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Improving Attendance and Encouraging Good Behaviour in Schools

9th May 2017

Public Policy Exchange are holding a conference looking at Improving Attendance and Encouraging Good Behaviour in Schools Creating a Child Centered and Co-ordinated Approach.

It is axiomatic that pupils need to attend school to benefit from their education. Research by the Department for Education (DFE,2016) found that overall absence has a negative link with attainment, with every day missed associated with a lower chance of achieving 5 or more good GCSEs. It is moreover self evident that maximising the proportion of lesson time dedicated to learning is imperative to allowing children to fulfil their potential. A 2014 report by Ofsted concluded that students typically lose an hour of learning each day, totalling 38 days of teaching each year, owing to low level disruptive behaviour in classrooms. The prevalence of poor behaviour is corroborated by an ATL study of teaching experiences (2016), finding that 43% of educational staff have dealt with physical violence from a pupil over the last year.

In response, the last two Governments have enacted a number of measures aimed at empowering schools to maintain discipline and minimise truancy. These include clarifying and permitting the use of reasonable force to control behaviour, and reducing the threshold for ‘persistent absence’ to 10%. These steps were reinforced by renewed statutory and non-statutory direction to Schools, Colleges, Head teachers and Local Authorities over the course of 2016, with the DFE publishing guidance on; ‘Behaviour and Discipline in Schools’ (Jan ), ‘School Attendance’ (Nov), Children Missing Education (Sep) and Keeping Children Safe in Education (Sep).

However, despite these advances, significant progress is still required to improve school attendance and encourage good behaviour. 10.3% of pupils were classified as persistently absent between in 2015/16, whilst over 90,000 parents were fined a total of £5.6m in the last full academic year for taking children out of school during term time. Moreover, despite their greater powers, over half of teachers surveyed by ATL (July 2016) believe behavioural standards have deteriorated over the last 2 years.

With the Government currently monitoring the impact of new regulation and promising to undertake a review before September 2019, this symposium provides local authorities, head teachers, schools, colleges, children’s services and education professionals with a timely and invaluable opportunity to develop effective joint strategies for maintaining high standards of attendance and behaviour, and improve communication and co-ordination between all partners on individual cases.  

Delegates Will

  • Analyse the impact of Government guidance and develop priorities for future reforms
  • Explore how to strengthen partnership working and embed the governments priorities of improving collaboration, communication and information sharing  
  • Examine how to identify, support and transition children missing education back into full time education quickly
  • Consider how to uphold strong behaviour policies to support staff in managing behaviour
  • Discuss the exercise of proportionate force to search for, and confiscate, dangerous or inappropriate items
  • Scrutinise  how to work with local agencies to assess the needs of pupils displaying continuous disruptive behaviour
  • Support training to ensure teachers are full trained to deal with disruptive children and look into the tackling the roots of poor behaviour
  • Assess how all partners can uphold their safeguarding responsibilities to minimise children’s risk of exposure to harm, exploitation and radicalisation
  • Determine the best methods for early intervention to ensure all children can receive an efficient and suitable full time education
  • Share examples of using the discretionary power of local authorities to seek information from schools on standard transitions 

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