Best practice for recording Partial Absences when students leave lesson early

What is a partial absence?

Sometimes our primary schools contact us with questions about how to record absences that occur part-way through their am or pm sessions.

Unlike secondary schools, primary schools often have just one scheduled class for the whole of the am or pm, and these are inclusive of the registration periods.

For example, in my Primary school, the roll-call periods are 8-9am and 1-2pm and we have two classes a day from 8-12 and 1-3pm. There is a student who leaves the school due to illness at 11 am, not long before the morning session finishes.


How should you record this?

On page 9 of the School Attendance Guide, the DfE states that 'If a pupil were to leave the school premises after registration they would still be counted as present for statistical purposes.'

This means that in a primary school, if they were present for the registration period, at my school they should be marked as present for the whole morning period. 

You should, therefore, mark them as Present for the am session and Absent for the pm session with a note detailing precisely when the pupil was due to leave the school.

What not to do:

  • If you record this as a Planned Absence from 11 am onwards, Arbor will see the absence and mark the student as absent for the whole of the lesson, even though they were present for most of it.
  • If you amend the planned absence to 12 pm, so it does not affect the AM mark, this would not be a true reflection of the time the pupil left. 


Recording the partial absence

To do this, log the planned absence for the child.



In the morning of their planned absence, in the register for their class, you will see they have the planned absence logged for them to leave near the end of the lesson.



Have the teacher mark them as Present.

If they were late for the session, have the teacher mark them as Late instead.



In the afternoon, their teacher should then mark them as Absent for their pm session, unless they have returned for the pm session. In this case, you should mark them as Present or Late as applicable.



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