Research School Network: A Balanced Approach to Attendance Three Tools to Support Reflection and Discussion


A Balanced Approach to Attendance

Three Tools to Support Reflection and Discussion

by Great Heights Research School: West Yorkshire
on the

Discussions around attendance have continued throughout this academic year as we continue to continue to explore pupil and family level barriers and the suite of approaches that underpin an attendance strategy. 

If you were to list all the strategies that you are implementing under the umbrella of attendance, your list may not look dissimilar to what is shown below. You may also have additional extras, there may be subtle shifts in language and branding as we attempt to codify our approaches to address this complex issue. Whilst a pick and mix’ approach may be necessary, we want to ensure that with limited capacity and resources we are achieving a balanced approach that utilises the wide evidence base that can support in this area.

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In line with the new EEF Guide to Effective Implementation, we want to review and understand existing practices. The three frameworks below provide a scaffold for reflection and discussion to consider how we develop a balanced approach to attendance. They could be used by school leadership teams, central Trust teams and as tools for communication across wider staff teams.

Supporting School Attendance- Planning and Reflection Tool (EEF)
This tool sits alongside the six evidence-informed themes that are explored within the new addition to the leadership section of the EEF website, Supporting school attendance’. Each theme is informed by recommendations from the suite of guidance reports, and is accompanied by a range of further reading and exemplification from a range of schools and school leaders. The editable version can be found at the bottom of this page.

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Cultivate, Engage, Support, Enforce

Having reviewed existing attendance strategies, this framework can provide a useful prompt for discussion to consider which strategies fit within each broad area. Discussion may also start around the different headings themselves, what do they mean within your context? How far does this provide a shared language which staff with different roles and responsibilities can unite around? 

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Prevent and Respond

Similar to the tool above, this provides a useful framework for reviewing practices and ensuring as much emphasis is placed on the preventative measures that wrap around every child alongside more responsive approaches. A completed Venn Diagram can then be considered in line with pupil level barriers, how far are our existing approaches addressing these directly? Where should we focus our attention moving forward?

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Prevent and Respond Venn Diagram

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EEF Supporting School Attendance Planning and Reflection

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