The Department has a comprehensive attendance strategy in Solihull, and across all areas, to ensure that absence is minimised. This includes reviewing the education system as a whole and publishing guidance setting out how the Department expects schools, trusts, and local authorities to work together to improve attendance. The Department has also established an alliance of national leaders from education, children’s social care and allied services to work together to raise school attendance and reduce persistent absence. The alliance is formed with the single aim of raising attendance and a single belief that ultimately children are better off in education.
The Department has also developed a number of effective practice webinars for schools, multi-academy trusts (MATs) and local authorities to support improvements in attendance. Rob Tarn, CEO of the Northern Education Trust, a MAT serving areas with high levels of disadvantage, is also working to disseminate best practice through close collaboration with other trusts.
The Department works closely with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council on attendance. The local authority proactively engages with schools, MATs and parents on attendance and takes enforcement action where necessary.
The Department is also working on establishing a better, more timely flow of national pupil level attendance data, collecting data directly from schools’ electronic registers. This will help schools and local authorities make better use of attendance data to identify those in need of support earlier. They will also help the Department respond to national and regional issues.
Over the next two years the Department’s team of expert attendance advisers will expand into every local authority and play an important role to review their current practice and develop plans to improve.