Recently, the government has unveiled new recommendations to improve how schools handle preventable absences. They describe the existing system as a “postcode lottery,” with varying approaches to sanctions depending on where you live in the country. In the fiscal year 2020/21, some municipal governments issued no fines at all, while others issued over 1,500.
How bad is it if your Child does not show up?
According to the government, the number of students who are habitually missing from secondary schools has increased. Persistent absenteeism climbed from 454,167 in 2019 to 501,642 in Autumn 2020. Non-attendance in Covid-19 conditions is not included in these data.
The current consultation proposes that all schools have strong policies in place outlining how they would handle absences and how they will encourage students to attend frequently. The paper also outlines how local governments could utilise legal involvement, such as the issue of penalty notices, to “promote excellent attendance.”
Views on what should be included in new initiatives to improve school attendance support and management are requested. The suggested measures include requiring schools to adopt an attendance policy that takes into account statutory guidelines on school expectations.
Local government attendance service expectations are outlined in this document.
a new regulatory structure for issuing fixed penalty letters, as well as a nationwide framework for attendance legal intervention.
bring academies’ leave-of-absence policies in line with those at other state-funded schools
The epidemic continues to have an impact on student attendance, as the consultation acknowledges. The administration, on the other hand, claims to be committed to addressing the underlying causes of children missing school.
According to the Schools Minister, covid had resulted in unavoidable absences, but that it was now much more vital to prevent avoidable absences. According to the most recent school attendance figures, 99.9% of schools are open and 87.4% of students are present.
Schools must take action
Schools are being requested to participate in a new daily attendance data collection project right now. School registers will give data directly, reducing administrative work and assisting schools and other organisations in identifying problems.
The Children’s Commissioner is also looking into data from local governments to see how they might help children who are persistently missing from school.
So, what’s next?
The government will publish its response once the consultation closes on February 28, 2022. It appears that the results of this consultation will result in the issuance of more penalty notices. The government does stress in the release that the new guidelines will ensure that fines are only utilised when all other options have been exhausted. It also states that schools must have strong procedures in place that outline how penalty notices will be utilised to encourage excellent attendance.