Best Practice

Absence and attendance: The battle continues

Schools are working hard to enforce the message of ‘every lesson counts’ and return to pre-Covid levels of attendance. New guidance is aimed at supporting our work. Suzanne O’Connell takes a look
Image: Adobe Stock

New statutory guidance – Working together to improve school attendance – will come into force from August 19 this year and schools must have regard to it “as part of their efforts to maintain high levels of school attendance” (DfE, 2024).

As the title suggests, “working together” is the key message. Schools must work “jointly” with families and rather than “communicating” with them, we should be “working in partnership”.

However, where voluntary support has not been effective then measures can be applied. This includes the “attendance contract” – formerly the “parenting contract”.

Early intervention is crucial and support should not be limited to those with persistent and severe absence. The guidance states: “Look at all severities of absence to identify pupils who can be supported earlier before patterns become entrenched.”

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting Headteacher Update and reading some of our content for professionals in primary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcasts

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday


Already have an account? Sign in here