School Improvement: Question of the Month – May

Evaluate-Ed is designed to help you and your team better understand your school and spot opportunities for improvement through assessment and reflection. Every month we will take a deep dive into one of the 600+ unique assessment questions that drive Evaluate-Ed. This month, we’re exploring how you can accurately answer the following question:

“Do your school systems analyse the causes and consequences of persistent absence
 and low attendance for individual pupils?”

(Question 118 in Evaluate-Ed)

Following the publication of new DfE guidance ‘Working together to improve school attendance’, which will apply from September this year, we thought it would be relevant to choose question EE118 for our focus this month.  This question is at the core of so many elements of provision in any school, such as relationships with parents, admission processes, support for vulnerable pupils, pupils who change school, school relationships with external agencies and much more. 

Here are some thoughts aimed at stimulating discussion around low attendance and persistent absence ready for when the new guidance is implemented in September.

  • Do your admission policies and processes represent current practice?
  • Are your expectations for attendance made clear to all pupils and their families?
  • Is a senior leader involved with the analysis and support for any pupil who is persistently absent?
  • Do all staff understand their role in supporting the attendance of the pupils they teach?
  • Do admin staff understand the importance of obtaining information about all new pupils joining the school, including through in-year admissions?
  • Are low attendance issues among pupils given equal priority and status when compared to persistent absence?
  • Are there systems to support pupils with SEND, pupils eligible for the pupil premium, pupils from ethnic minority groups and other groups, with persistent absence or low attendance?

Strong systems of support from all levels of staff around pupil attendance are vital to ensure the safeguarding needs of pupils are fully met.

Content Development and Monitoring

John Croghan M.Ed. BA. CertEd. has over 50 years of experience in education, as a teacher, leading learning in classrooms from EYFS to Y11, as well as a leader and primary headteacher.  He enjoyed his role supporting Every Child Matters in schools and has advised and supported schools across the West Midlands, as well as leading OFSTED inspections.   He is currently a school consultant, mentor, and governor. 

Would you like to see first-hand how Evaluate-Ed can drive your school improvement journey forwards?


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