Education is a fundamental human right for everyone, as affirmed in theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights.
Despite this, nearly 800,000 children are persistently absent from school each year – that is one in nine children in England. These children are missing weeks, months and even years of their education, severely aﬀecting their future life chances.
Since 1984, we have been using early intervention to break the intergenerational cycles of deprivation. We are the only charity in England working with children and their families using a holistic family-based approach. Our work looks beyond the classroom to tackle whole-family issues that prevent children from being in school. Issues concerning poverty, domestic violence and mental ill-health. We use bespoke support strategies to help children achieve their potential.
What is the impact of missing education?
The consequences of absence from school are wide-ranging and can be severe. Persistent absence often precedes bigger issues, from low attainment to poverty and criminal offending.
- Educational attainment is identified as the main driver that causes financially deprived children to become financially deprived adults
- At any period during a pupil’s life, as the level of overall absence increases, the likelihood of achieving five good GCSEs decreases
- The Timpson Review into School Exclusion found that every 1% of school sessions missed due to unauthorised absence was associated with 1% increase in the likelihood of permanent exclusion
- A quarter of school-age offenders have significant school non-attendance records and the majority of school-age offenders go on to become adult offenders
- Nine out of 10 children in custody had been excluded from school and children excluded from school are overrepresented in Young Offender Institutions and are more likely to be victims of serious violence
How do we help ensure children are in school, ready to learn?
The need for our services has never been greater. Over the last year, there has been a 50% increase in the interventions and target interactions we delivered in comparison to 2019/20.
An additional 700,000 people have been plunged into poverty as a result of the pandemic and this has been a key factor in the increase in need for our services. The need has quadrupled since the first lockdown was announced and our ongoing work with families show that these issues caused by the pandemic still continue to affect families today. As well as more families being in need, we have seen that the families we are helping are requiring more support than ever before. Nearly 80% of our cases required five or more interventions.
To ensure children can do their best in education, School-Home Support practitioners are there to support the whole family with any issues they are facing.
Top three presenting issues for parents:
- Progress to work (including redundancy, furlough, job loss)
- Home and money (including housing and poverty)
- Wellbeing (including mental health)
Top three presenting issues for young people:
- Feelings and behaviour
- Confidence and self-esteem (including depression and anxiety)
- Friends (including loneliness and isolation)
Ultimately, children with serious challenges at home don’t go into the classroom on a level playing field with their peers.
We believe the only way to successfully close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better off peers, is to be able to take into consideration what has been going on at home and ensure the emotional wellbeing of not only the child but also the family.
- We supported over 6000 family members in 2020/21
- In 2020/21 there were 65,000 interactions and 38,000 targeted interventions, a 50% increase from 2019/20
- Each practitioner delivered nearly 300 intensive support interventions on average, an increase of 38% on 2019/20
- One year support = 6.6% attendance increase = 13 extra days in school
- One year support = 10.4% more likely to achieve grades 5 and above at GCSE
- 2 years of our support = 32 extra days in school
- There was an 80% rise in the number of individuals being identified as needing vulnerable family follow up as part of our early intervention support – rising from 491 in 2019/20 to 881 individuals in 2020/21
To help us continue our work to get vulnerable children back into school and ready to learn, whatever it takes, you can donate to us here: www.schoolhomesupport.org.uk/support-us/donate
If you are an education professional and would like more information on our Membership services, you can learn more here: www.schoolhomesupport.org.uk/our-services/shs-membership