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Wed, 06 Jul 22 11:59

Comment: OCC report on attendance data

Charlotte Ramsden, ADCS President, said:

“Schools play an important role in keeping children safe alongside helping them develop academically, socially, and emotionally. We share concerns that while most children are in school every day there is a worrying number of children who are not. Understanding the reasons for this and working with children and their families to get them back into education when they should be is a priority for all local authorities.

“Local authorities are committed to working in partnership with all schools and others to maximise attendance, to tackle persistent absence and remove any barriers to attending school. We saw strong examples of partnership working between local authorities and schools during the pandemic and this has become embedded in many areas. There is an opportunity in the forthcoming Schools White Paper to be clear on the central role local authorities have in the education system and to create an education system with inclusion at its heart.

“When children aren’t in school, for whatever reason, we want to know where they are and that they are safe. If they are being educated elsewhere, at home or otherwise, we want to know that it’s a suitable environment and offer support if needed. However, we can only do this with the fullest picture possible of who is and is not in school, yet there are gaps in our understanding of this. The government has taken an important step by announcing its intention to create a register of children educated at home but there are other actions it could take to help us meet our statutory duties, such as giving local authorities the powers to compel a school to admit a child to avoid learners waiting weeks for a school place to become available. After two years of disruption to children’s lives and their education we owe it to them to make attendance everybody’s business, children’s life chances are at stake.

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