Working together to improve school attendance: the DfE's expectations

Get to grips with the DfE's guidance on maintaining high levels of attendance. Be clear on what you're expected to do, including building relationships with families, developing a whole-school approach and analysing data.

Last reviewed on 18 April 2024See updates
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Contents
  1. Build relationships with families, understand barriers to attendance and work together to remove them
  2. Develop a whole-school culture that promotes the benefits of high attendance
  3. Have a school attendance policy
  4. Accurately complete attendance registers and have day-to-day processes to follow up absence
  5. Monitor and analyse data to identify those who need support
  6. Share information and work collaboratively with others
  7. Provide additional support for pupils with ill-health or SEND
  8. For pupils with SEND
  9. Persistent and severe absence 
  10. Find out what the DfE expects from other stakeholders 
  11. Our summary of the current, non-statutory guidance
  12. Develop a whole-school culture that promotes the benefits of high attendance
  13. Have a school attendance policy
  14. Have day-to-day processes to follow up absence
  15. Monitor and analyse data to identify those that need support
  16. Engage with families, understand barriers to attendance and work together to remove them
  17. Provide additional support for pupils with medical conditions or SEND
  18. Share information and work collaboratively with others
  19. A new focus on persistent and severe absence 
  20. Find out what the DfE expects from other stakeholders 

Note: 'parents/carers' means all those with parental and day-to-day responsibility of a child or young person.

Build relationships with families, understand barriers to attendance and work together to remove them

In the first instance your school is expected to support pupils and parents/carers by:

  • Working together to understand and address any in-school barriers to attendance
  • Meeting with the families of those pupils at risk of persistent or severe absence, and agreeing actions or interventions to improve the situation  
  • Making referrals to services and organisations that can provide support

Where absence intensifies, you're expected to work with your Local Authority (LA) and other relevant partners to provide additional support, such as:

  • Provision of mentoring, careers advice, 1-2-1 tuition or out-of-hours learning
  • An education, health and care (EHC) plan or alternative provision
  • Holding more formal conversations with the parents/carers and pupils 

Use a attendance contract

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