The Importance of Regular School Attendance
The importance of regular school attendance cannot be overestimated. Regular attendance is a prerequisite to a good education and securing it must therefore be a high priority for school, governors, LAs, parents and the pupils themselves. By failing to attend school regularly, pupils diminish the value of the education provided for them; they may also damage the learning of others because fluctuations in the size of pupil group may restrict the scope for effective teaching. Attendance is now increasingly regarded as a measure of the quality of the education offered by a school and the government has indicated that all schools should be aiming for a target of at least 95%. Schools will wish to encourage and promote good attendance in as many ways and for as many pupils as they can, but they will need to balance this with measures to address the needs of those children who do - for whatever reason - find it difficult to attend. A whole-school approach to attendance will focus primarily on promoting attendance but will also address the issue of truancy and condoned absence where it occurs. In addition schools should ensure that pupils who fall into the ‘persistent absentee’ category should be closely monitored and support offered. The threshold for persistent absence was raised from 80% to 85% in September 2011. The whole-school approach to attendance relates to a wide range of other school issues including punctuality, rewards and incentives, re-integration of long-term absentees, curricular differentiation, home-school links, etc.