Even after the Covid-19 pandemic, many schools are still feeling its impact in different areas, particularly pupil attendance. The government has recently released a report discussing attendance figures so far into the academic year, and even though the rates aren’t the most encouraging, there are actions for school and MAT leaders to take to tackle this growing issue.  

Persistent absence rates so far  

According to the government’s attendance report, “across the year to date, 23.1% of pupil enrolments missed 10% or more of their possible sessions and are therefore identified as persistently absent. By school type, the persistent absence rate across the year to date was: 

  • 19.2% in state-funded primary schools 
  • 27.4% in state-funded secondary schools 
  • 39.9% in state-funded special school.” 

These statistics include authorised as well as unauthorised absence between September 2022 and February 2023. Most of these absence instances, especially during the Autumn term, were reported as due to illness.  

What can you do to improve attendance in your MAT 

In 2022, the Department of Education released the ‘Working together to improve school attendance’ guidelines as a helping hand to schools, trusts and local authorities to approach the growing absence rates issue. Before the beginning of this academic year, we analysed these guidelines and provided some advice for school and MAT leaders, and our biggest takeaway from the document was that it’s essential for leaders to regularly monitor your school or trust’s attendance rates to establish whether any intervention from your part is necessary.  

Click here for our dissection of the ‘Working together to improve school attendance’ guidelines 

Although, in the instance of this academic year’s attendance report, we can see most of the absence spikes occur because of illness, breaking down your attendance data in detail can help you identify patterns. Not only does regularly monitoring attendance makes this easier for leaders, as they can evaluate each persistently absent pupil’s situation and rectify it with their parents or guardians, it also helps from a safeguarding perspective, because the reason behind a pupil’s high absence rate might cause concern, and identifying it early can make a difference in the pupil’s home life as well as school life.  

The Attendance Report 

Assembly Pro can be exactly what your school or trust needs to analyse pupil data in detail, and monitor attendance. Our Attendance dashboard breaks down your pupil data by filtering it by gender, day of the week, authorised and unauthorised absence, and more.

If Assembly Pro might be the tool you’re looking for to improve attendance in your school or MAT, get in touch with our team to arrange a detailed demonstration of our platform in action.