There is no national guidance for school attendance difficulties, resulting in a wide variance in response from school to school. A combination of academic research and best practice models are needed that are flexible enough to cater for the wide range of underlying causes and unmet needs, and realistic for schools in the current funding crisis. Short term guidance is needed that recognises the existing delays in securing assessments and therapies, and the increasing thresholds in the various support systems for mental health and Special Educational Needs & Disabilities. If some of the over-arching legislative and systemic challenges can be resolved, then there is an opportunity to develop more effective strategies in the longer term.
FORUM FOR CHANGE
Square Peg will soon be launching an online channel through which academics, practitioners and professionals working in this area can connect with each other, share best practice and debate ideas. The aim is to build a database of best practice initiatives that work effectively in supporting children with school attendance difficulties, and their families. If you would like to be notified when this is live, please get in touch.
KICKING OFF IN BRIGHTON
Square Peg is delighted to be working with a number of maintained secondary schools in Brighton & Hove to explore school attendance difficulties in more detail. This work will support schools in reviewing current attendance strategies, identifying different groups of low attenders and trialling initiatives which could potentially result in reduced anxiety and increased engagement. We also hope to work with local 'feeder' primary schools in the same way, and explore transition as a specific trigger point.