Attendance still isn’t back on track for many schools and new guidance is kicking in this term, putting this issue firmly at the top of the agenda. Suzanne O'Connell asks what school leaders and attendance leads should be focused on this year.


School leaders have long-recognised poor attendance as a potential indicator of other problems, particularly safeguarding issues.

Unfortunately, this awareness has not always been reflected in the approach taken by other services. Until now, school attendance was often considered to be an issue for schools and schools alone. But the tide is turning.

A report from the children’s commissioner for England (2022) warns us that in autumn 2021 one in four children were persistently absent from school compared to one in nine in 2018/19 (pre-pandemic).

Attendance has suddenly become urgent and with it the acceptance that absence is often an indicator of other problems that must be tackled first if attendance is to be improved.

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