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Attendance in context

There has been a spotlight on exclusions, off rolling and home education for some time, with figures rising year on year. Yet these are dwarfed by absence statistics.

These statistics on absence and exclusion are from official Department for Education data (2017/18 academic year).

The estimates for off-rolling are from an Education Policy Institute report, with those on home education from an Association of Directors of Children's Services report.  

Government guidance and the law regarding school attendance is complicated. In addition to the Education and the Children & Families Acts, there are several inter-related statutory and non-statutory policies. These involve attendance (both school and parental measures), behaviour, supporting children with health needs, children missing education and safeguarding. The law makes both parents and the Government legally responsible for a child’s education, but tensions arise when parents and authorities fail to agree on a child’s needs, and what constitutes an accessible education. Budget cuts and increased demand for SEND support (in the form of SEN support or an EHCP) have highlighted these tensions. There are particular issues around the EHCP and CAMHS systems which leave many pupils struggling without the necessary support or in unsuitable settings.

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