course acting as an 'umbrella' group to link the student groups together and keep your class structure organised.

Click +Add in the Modules section to add a new module. If the group will be for a mixed year group, leave the Year group field blank.



Once you've created each module, you'll be taken to the overview for the module. To prevent you from creating modules inside another when you don't mean to, it's a good idea to return to your top-level course after adding each module to see what you have left to do. At the top of the module overview, click the Component of field and click More information in the slide over.



In my example, I know one group of students will be in on Monday all day and Tuesday AM whereas another group will be in on Tuesday PM and Wednesday all day.



I can then click into each module and click More Information in the slide over to go to the module overview and timetable my sessions. This will need to be completed for each bottom-level module I’ve set up. I can click into a module to visit the overview, then click +Add in the Classes & Lessons section to schedule multiple lessons.

In the slide over, I’ll need to set the start and end times of the lessons (accounting for any changes in drop-off times and making sure they overlap with your Roll Call times), and set the date to begin when your students are returning. Add in a staff member to enable them to take the register.



Make sure you repeat this for every lesson you need to schedule for this student cohort.

If you’ll be taking the register in the morning and the afternoon, you will need to make sure you’ve scheduled both AM and PM slots. If you need to change the start date or time click into the slot and click Edit.


Step 2 - Enrolling students into your extra registers

Option 1 - Enrol students using an existing custom group

If you have already set up custom groups of vulnerable students to enable you to report on them on your Covid-19 dashboard, you can automatically enrol these students into your bubble classes. Make sure you have set up your custom group as shown in the How to use your Daily Report section in this article

You can then go to School > Programmes > 2020/2021 Courses and select the class. Click +Add in the Enrolled Students section and choose Setup Automatic Group Enrolment.



In the slide over, select the custom group to enrol.



Option 2 - Enrol students manually

To do this, go to School > Programmes > 2020/2021 Courses > Table View tab. Click on the course, then click the Enrol Students button.



You can then select the students to enrol. Make sure you do not enrol them in other bottom-level groups, and set the date to begin when your students are returning.


How to check your structure and move modules if needed

To prevent you from creating modules inside another when you don't mean to, it's a good idea to check what you've set up as you go along to see what you have left to do.

To check your structure, go to School > Programmes > 2020/2021 Courses. Find your bubble registers and click the + symbols to check you've set up the right number of modules with the right structure.

Need to move a module to a different place? There's no need to delete everything and start again! Just click the module you want to move.



On the overview, click the Component of field.



Click Edit in the slide over, then choose the module to move this one into, then click the green button to move it.


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