Circular 2006/10 - Electronic attendance registers
Education circular 2006/10 replaces the Education circular 2003/01: Alternative Attendance Registers. It sets out the requirements for all schools using, or intending to use, an electronic attendance management system to manage student attendance and create electronic attendance registers.
Date: 30 June 2006
Circular Number: 2006/10
Electronic Attendance Registers
This circular is about: The requirements for all schools using, or intending to use, an electronic attendance management system to manage student attendance and create electronic attendance registers.
The action required is: For any school that is using, or intends to use, an electronic attendance management system to apply to the Ministry for approval to use electronic attendance registers.
It is intended for: Boards of trustees and principals in all state, state integrated and private schools.
For further information: Contact the Resourcing Division Contact Centre, Ministry of Education, PO Box 1666, Wellington.
Phone 04-463 8383 Fax: 04-463 8374
Education circular 2006/10 replaces the Education circular 2003/01: Alternative Attendance Registers.
This circular outlines the requirements and approval process for all schools wishing to use electronic attendance registers. This is a new approval process, and the Ministry will start accepting applications from 1 September 2006 for schools to use electronic attendance registers from the beginning of Term One 2007.
All schools currently using an electronic/alternative attendance register must reapply for approval before the start of Term One 2008. All previous approvals to use alternative registers will be rescinded from the beginning of Term One 2008, and schools that have not applied for approval under the new requirements will not be able to use an alternative/electronic attendance register in 2008.
All schools not yet using but intending to use electronic attendance registers must follow the Approval Process outlined in this circular.
This circular identifies the requirements and approval process for all schools using, or intending to use, electronic attendance registers as alternative attendance registers to the E19/1.
The Education Act 1989 ("the Act") and the Education (School Attendance) Regulations 1951 ("the Regulations") impose legal obligations on a school board of trustees, principals, teachers, and parents that relate to students' enrolment and attendance at school.
Every student of a registered school, who is required to be enrolled at a registered school, must attend the school whenever it is open unless they are exempted from attendance in accordance with the Act.
The Regulations require that:
- all schools must maintain accurate admissions registers and accurate daily attendance registers for all students enrolled in the school.
- all schools must use an attendance register in the approved form (E19/1) to record student attendance unless the school has been given approval by the Secretary for Education to use an alternative attendance register.
School registers are legal documents which may be used in court proceedings. School registers must be retained for at least seven years from the date of the last entry. After seven years, the registers may be destroyed with the approval of the board of trustees in the case of state and state integrated schools, or with the approval of the manager in the case of private schools.
Ministry requirements for schools to be given approval to use electronic attendance registers
All schools, even if previously approved to use alternative attendance registers, must apply for approval to use electronic attendance processes to create electronic attendance registers from Term One 2007. All schools, which have received approval to use alternative attendance registers prior to September 2006, must apply for approval to use electronic attendance registers under the new requirements before the beginning of Term One 2008. This is because all previous approvals to use alternative attendance registers will be rescinded from the beginning of Term One 2008, and schools that have not applied for approval under the new requirements will not be able to use an electronic attendance register in 2008.
Schools applying for approval must:
- complete the Ministry's application form. Schools will be required to provide information on the internal attendance processes used by the school to monitor student attendance. Applications will be accepted from September 2006.
- be using a Ministry of Education accredited Student Management System (SMS) which is approved to be used for electronic attendance registers. You should go to the eAR page to see if your SMS is certified for use as an Electronic Attendance Register.
- have effective internal attendance processes for the accurate collection, recording and analysis of student attendance.
- have attendance processes which accurately provide the required information to meet the government's legal requirements, to provide accurate Roll Returns and to provide the required reporting to the Ministry, parents and the community.
- agree to provide a computer, with access to the school's SMS, for use by the Resourcing Auditors during a Roll Return audit.
- have a Register of Admissions for all students who the school enrols during any school year and a Register of Leavers for all students who have withdrawn from the school during the year. The electronic format of these registers is set in the school's SMS and must not be modified by the school.
- have all students recorded in the SMS by their legal name as identified on their birth certificate or passport, with any preferred (known) name recorded as a secondary name.
- have the SMS Vendor link any specific codes used by the school to monitor absences to the Ministry's audit codes and attendance survey codes.
- have a process to archive the electronic attendance registers in a form that will enable the registers to be retrieved at any future date within the legislative requirements.
- in the event of an emergency, have the ability to immediately identify those students who should be present in the school, even if the school's power supply has been disrupted.
The approval process
The approval process requires the school to demonstrate that it has implemented internal attendance processes which provide accurate attendance data meeting the Ministry's auditing and reporting requirements. These requirements are outlined in the previous section.
Schools must apply for approval to use an electronic attendance register by completing the Ministry's approval form. Applications will be processed by the Resourcing Division of the Ministry. From August 2006, a copy of the approval form can be obtained in time for when the Ministry starts accepting applications in September 2006.
Initial approval to use electronic attendance registers is provisional. Full approval will be granted when there has been a satisfactory Ministry audit of the school's Roll Return and attendance processes.
