We’ve had feedback from parents and carers that you would like to know more about the recent focus on attendance, the policies being put in place and why there is such an emphasis on this issue.

It’s not an easy fact, but we are failing to achieve the attendance levels expected by the Government.

Whether or not you agree with measuring attendance, Ashmead has to meet these targets – and we are not just falling a little behind. On some measures, our school is in the bottom 10% of the country for attendance. This could have serious consequences for the school but the biggest issue is that too many of our children are missing too much school time.

Why the emphasis on attendance?

Of course we don’t want parents to send children to school who are too sick to learn, nor are we questioning the right of a parent to make this decision.

However, research shows children who miss more school days than their peers do not progress as well. Because of the impact of poor attendance on progress, it is more likely these children will fail to meet their expected levels of attainment. If this issue is not tackled, the consequences for children’s outcomes later in life can be dire.

So we have a duty of care to understand why a pupil has been persistently absent – and to see if there is anything we can do to improve their attendance. In our experience, there often is – even when the sickness absence is authorised.

Next steps:

We hope this helps to explain our focus on attendance. For more details about all the initiatives underway, please see our extended letter here: Detailed letter about attendance

We will continue to track each child’s attendance and will communicate regularly with you about this. We appreciate that for some parents and carers, the focus on attendance levels and the fact that their child has levels below the average for UK children has been difficult.

However, we believe by giving you this information – and discussing with you the reasons for your child’s absence – we can get a better understanding of the overall picture and how we can work together to improve this.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss this further and we’d welcome your feedback on how we can continue to improve attendance at Ashmead.