Boost attendance and tackle persistent absence: Six recommendations

We must “ask and listen”, meeting children where they are, and ensure any exclusions trigger intervention if we are to tackle the rising levels of persistent absence.

An attendance audit conducted by the children’s commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza has listed six ambitions with a range of related recommendations for schools and wider education to help boost attendance.

Her report reminds us that in autumn 2021, one in four children were persistently absent from school compared to one in nine in 2018/19 (pre-pandemic).

She spells out the range of problems that can lead to children missing school, including bullying, mental health issues, poor physical health, being a young carer, and poor SEND provision among others.

Her attendance audit, which saw “deep dives” in 10 local authority areas, estimated that as many as 1.8 million children and young people are missing from education or persistently absent.

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