The Government has announced a new target to have 70 percent of children attending school regularly by 2024 and 75 percent by 2026.
Regularly means missing no more than one day per fortnight. In term two of last year, the attendance figure was just 60 percent.
School attendance has been steadily declining since 2015, a situation made worse by Covid-19.
A truancy inquiry was carried out last year by Parliament’s education and workforce select committee and the Government has adopted the targets it recommended.
The Government acknowledged there were many reasons for non-attendance, but could not think of any parents who did not want the best for their children. The government in announcing the new target pointed out that truancy has a strong follow-on effect on literacy and mathematical standards, leaving some young people virtually illiterate when they seek work. The figures show that what was once regarded as harmless “bunking” is now something much worse harming thousands of children.
The Government’s strategy outlines a number of actions intended to get students back in the classroom. One key action is that by 2026, schools will be expected to notify families of every absence on the day it happens, and to take further action after five days of absence in a given term.
School-links attendance management system makes it easy to notify parents, to record responses, and to share this information with the Attendance Officer.