“We agree with the Schools Minister that the pandemic has had a real, and ongoing, impact on pupil attendance. School and college leaders tell us that absence levels are significantly higher than they were pre-pandemic.
“Expanding attendance hubs and mentors may be helpful, but this barely scratches the surface of this problem. We think that it is driven largely by a rising tide of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, which are exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis. The government needs to provide solutions that address the root causes of absence. As ever, this is likely to take investment in terms of staffing and specialist mental health support, and the government’s record on providing the necessary resources is sorely lacking.”