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The Department for Education Working Together to Improve School Attendance to schools around recording attendance says:

NB: The Improving School Attendance Guidance was updated  September 2022 and replaced with the above  


220. In the majority of cases a parent’s notification that their child is ill can be  accepted without question or concern. Schools should not routinely request that parents provide medical evidence to support illness. Schools are advised not to request medical evidence unnecessarily as it places additional pressure on health professionals, their staff and their appointments system particularly if the illness is one that does not require treatment by a health professional. Only where the school has a genuine and reasonable doubt about the authenticity of the illness should medical evidence be requested to support the absence


(Code I:  Illness) 

Some children may not be able to attend school for health reasons, for long term or intermittent periods.

For children with SEND, anxiety or sensory overload are common factors affecting attendance, which are sometimes not immediately identified. If you think there may be underlying needs affecting your child's attendance, discuss and explore with school how these might be supported. 

Schools have a legal duty under the Children’s and Families Act 2014, to work with you to identify and support any special needs that your child may have.

What is the Fair Access Protocol?

The LA has a Fair Access Protocol to ensure that schools and the local authority work together to ensure that access to education is secured swiftly for children that have no school place.

The aim of the protocol is to encourage close co-operation between schools, when allocating places for pupils who are ‘hard to place’ (for example children with challenging behaviour) that balances the needs of parents, children and schools.

In addition, under the protocol the local authority can, in exceptional cases, approach schools and ask them to admit children over their admission number where, for example, a child has moved into an area and there are no schools within a reasonable distance of the child’s home with a place available.

Children considered for admission under the Fair Access Protocol will take precedence over children on a waiting list who are attending another school. If, having applied for a place, your child is still left with no school place at all please contact Essex Admissions for more advice.

Also in this section:

Emotional Based School Avoidance

Guidance on the steps you can take if your child is experiencing anxiety around going to school.

Reduced Timetables Guidance

Guidance around how reduced timetables should be managed.

Penalty Notices

What to do if you receive a penalty notice.

Children and Young People with Medical Needs

Guidance on how education settings should support children/young people who have medical needs and information about individual health care plans.