Heads Up 15 September 2023


Working together to improve school attendance

 1. Promoting strong attendance message from the DfE

  • A new school year marks a fresh start for children to reconnect with friends and it’s a chance to reset their patterns of behaviour, including attendance.
  • Every professional adult and parent that interacts with a child plays an integral part in supporting children back to school.
  • The first days matter. Last year, of those absent for at least one day in this period, 55% went on to be persistently absent.
  • Reshare the guidance on good attendance practices such as Is my child too ill for school?to aid in making judgements about mild illness or how to seek support with attendance challenges. The Chief Medical Officer and other health leaders have just written to schools on this, and their letter can be shared with parents to reinforce the messages.

2. Access improved monitor your school attendance data reports to support the return to school

    The only 21 schools in Warwickshire have yet to sign up to the DfE data sharing system Wonde.  Those that have can now access new and improved attendance reports. The tool helps support schools, trusts and local authorities analyse attendance patterns and target support for the return to school period.

    What’s new?

    ·        indicators for termly trends in attendance

    ·        data visualisations for quick trend insight

    ·        weekly view of pupil attendance

    ·        pupil attendance codes from the start of the academic year improved loading times

    ·        fixes to some data quality issues.

    To share, log in to your Wonde portal and accept the request. Sharing data is voluntary. Read our data collection principles.

    Please agree to share child in need (CiN), child protection plan (CPP) and pupil leaving date, even if you do not record these in your management information system (MIS). To agree, log in to your Wonde portal.

    Register for September's attendance data webinar and watch a previous webinar.


    3. Letter to school leaders on mild illness and school attendance

    On 5th September 2023, the DfE issued a letter to school leaders providing guidance written by the Chief Medical Officer, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal Society for Public Health and Royal College of Psychiatrists.

    The main points of the guidance are:

    1. It is usually appropriate for parents and carers to send their children to school with mild respiratory illnesses. This would include general cold symptoms: a minor cough, runny nose or sore throat. However, children should not be sent to school if they have a temperature of 38°C or above
    2. Schools are encouraged to share the NHS ‘Is my child too ill for school?’ guidance with parents and carers in your schools and communities which has further information.
    3. More children may be absent from school due to symptoms of anxiety than before the pandemic. Worry and mild or moderate anxiety, whilst sometimes difficult emotions, can be a normal part of growing up for many children and young people. Being in school can often help alleviate the underlying issues. A prolonged period of absence is likely to heighten a child’s anxiety about attending in the future, rather than reduce it.
    4. DfE has published useful guidance on mental health issues affecting a pupil’s attendance and those who are experiencing persistent symptoms can be encouraged to access additional support.
    5. As we head into winter, encouraging high uptake of seasonal flu vaccination and routine immunisations for eligible children and young people will help to reduce absences and the disruption they cause.
    6. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) recently approved 5 principles to promote school attendance. This should support GPs in having sensitive and reassuring conversations with parents, carers and pupils.

     4. RAAC and school attendance

    Schools that have RAAC will experience additional attendance related challenges.  Although we don’t yet know the full picture, a relatively small number of schools in Warwickshire have so far been identified.  The general rule is to follow the standard attendance procedures. Effected schools can contact the Attendance Service on the details below should they require specific support.

     5. CME and EHE

    We are currently reviewing and updating the CME/EHE processes and procedures. In the meantime, please continue to follow the current guidance.  If your school has a named Education Casework Officer from the Attendance Service, then please discuss any children who you are concerned may be CME or have suggested they may withdraw for EHE, prior to a referral to the CME/EHE department. 

    6. School Attendance Self- Evaluation Framework

    All maintained schools across the county should have received the attendance self-evaluation framework.  This is the first stage in the free at the point of access offer to all schools by the local authority under Working together to improve school attendance. Please do return your SEF at the earliest opportunity, following receipt of the document your school will be linked with an Education Casework Officer who will then offer you the opportunity to have a termly targeted support meeting.

    Academy schools will soon start receiving their attendance self-evaluation framework.  Once you receive yours, please complete as soon as possible. 

    Contact Us:

    If you wish to discuss any issues relating to school attendance, please contact your named worker if you have one.  Alternatively, please feel free to contact the Warwickshire Attendance Service and we will get back to you:



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