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Working together to improve attendance

In May 2022 the DfE published new guidance  ‘Working together to improve school attendance’

From September 2022 the Education Welfare Service will be working to implement changes in the way that they support all schools in Devon, in line with the new DfE guidance. The guidance is for information only at this stage, so schools and colleges can plan for the commencement of the guidance on 1 September 2023.

The guidance follows the School attendance consultation response – GOV.UK ( and includes the new expectations of Schools and of local authority services. The guidance is currently not statutory, but the DfE is committed to it becoming statutory in September 2023 and as the existing guide to attendance was withdrawn on 20 September 2022 schools are expected to start following the processes and guidelines set out in ‘Working together to improve school attendance’

The guidance should be read alongside the statutory guidance documents on parental responsibility measures, children missing education, supporting pupils with medical conditions at school, suspensions and exclusions, alternative provision, and safeguarding.

The guidance is for:

  • All school and academy trust staff, headteachers, governors, academy trustees, and alternative provision providers
  • Local authority attendance staff, early help lead practitioners, social workers, and virtual school heads
  • Statutory safeguarding (including police and integrated care boards) and other local partners
  • This guidance may also be useful for parents and carers

Summary of changes are:

  • Clarity of expectations: all Schools, trusts and local authorities will all have clearly defined statutory roles set out in a table of responsibilities
  • Earlier intervention: all Schools will have legal responsibilities to proactively improve attendance for the first time (beyond existing requirements to record accurately) underpinned by timelier sharing of attendance data
  • Support first: all pupils and parents, no matter where they live in the country, will have clear expectations from their school, be regularly informed about their child’s attendance and have access to early intervention and support first before any legal action if it becomes problematic
  • Targeted whole family support: attendance teams in the local authority will work in tandem with early help to provide a whole-family response with a single assessment, plan, and lead practitioner
  • Independent schools: data will be collected for the first time and will receive the same support from the local authority