All maintained schools are required to provide two possible sessions per day, morning and afternoon, to all pupils. The length of each session, break and the school day is determined by the school’s governing body. Schools must meet for at least 380 sessions or 190 days during any school year to educate their pupils. If a school is prevented from meeting for one or more sessions because of an unavoidable event, it should find a practical way of holding extra sessions.
However, if it cannot find a practical way of doing this then it is not required to make up the lost sessions. Academy and free school funding agreements state that the duration of the school day/sessions is the responsibility of the academy trust.
Schools are required to take attendance registers twice a day: once at the start of the first/morning session of each school day and once during the second/afternoon session. In their register, schools are required to record whether pupils are:
•Attending an approved educational activity
•Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances
Where a pupil of compulsory school age is absent, schools have a responsibility to:
•Ascertain the reason
•Ensure the proper safeguarding action is taken
•Indicate in their register whether the absence is authorised by the school or unauthorised
•Identify the correct code to use before entering it on to the school’s electronic register, or management information system