Attendance is one of the biggest challenges facing our schools this year – and soldiering on is not the answer, says Geoff Barton

Welcome back to the start of an autumn term that has already been overshadowed by the government’s chaotic handling of the issue of crumbling concrete in around 100 schools.

If one of them is your school, then our best wishes. You deserved better and earlier support than a last-minute scramble by the Department for Education (DfE) to put out some guidance a couple of days before term begins.

Aside from this debacle – and let’s hope it is an issue that is now speedily resolved – the single biggest challenge in the year ahead is probably pupil attendance, or to be more accurate non-attendance.

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