Department for Education and Skills: Improving School Attendance in England; Eighteenth Report of Session 2005-06; Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence

Research indicates that children who do not attend school regularly are more likely to leave school with few or no qualifications, and to be drawn into crime and anti-social behaviour. Following on from a NAO report (HCP 212, session 2004-05; ISBN 0102932131) published in February 2005, the Committee's report examines the progress made by the DfES to improve school attendance levels, to identify and tackle absence when it occurs, and to persuade pupils and their parents of the importance of attending school. DfES initiatives intended to address the problem have made progress in reducing total absence levels, although unauthorised absence levels remained static for many years and then increased in 2004-05. The initiatives have also helped reduce the number of permanent exclusions. Conclusions reached include that there is a need for more effective national absence data to inform initiatives, and this can be helped through the introduction of electronic registration systems. The report identifies 10 key practices to help schools manage attendance more effectively and share good practice.

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