Headteacher Update Podcast: Improving primary school attendance

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

This episode looks at how primary schools can boost pupil attendance, including tackling persistent absenteeism and supporting families, with lots of practical ideas, tips and insights from three school leaders

This episode discusses the current trends and challenges in primary school attendance, including the legacy of Covid. We identify and discuss the main barriers to attendance – including anxiety, school avoidance, SEMH needs, problems with punctuality, poverty and school uniform – and offer strategies and tips for how they can best be overcome, including ideas for positive interventions.

We touch on Ofsted’s expectations and attitudes around attendance and discuss how to engage with parents and carers, including home visits.

How can we tackle persistent absences? What is the role of school procedures and policies, as well as tracking, monitoring and analysing attendance data? We also discuss how we can put caring and kindess at the heart of attendance work. And how can we celebrate good attendance – are rewards the right way to go?

The podcast is hosted by Helen Frostick, a National Leader of Education and semi-retired primary school headteacher. Her guests are:

  • Kylie Filson is deputy headteacher and SENDCO at Bourne Primary School in Hillingdon, Middlesex
  • Paul K Ainsworth has held director of school improvement roles in four multi-academy trusts and currently works with Infinity Academies Trust in Lincolnshire. He has supported leaders of small rural secondary schools to large 11 to 18 urban ones, working intensively with those in Ofsted categories. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Day-in, day-out school improvement and a TEDx speaker.
  • Dr Kulvarn Atwal is the head learning leader at Highlands Primary School in Ilford and Uphall Primary School in Barking. He is the author of the books The Thinking Teacher and The Thinking School.

You can listen to this episode of the Headteacher Update Podcast above. To hear other Headteacher Update podcasts, or to subscribe for free to new editions, search for 'The Headteacher Update Podcast' in your podcast streaming application of choice. Or visit www.headteacher-update.com/knowledge-bank/podcasts/

For details about The Headteacher Update Podcast, or to suggest future topics, email editor Pete Henshaw at pete.henshaw@markallengroup.com

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Headteacher Update is a magazine, website, podcast and regular ebulletin dedicated to the primary school leadership team. We tackle a wide range of leadership issues, offering best practice, case studies and in-depth information, advice and guidance. Headteacher Update magazine is distributed free to approximately 20,000 primary school headteachers.

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