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Improving attendance and reducing persistent absence

Improving attendance

Pupils who attend school on a regular basis and are offered access to high-quality teaching and learning opportunities will usually leave school with qualifications and access to greater employment opportunities. The links between attendance and achievement are strong, and high levels of attendance at school should be a right of each pupil.

Persistent absence

'Persistent absence' refers to absence of more than 20%, whether authorised or unauthorised. Pupils with persistent absence are often those unlikely to attain at school and stay in education after the age of 16 years. They are also significantly more likely to engage in anti-social behaviour and youth crime and are more at risk of other negative outcomes (including teenage pregnancy and drug and alcohol abuse). It follows that schools and local authorities that focus on this high-risk group will be in a strong position to make progress in the range of outcomes for children and young people for which they are accountable. This is an area where the school standards agenda and the Every Child Matters agenda strongly reinforce each other.

This practice manual is intended to help schools gain the understanding and tools to improve attendance and reduce persistent absence.

The main text has relevant links to websites that contain information, advice guidance, policy and regulations.

The manual is divided into five sections, which can be used sequentially or in isolation.