Brilliant Learning

Mark Holliday: The ABC of Improving School Attendance

Mark expands on the ABC of school attendance – Attachment, Belonging and Connection.

I get asked quite often about what is it that successful schools do to improve attendance. Now, I can advise schools to follow a fair and clear process – just like the one we are about to introduce called Fast Track – and there are lots of strategies schools can put in place. Also, with the support of my team, a multi-agency approach to tackling the problem can be highly effective. Lots of support is usually required for more complex cases and these deep-rooted issues aren’t always for just one service to address.

However, fundamentally for me, creating a school that builds attachment between staff, parents and pupils, that promotes a strong sense of belonging and makes positive human connections are key to a happy, safe and thriving place that everyone enjoys coming to. 

Getting the basics right with attendance brings with it all the benefits that being part of a loving (yes, loving) school community can bring, including a healthy attitude to learning that lasts long into adulthood. Schools already foster that sense of belonging in a number of ways; peer support programmes, Circle Time, Rights Respecting Schools, School Council, friendship groups, learning mentors, and the list goes on. It may be that individual pupils and their parents receive more intensive support and a School Attachment Plan is put in place.

If this is something you’d like to trial in your school, please do get in touch. In the meantime, here is some useful research on the subject – Attachment in the Classroom.

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