The Challenge of Attendance in 2022
As the Spring term advances, attendance is still proving to be a challenge for schools, as Covid-19 continues to take its toll on pupils’ being in school.
The DfE recently sent out information inviting all schools to participate in a voluntary trial on Attendance data collection via Wonde, data extractor software which is used by many pieces of software that extract data from a school’s MIS. Schools will need to respond to an email from Wonde to sign up for this automatic extraction. A document containing a list of questions and answers has been published here.
The process is quick and simple, all you need to do is click ‘yes’ to give your agreement when asked through a secure portal. This is a one-off process, once you agree to share data it will be automatically extracted from your Management Information System and sent to the DfE each day. No daily action will be required.
The aim is to help schools identify issues and challenges relating to absence and safeguarding in a quicker and simpler way. To develop the reporting, the DfE is conducting research with schools, LAs and MATs to better understand how best to share the data and they will seek ongoing feedback.
The DfE daily Educational Settings Status collection will continue with a review at Easter and the DfE encourages schools to complete this daily wherever possible. Scomis has made available attendance reports which will help schools to generate the data needed for this return.
At the moment schools need to give their permission to sign up for the trial. Our Hosted Application service hosts many schools who use Wonde for data extraction already, so there will be no technical work for a school.
The DfE has also published a report in February 2022 on the challenges schools face in relation to attendance after Covid-19, Securing good attendance and tackling persistent absence.
The report highlights the following areas as being key to good attendance:
- Communicating expectations to parents
- Communicating expectations to pupils
- Having ‘the right people’ in place
- Noticing patterns
- The importance of ambition
- The role of governors
There are certainly areas where a well-used MIS will provide school leaders with up-to-date attendance data, allowing a focus on key groups, attendance patterns, and pupils breaching thresholds. Where this is integrated with a communication system, parents can be kept informed of their child’s attendance on a daily basis. Our School Leadership Partners can work with schools on the three key weaknesses identified in the report:
- an inaccurate recording of attendance, sometimes including inaccurate coding of absence
- a lack of analysis leading to lack of ability to see patterns – sometimes an over-reliance on a ‘knowing all pupils as individuals’ approach instead; sometimes no analysis at all
- a lack of a coherent strategy – the school is doing different things to try to improve attendance but without being clear how everything ties together and what it is seeking to achieve
If you have any questions on any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Scomis and ask to speak with your Account Manager – maybe an online training course or some consultancy could make your attendance tracking a lot easier.
Training Courses: Attendance for New Users (scomis.org)