New interactive reports to support in improving attendance

Primary school children attending school, wearing school uniforms and backpacks, running on a walkway.

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Primary school children attending school, wearing school uniforms and backpacks, running on a walkway

Schools sharing attendance information with the Department for Education (mandatory for all schools from Aug 2024) now have the choice to utilize a new feature within their school attendance tool. This feature allows schools to promptly identify how students are distributed across five different percentage-based absence categories.

Moreover, schools can filter this report based on various factors such as eligibility for free school meals and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to identify area’s of need.

Additionally, a public interactive tool has been introduced to offer further breakdowns at the national and local authority levels using the 2022/23 attendance census data.

Through an interactive table, more details are provided regarding the distribution of absences across different year groups and pupil characteristics. The aim is to promote the wider adoption of analyzing data categorized by severity and year group, as it can enhance leaders’ ability to address absenteeism effectively by identifying areas for improvement or targeted interventions.

These new tools also enable schools to compare their absence data with historical national data and benchmark against local and national trends more comprehensively.

The current attendance hubs have identified three key areas where schools may want to focus using these tools, building on existing efforts:

firstly, supporting students with absenteeism in the 5-15% range, a group that has notably increased post-pandemic, as addressing attendance issues in this range can help prevent further escalation;

secondly, focusing on the transitions from primary to secondary school and from Year 7 to Year 8, which are critical points where attendance tends to decline; and

thirdly, emphasizing effective collaboration with local authorities and other agencies to provide comprehensive support for students facing complex barriers related to severe absenteeism.

The national data sets can be found here Absence Distribution in Schools – (shinyapps.io)

Schools can find out how to sign up to share their data here Share your daily school attendance data – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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