Whole family support

The role of whole family support in addressing school absence

Whole Family Support

We work in partnership with schools across England

To address persistent and severe absenteeism


Children and families are at the centre of everything we do. Our ultimate goal is to make an effective, long-lasting impact in the lives of children, young people, families and communities we serve by strengthening the bridge between home and school.

Our model is based on the cultivation of trust, resilience, and skills within the entire family unit. Strengthening the connection between home and school facilitates sustained improvements in school attendance. Our practitioners provide bespoke whole family support to help understand and tackle barriers to good school attendance. 

Presently, our model demonstrates an attendance improvement averaging approximately 6 weeks, equivalent to half a term, for 70% of persistently absent children who have used our support programmes. Find out more about our impact.


Whole Family Support - child in slide

Beyond the school gate

The causes of persistent and severe absence are complex. Most parents want what’s best for their children but when they are dealing with issues like mental ill health, violence, lack of resources, bereavement, bad housing, etc. getting their children to school becomes a challenge too.

School-Home Support practitioners work beyond the school gate to unpick the root causes of persistent absence. They design bespoke support plans to address the needs of children, young people and their families. Support can include emotional wellbeing, relationship building, time management, parental engagement and financial advice.

Communication with parents and school staff is essential in the day to day work of our practitioners. They work to improve the home environment of families because the home children go back to, it has an impact on their ability to attend school and their attainment.

Karl’s story

13-year-old Karl’s attendance was 68% when he was referred to School-Home Support. After working with School-Home Support for eight months to address issues around neglect, housing, and parental engagement, Karl’s attendance rose to 85%.
Read the full case study about Karl’s story
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Whole Family SUpport - mum and daughter

Early intervention approach

Our model is based on an early intervention approach. This means that our practitioners listen to the whole family and look for signs of potential crisis. They provide assistance to proactively prevent the emergence of crisis situations and avoid issues to escalate to a level where they are more difficult to resolve.

Find out more about our practitioner Jeff who talked to us about his work with young people, and how he provides early response support to build trustful connections with individuals and the broader school community.

Mina and Neha’s story

Mina is 4 years old and was referred to School-Home Support because she was persistently absent from school, often due to illness. Her attendance was just 63%. School-Home Support practitioner Ellen had the time to get to know Mina’s family and her older sister Neha, and understand the challenges they were facing at home, so that she could offer the support they needed to get Mina and Neha back into school, ready to learn.
Read the full case study about Mina and Neha’s story
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Whole Family Support - children in a school setting

Investing in Education

We know our model works. Testimonials from the families we support and our data show that when young people and families have the support they need, they thrive in school and in life. However, to deliver a service of whole family support practitioners across the country we need to see more investment in education from the Government.

The cost for School-Home Support to create one tailored plan per child per year is approximately £1,000. In comparison, this cost stands against the annual expense of £2,166 per individual missing at least 5 weeks of school, falling below the Persistent Absence threshold.

That’s why we are campaigning for the roll out of a national service of Whole Family Support specialists that could provide 2,225 practitioners to support 194,000 children and their families. That would require an investment of £90.2 million. 

Find out more about our ‘Dig a Little Deeper’ campaign where we call on the Government to invest more in education to tackle persistent absence.

Our theory of change

Framework for sustainable support outcomes


The sustainability of the whole family support model lies in its holistic, adaptable, and cost-effective approach, which aims not only to address immediate attendance issues but also to create enduring positive changes within families and communities. School-Home Support approach to tackling school absence is based on the following principles:


Our practitioners have access to a network of services and knowledge that allows them to use resources effectively, maximising the impact of their support. (1)

Contact us today

Find out more about how whole family support can make a difference in your school.

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