In response to the Department for Education's consultation on school attendance, NCB has set out its vision of an inclusive education system that empowers children to attend schools and fulfil their potential in a safe and respectful environment.
Attendance is a crucial indicator of how well our education system is delivering for all children.
The data shows that the vast majority of variation in attendance is linked to the characteristics of children within schools, not between schools or local authorities.
Children with SEN and disabilities, children from some Black and Minority Ethnic communities, and children from low-income households are far more likely to be persistently absent that their peers.
It is therefore imperative that both national and local approaches seek to addresses the structural barriers and discrimination that lie at the heart of these inequalities in attendance. Many of the reasons for poor attendance at school begin early, so any effective long-term strategy must also focus on access and inclusion in early years settings and supporting children’s transition into reception.
The starting point for removing these barriers must be an understanding of the views of children and parents. This is true whether considering action at the individual, school, local authority or national level. Only by engaging with the experiences of children themselves – including their access to learning, feelings of safety, and emotional wellbeing – can we deliver sustainable improvement in levels of attendance.
Our proposals include:
- Requiring schools to have an attendance policy, and have regard to statutory guidance on the expectations of schools, academy trusts and governing bodies of maintained schools on attendance management and improvement
- Introducing guidance on the expectations of local authority attendance services, including a minimum set of expectations for all LA attendance services; collecting data, sharing best practice, whole family support is provided (i.e. early help workers), making use of legal powers, fixed penalty notices and prosecutions if support does not work or not engaged with.
- Creating a clearer more consistent national framework for the use of attendance legal intervention, including a new regulatory framework for issuing fixed penalty notices for absence.
Read the full briefing by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
Find out more about the DfE Consultation here.