With attendance and emotionally based school avoidance a continuing challenge for schools, Dr Pooky Knightsmith offers 10 ideas to make school feel safe for children struggling to attend

Non-attendance is an increasing issue among our vulnerable learners. Here are 10 ideas to make school feel more possible for students struggling to attend.


Start of the day

Getting the day off to the right start really matters for students whose attendance appears to be on the wane. The first interactions of the day set the weather for the entire day for the student – or the entire week or term if it is a Monday or back-to-school day.


1, Warm welcome

Start by making sure that every student knows that they belong here and we are happy that they have come to school. This matters for every child but is especially important for those students whose attendance has been patchy or who we have not seen in a while. Getting themselves onto the premises can indicate a hard-fought battle with anxiety won – reward that battle by making it clear you are delighted that the student is here today.

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