The Challenges of a School Attendance Register

By Jocelyn Levy | 2nd November 2020 | 8 min read

Summer is coming to an end and the school attendance register will be bought back out as students return. Attendance is obviously the back bone of good education. Good work can’t be done if students are simply not there. What stops high levels of attendance and what’s the best way to record it reliably?

School attendance register back into action

It’s time the school attendance register gets put back to use as children return after a long hot summer. For one student however, David Symonds, tracking his attendance over his 14-year school and college career was rather easy. The 17-year-old boasts a 100 per cent attendance record for his entire school career. He never missed a day off sick, was never pulled out early for dentist appointments, and his parents never took him away on a term-time trip.

If all children were as dedicated as that, and lucky enough not to get ill, recording attendance for schools would be an incredibly easy job. David should be applauded for his record, but likewise, so should a-level student, Maria Shepard. Her attendance is just as impressive, but for a different reason. Maria managed an attendance record of 50 per cent last year, but still got an A* in Spanish. Maria has a rare condition called postural tachycardia syndrome, which has hampered her ability to attend school.

Attendance for students can be wildly different, and we should applaud and encourage students with high attendance, but Maria’s case highlights that it’s simply not possible for all students, and those with less perfect records do not need to be devalued. That’s what one writer highlights in a piece in the ‘The Argus’, in response to ever growing rewards dished out by schools for high attendance.

Responsible parenting can lead to lower attendance records when parents keep their child from school when all they might do is infect others for example. But then there is examples of parents keeping children away from school for less responsible reasons. Sometimes exceptional circumstances justify pulling children out of school for a trip away, but three times in one year to have holidays at cheaper rates is not an example. That’s what one family in Huntingdon found out in court this month when they were fined nearly £1,000.

Get your school attendance register right

When it comes to a school attendance register there are a lot of factors for schools to understand about the reasons attendance is good for some and bad for others. Some will disagree on what is justifiable or not, but something we can all agree on is that schools need reliable systems for tracking attendance, so we are all on the same page and have proper tracking and data of students’ records.

Here at BioStore, we try and make attendance for both primary schools and secondaries a simple and convenient experience for students and staff. We integrate it into catering for primary school students, and we offer simple multi-factor authentication, potentially using biometrics for secondary schools. Ease, security and flexibility create strong attendance systems that can be relied on. Find out more here.