What is the ‘T’ code?

The ‘T’ code is a way of recording work-related Traveller absence in the school attendance register.

When can the ‘T’ code be used?

Correct use of T-Code for recording work-related Traveller absence in the school attendance register

The ‘T’ code can be used if ALL of these apply:

1) The pupil is from a Traveller family, including:

  • Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies
  • Travellers of Irish Heritage
  • Scottish Travellers
  • Showmen (fairground families)
  • Circus families
  • Bargees (occupational boat dwellers)
  • New Travellers

Travellers may live in houses and still belong to one of these groups.


2) The family is travelling for work reasons and can show evidence of this to the school. ‘Travelling for work purposes’ is when parents have to travel from place to place because of their trade or business.


3) The exact dates of the absence have been agreed with the school and the pupil does not miss more school than necessary. 


4) The absence will not mean that the pupil has spent less than 200 sessions in school during a rolling 12 month period.

When can the ‘T’ code NOT be used?

Incorrect use of T-Code for recording work-related Traveller absence in the school attendance register

The ‘T’ code should not be used for:

  • Family holidays
  • Absence for other cultural reasons, which may still be authorised and recorded using other codes
  • Extra time off that has not been agreed
  • Sessions when the pupil is known to be attending another school while they are travelling, which should be recorded with ‘D’ as dual registration
  • Sessions when the pupil is attending an off-site educational activity that has been approved by the school. These should be recorded with ‘B’, only if the school knows that they have attended.
  • Attending fairs (such as Appleby) as a visitor and not working.

What about other reasons for absence?

Working at the fair, visiting the dentist or attending a funeral

Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller pupils are expected to attend school for a maximum of 380 school sessions. However, it is important for schools to understand the culture of their Traveller pupils, and to keep this in mind if they ask for time off school.

There are many important cultural reasons for absence other than for work, which headteachers might authorise in some cases.

All requests should be respected and discussed, with a clear explanation about what can be authorised.  If an absence is unauthorised, this should be managed sensitively to keep a good understanding with the family and to ensure they carry on being open and honest when they need time off school.

Contact us if you need advice about a particular absence.