school absenteeism

School Absenteeism: From Crisis to National Emergency?

The news reports of school absenteeism have been growing increasingly louder and more urgent in recent weeks. It’s clear that school absenteeism is at its work levels ever recorded (worse than Covid/post-Covid) and seemingly nobody knows how to tackle the problem.

School absenteeism is nothing new. There has always been an issue with persistent truanting by a small percentage of students. What we’re seeing now, however, is school absence on an entirely different scale.

What’s more, and possibly more worrying, is that children are missing school with the full knowledge of their parents.

The data shows that Fridays in particular are problematic for school attendance figures. The reason? The weekend begins on Friday, as bemoaned an expert on Radio 4 recently.

Recent figures from the department of Education state that 125,000 children are absent from school on more days than they attend. That’s more than double pre-pandemic numbers.

(See more on that here:

Possibly more concerning, 140,000 children are not attending school at all.

We also know that the majority of school absentees are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

How can we get students back in the classroom?

One option we must explore is looking at what’s preventing children from coming back. As obvious as that statement sounds, I haven’t seen too much evidence of help to return to school being promoted.

Children are scared to return and their confidence is low. They know they’ve missed many classes and they know they’re behind. The longer they’re away, the worse the problem becomes. This drives anxiety, fear or being bullied and an understandable reluctance to put themselves in a position of feeling increasingly vulnerable.

I don’t claim to have all the answers. One thing I can do is help children get caught up on what they’ve missed and I can do this through my pay what you can (PWYC) online lessons which run each day and every week during term time. See more here.

PWYC is exactly as it sounds. Pay what you can reasonably afford, no fixed fees, no questions asked. I deeply desire to help all families that want help with their child’s education and cost should not be a barrier to getting that assistance.

If we can help children have a path to getting caught up, it may mean more are confident enough to return to the classroom in September.

For more information on pay what you can classes or my 1:1 tuition services, email me at [email protected].


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