Automatically send daily attendance data to the DfE through their API

The DfE has set up a new API to enable schools using Arbor to send data to them. Once you’ve consented in Arbor, your school's data will be sent to the DfE every day in the morning and the afternoon, as well as sending data for the previous 8 days, to catch any updates. The data sent includes aggregated attendance data, and basic enrolment data, and doesn't send any individual or personal data. If in the future, the DfE decides to request individual or personal data, we will ask you for additional consent before we change what we send.

You still need to complete the educational settings status form and school census return as normal.


Switching on the sync

To switch on the sync, you'll need to have the Data Returns: Administer permission. If you don't have this permission you can ask your office team to assign it to you.

Go to School > Data > Export > Attendance API Submissions. Review the information about what Arbor will send, and confirm that you would like Arbor to start sending attendance data to the DfE by clicking the Give consent button.



Arbor will send the following data every day, plus data from the previous 7 days (you can see full details here):

  • The year groups in your school - based on the National Curriculum year group set
  • URN (your school number) - you can see this in School > School Details
  • Total number of AM and PM Roll Call attendance marks for each attendance code
  • Total number of AM and PM Roll Call attendance marks for each year group
  • The total number of pupils on roll
  • How many pupils are enrolled in each year group

The table below the explanation will show a summary of when the data was sent and whether it was received successfully. There should be a green tick on each row.

If any of your data shows without a green tick, you can click to find out why it wasn’t successful. You can also contact the Arbor Support Team if supported by Arbor, or your Support Partner if not supported by Arbor.



To turn off the sync, click Remove consent. Please note: You do not need to turn the sync on and off each day. Only turn of the sync if you no longer wish to send any data moving forward.




Do I still have to submit the school census?

Yes, the DfE has said that this doesn’t replace school census, as it is going to be used to understand the impact of covid-19 on school attendance.  

Do I still have to fill in the daily education setting status form?

Yes, there is still quite a lot of data that the government wants to understand about the impact of covid-19 on schools, that isn’t included in attendance data. If this changes, we will let your school know.

Do I still need to send attendance data to my Local Authority?

This data is specifically being sent directly to the DfE, rather than to LAs, so it is likely that your LA will still need this data. Please contact them to confirm what is required.

How do I know my data is safe and complies with GDPR? 

The data is sent using OAuth and HTTPS- a secure way of sending data, where the DfE API is able to recognise that the data being sent is coming from Arbor using a secure key.

We do not send any personally identifiable information, only aggregated pupil data. As there is no personal data being collected there are no GDPR implications.

Does the Attendance API capture staff absences?

No, the attendance API only collects aggregated pupil data.

Are there any cut-off times for the morning and afternoon register?

No, data will be collected throughout the day and schools should record attendance as normal.

Can we make changes to attendance codes after the register is taken?

Yes, the API will automatically collect any changes for up to 8 working days. Changes made to attendance marks made more than 8 days ago will not be sent.

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