ASCL comment on pupil absence statistics 

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to statistics published by the Department for Education showing a fall in pupil absence rates during the 2023/24 autumn term.
It is very encouraging to see that the number of children persistently absent from school has fallen in the autumn term compared to the same period the previous year. Schools have put a huge amount of work into encouraging attendance and working with families to identify and remove barriers. The problem is that they are doing this in isolation because local services such as social care, mental health and attendance support have not been sufficiently resourced to keep pace with demand. The rate of persistent absence remains much higher than before the pandemic and it is extremely difficult to tackle this problem without more government focus on improving the network of support.”