Full approval will not be granted if the Roll Return audit reveals that the school has:
- inadequate attendance processes.
- inadequate monitoring of attendance.
- attendance or monitoring processes which lack accuracy and/or completeness.
- the inability to produce an accurate Roll Return.
Where a school has not been granted full approval to use electronic attendance registers after a Ministry audit, the audit report will list the areas of non-compliance as detailed in this circular.
Where a school has not been granted full approval, the school must notify the Ministry, within three months, that either:
- the school will revert to using the E19/1 Ministry form to record attendance; or
- the school has amended its attendance and Roll Return processes to meet the requirements.
The school must also submit documentation and attestation on the Ministry form showing that the areas of non-compliance have been addressed.
This documentation will provide details of the changes to the school's internal attendance and Roll Return processes.
The school will then be subject to a further Ministry audit to verify that the school's attendance and Roll Return processes have been amended to meet the requirements.
Re-applying for approval to use an electronic attendance register
Schools must re-apply for approval to use electronic attendance registers if:
- the school changes the SMS system used.
- the SMS system used by the school does not currently have approval to be used as an electronic attendance register.
- the school significantly amends its internal attendance processes from those approved by the Ministry.
A new approval will be subject to a satisfactory Ministry audit of the school's attendance and Roll Return processes.
Audit requirements for schools with approval to use electronic attendance registers
The Ministry has a legal responsibility for ensuring schools submit accurate Roll Returns to allow the correct and fair allocation of school resources. Resourcing Auditors are employed by the Ministry to verify the accuracy of the Roll Returns.
Schools which have been granted approval to use electronic attendance registers will find that their SMS provides audit documentation which is required in the verification of the accuracy of the Roll Returns.
Note: Schools must not modify the audit documentation in the SMS.
Audit documentation required for Roll Returns
The following documentation is required to support the roll return:
- a full School Audit Roll printed at the same time as the Roll Return and retained with the school's copy of the Roll Return that was submitted to the Ministry; and
- Audit Class Lists printed at least three school days prior to the Roll Return date. These class lists must be fully completed manually by all classroom teachers for the two school days prior to the Roll Return date, the day of the Roll Return, and the two school days after the Roll Return date. These audit class lists must be retained with the school's copy of the Roll Return that was submitted to the Ministry.
Process to ensure the Roll Return can be Audited
- retain the Full School Audit Roll and Audit Class Lists with the school's copy of the Roll Return that was submitted to the Ministry.
- print a copy of the electronic attendance register for every class/group at the end of each term of the current year. These attendance registers must be available for an audit.
- provide the additional documentation required to support the inclusion of students in the Roll Return who were not attending for tuition on the day of the Roll Return as detailed in the Ministry's Circular 1998/48 Roll Returns: 1 March and 1 July.
- monitor the attendance of individual students to ensure that the student is entitled to be included in the Roll Return.
- provide the Resourcing Auditors with a computer that accesses the full school's SMS for use during the audit. The Resourcing Auditors will only use the information in the SMS that verifies the accuracy of the Roll Return and the attendance of individual students included in that Roll Return.
- have the SMS vendor map the school's absence codes to the Ministry's Audit Codes that will be used by the Resourcing Auditors. The school must disclose if any absence codes have been changed or any additional codes have been created. The school's SMS will have the facility to provide the Resourcing Auditors with a Student Change of Status Report and a Student Change of Attendance Record Report to be used in the verification of the accuracy of the Roll Return.
Schools will be advised in the audit visit letter of the additional information which will be required to be printed from the Student Management System for the Roll Return audit.
Marking attendance electronically
The school's Student Management System creates the electronic attendance registers which records the attendance of each student by ½ day.
The following points outline how attendance is recorded:
- zero ½ days - no attendance or less than two hours attendance for tuition in a school day
- one ½ day - attendance for tuition for more than two hours but less than four hours in a school day
- two ½ days - attendance for tuition for at least four hours in a school day
Students will almost always be required to be at school for longer than four hours. The Act requires students to attend school whenever it is open and this is generally for more than four hours.
A school's attendance processes must satisfy the following requirements:
- A student must be marked absent or present, either period by period or mornings and afternoons, during the course of every school day as required by the Regulations.
- All absences must be appropriately coded in the SMS.
- All unexplained absences must be followed up and reported to parents and caregivers as soon as possible.
- As soon as an unexplained absence is resolved, the SMS must be updated with the appropriate code.
- School management must follow up instances where attendance is not marked by the responsible teachers and address the matter in an appropriate and timely manner.
- All continuous unexplained absences longer than 20 consecutive school days must be dealt with in accordance with the Regulations.
- There must be reliable and effective methods of identifying those students who should be present in the school in the event of an emergency evacuation.
There are four flow diagrams included in this circular which provide models for attendance data capture for either a centralised process or a decentralised process.
Resourcing Division (Te Wāhanga Whakarato Rawa)
45 - 47 Pipitea Street, Thorndon
PO Box 1666, Wellington, New Zealand
Phone 0-4-463 8383 Fax: 0-4-463 8374
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