Our latest impact data shows that the need for family support to tackle low school attendance has more than doubled in the last year. While the main causes of low attendance haven’t changed, we have seen that they have intensified since the pandemic, and in the midst of the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Our dedicated family support practitioners completed 56% more interactions with families – meetings, phone calls or visits – than in the previous year, a reflection of the day to day struggles families are facing.
Our family support approach works in tackling the underlying causes of school absence. When young people are referred to us for attendance issues, we work with the whole family to understand what’s driving absence and work with them to overcome the barriers to education and build resilience. We know that our approach works because 7 in 10 persistently absent children supported by School-Home Support (those children missing more than 10% (or 20 days) of their schooling each year), spent an average of 6 more weeks in school after support.
Ajay’s story demonstrates how our practitioners work with young people and their families to unpick the barriers to school attendance, intervening at crucial times and making a lasting impact for their future.
What was the situation?
Ajay is 15 years old and lives with his mum and two younger siblings. When he was referred to School-Home Support he was teetering on the edge of the education system, at risk of being exposed to harmful influences.
His school attendance was just 39% and he was completely disengaged from his learning. Ajay was unable to see the benefits of going to school, and was at serious risk of missing out on his education entirely.
How did School-Home Support help?
School-Home Support practitioner Sharon began one to one sessions with Ajay, building a positive and trusting relationship that enabled Ajay to share his feelings and explain his frustrations. Working in collaboration with Ajay’s school, Sharon developed strategies to improve his school punctuality and attendance, alongside effective tools to support Ajay’s learning needs. In time, Ajay was able to explore his aspirations for the future, reengaging with his learning and building confidence in his abilities.
Ajay’s school attendance has increased to 83.7% and his teachers report that he is now on track to be entered for his GCSEs as a year 10 student. Looking positively to his future and feeling confident in his own ability to succeed, the risk of Ajay engaging in dangerous behaviour is significantly reduced and he is happier both at home and at school.