Attendance recording system - live

Dear colleagues, I am delighted to inform you that the University’s attendance monitoring system is now live.

This system is available to all schools to support staff in recording taught students' attendance; a system tailored to research students is planned for February 2010. Thank you to those of you in schools and the centre who have contributed to the development of the system, which I know has been a genuine team effort. 

I'd like to reinforce the message that attendance monitoring has been a mandatory requirement at the University of Leeds for many years and is widely recognised as playing an important part in supporting both student retention and academic performance. A review of current practice, last year, indicated that adherence to the University's policy on attendance monitoring was inconsistent and patchy across the faculties; a project was therefore established to address this. At the same time, it has been an opportunity to ensure that the University will be able to meet the legal requirements of the new government legislation relating to the Points Based System.

I am aware that some concerns have been raised in relation to the ethics surrounding the Points Based System and wanted to make you aware of the University's position on this. The Vice Chancellor has written to local MPs to raise the University's concerns around the impact of PBS on the sector. In addition, the project team continues to work very closely with Universities UK to lobby for fair play and transparency in respect of UKBA's requirements. However, the University of Leeds, along with the rest of the sector, is currently in a position where it will be legally obliged to respond to the Home Office's reporting requirements. The potential consequence of not complying would be to have our sponsorship license withdrawn and not be able to recruit international students.

That said, we are not asking academic and administrative colleagues to do more than they should already be doing in relation to monitoring student attendance. The University will, in fact, be offering staff additional support with the process through the introduction of the attendance recording system which will automatically flag continuous student absence. This should help schools identify more quickly and easily which students are missing classes and potentially falling behind with their academic progress.

A policy and guidance document on attendance monitoring, circulated to schools on 25th June, has been developed very much in the spirit of academic development and the University's duty of care to students, while also acknowledging the legal reporting requirements introduced by UKBA. A link to this information can be found at the AQST website

Throughout the process, the project team has consulted widely with schools and the Trade Unions with a view to reaching a workable solution for monitoring student attendance and will continue to review the effectiveness of the process and system during the forthcoming year.

Should you have any further questions or concerns, please email

Best wishes,

Professor Vivien Jones

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