ASCL welcomes Labour’s focus on improving pupil attendance


Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to Labour’s plan to tackle persistent absence in schools.


“We are pleased Labour is focusing on the importance of pupils attending school. Current absence rates are alarming with twice as many children persistently absent compared to the rate from before the pandemic. If children are not in school, they cannot learn. It is as simple as that. The reasons for persistent absence are varied and complex. Labour’s plans for early language interventions, increased mental health support and universal free breakfast clubs are welcome. We would also like to see greater investment in the wider infrastructure of family and children’s support services that have been eroded over the past 14 years. Schools cannot fight this battle on their own.”