School attendance: Time to clean the air?

New research has shown the notable impact that using air filters in classrooms can have on reducing student absence. Chris Fabby says it’s time the government acts on this evidence…
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The importance of school attendance and the concerning data on absence rates are rightly dominating many of our conversations right now.

And the data is concerning. Department for Education figures show that 22.3% of pupils missed more than one in 10 sessions in the 2022/23 academic year. This has barely improved from 22.5% in 2021/22, despite the huge efforts of schools.

And the most recent figures from the autumn term 2023 show that persistent absence is at 20.1%.

But what is also concerning is the government’s response – or in many ways lack of response – to this issue. Minsters are pushing the narrative that this is entirely down to parents – implying in particular, as former schools minister Nick Gibb did last year, that parents are keeping children off school for minor coughs and colds.

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