Leading experts come together to supercharge efforts to improve school attendance
The Education Secretary yesterday, Thursday 09 December, hosted the first meeting of leading experts working with children to improve school attendance.
All members of the new attendance alliance pledged to engage with their members, stakeholders and the professionals they represent to make sure they are following best practice in improving attendance within their day-to-day work.
Although recent trends in attendance levels have been largely driven by covid, which is outside the scope of the work of the alliance, the government is determined to address the wider underlying causes of children not being in school, because it is the best place for their development and wellbeing. Persistent absence increased to 16.3% in secondary schools in autumn 2020, compared with 15.0% in 2019, not including non-attendance in covid circumstances.
There are a variety of factors which could affect school attendance, such as anxiety exacerbated by the pandemic, mental health issues, children’s home life and issues at school like bullying. The alliance has brought together those who have the power and expertise to effect change across the full spectrum of issues.
There is a wide range of evidence as to the health and wellbeing benefits of school-age education, and the Chief Medical Officers have been clear that time out of school can hold back young people’s development and wellbeing.
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