Thousands more pupils to receive support to improve attendance

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Thousands more pupils will be supported in schools as the Department for Education today (28 September) announces four more attendance hubs.

Hubs are led by schools with excellent attendance which share practical ideas with other primary, secondary, alternative provision and special schools in England who need support to boost their attendance.

The Government has been clear that attendance is everyone’s business. Regular attendance is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development and evidence shows pupils with higher attendance tend to have higher attainment across all key stages.

The four new attendance hubs announced today are in Nottingham, Grimsby, and two in Swindon and they will support schools across the country.

The new hubs are St Giles Special School in Nottingham, John Whitgift Academy in Grimsby and Ridgeway School and Sixth Form and The Croft Primary School both in Swindon.

This brings the total number of hubs to 14 – which will support around 800 schools across the country responsible for the attendance of 400,000 children, and will start working with schools over the next two weeks for the rest of the academic year.

Lead hub schools share practical approaches to improving attendance with other schools. This could include advice about how to make their school warm and welcoming, building strong relationships with families, working effectively with wider services where there are complex reasons for absence, and using data to identify pupils at risk of not coming in, to intervene early.

Hub schools also share ideas for how to use extra-curricular activities such as school trips, sports teams or breakfast clubs to create a positive culture where children want to attend.

This term, the Department will also be looking for more schools to establish new attendance hubs.

Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan said:

Being at school helps children grow in confidence and ensure they get the education they need to reach their full potential.

That is why we are doing everything in our power to ensure children don’t miss out on these precious years that only happen once in a lifetime.

We are delighted to expand our ground breaking attendance hubs and continue to work with the wider sector through the Attendance Action Alliance to further reduce absence.

The first attendance hub was set up by Rob Tarn, CEO of Northern Education Trust and members of the Attendance Action Alliance, to provide other schools with techniques, resources and advice on how to improve attendance, as successfully trialled in Northern Education Trust’s North Shore Academy.

CEO of Northern Education Trust, Rob Tarn said:

Securing excellent attendance continues to be a day-to-day challenge for all schools around the country.

I am delighted to see the launch of 4 additional attendance hubs supporting hundreds more schools around the country– building on the hub model that we created at North Shore Academy.

Attendance hubs give school leaders more opportunities to learn from others, share best practice and engage in an ongoing professional dialogue about improving attendance.

As part of the Government’s mission to tackle barriers to attendance, the Government announced the expansion of the attendance hubs and the attendance mentoring programme in May, to support more schools in England to improve their attendance.

The Department for Education also established the Attendance Action Alliance of national leaders from education, children’s social care and allied services to work together to raise school attendance and reduce persistent absence.

Last month, Schools Minister Nick Gibb urged parents to play their part in continuing to support pupils to go to school, including when they have a minor cough or cold.

The Department also recently published a toolkit for schools providing tips and evidence-based adaptable templates for communicating with parents and carers on attendance. This is in addition to work with children’s charity Barnardo’s to deliver the attendance mentors programme – which works directly with persistently absent children and their families to help overcome their specific barriers to attendance and support them back to school.

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