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I am a UK Midlands-based self-employed trainer, writer, consultant and speaker offering support to Local Authorities and schools on:
EDUCATION WELFARE MANAGEMENT
TRAINING AND WORKSHOPS NOW AVAILABLE FOR LOCAL DELIVERY:
See 'TRAINING AND CONSULTANCY' for details
On 'BEN'S BLOG' the current topics are: DAMNED IF THEY DO AND DAMNED IF THEY DON'T and STILL HAVING A HEATED DEBATE ON HOLIDAYS.
Looking for advice? Click on 'USEFUL DOCUMENTS' for downloadable documents and Guidance on attendance, child protection and other issues relevant to children's welfare in education. There is also a FREE school attendance audit tool.
JUST TICKING THE BOX?
Refocusing School Attendance'
There are already many books about school attendance, absence and so-called ‘truancy’, so why yet another one? What makes this book different is that I begin with a radical question: ‘Why do we bother’? What is the purpose of our education system and therefore of all our efforts to make sure our current and future citizens make use of it?
My argument is that children should be at the centre, not their schools. It's not just about calling out names in a register twice a day, ticking the relevant box and publishing the figures. But making the data look good has now become the priority. 'What code can we put to improve our statistics?' has become the most important question, not 'What can we do to resolve this child's non-attendance'? Indeed, much absence is ignored or condoned because there may not be an immediate solution available and so the figures are distorted by the pressure to improve the school's performance. But is that really the point?
All this activity does nothing for those whose non-attendance is a real issue; those most on the margins. The laws, guidance and procedures that provide the framework within which we all have to work are there to deliver the only meaningful outcome – what is best for every child, especially those at greatest risk of missing out. And not just what is best for their intellectual and academic development but what is best for their whole lives, now and to come. If we haven’t got it right for them, every single one of them, then we haven’t got it right, no matter how many parents we fine for taking a few days' holiday. Time for a change of focus.
'Nelson Mandela will live forever as far as I am concerned. This is a kind of resurrection, if not what Christians usually mean by the word.'