Tackling absence is top of the to-do list for secondary schools, not least as part of our safeguarding work, as it is often our most vulnerable students who have poor attendance. Elizabeth Rose offers some practical advice and ideas

Attendance has always been a significant issue for schools. From a school perspective, children need to be present in order to learn and make progress and we have a clear responsibility to ensure that children on roll are regularly attending.

Everything was turned on its head during the pandemic. Suddenly schools were asking the vast majority of children to stay at home.
Anecdotal feedback from the schools I work with shows that following this upturn in expectation, school attendance has been unable to recover. This sentiment is supported by national school attendance data.

Secondary students missed more than 9% of classroom time during the autumn term 2022, compared with an average of about 5.4% pre-pandemic. As of January, the absence rate across the academic year to date in all schools was 7.8% (DfE, 2023).

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