ASCL comment on new government measures to reduce pupil absence

26/11/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the government announcement that expert attendance advisers will be brought in to reduce pupil absence.
 
Commenting on the government announcement that expert attendance advisers will be brought in to reduce pupil absence, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“Persistent absence is not a new problem, but it has been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic which has led to some pupils becoming more disengaged.
 
“The young people affected are very often those who face the greatest challenges in their lives and schools already use a range of strategies to tackle persistent absence. It is a huge focus for them.
 
“The idea of deploying school attendance advisers to help support this work may well be helpful. But what has certainly not helped is government cuts over the past decade that have greatly reduced the capacity of local authorities to provide support to schools and families to address attendance concerns.
 
“In addition, schools are endeavouring to tackle this issue within the context of extremely tight budgets caused by years of government underfunding.”