Attendance is one of the biggest challenges facing the school system today. The aim of school attendance hubs is to enable schools with strong attendance practice to share their approaches with senior leaders in other similar schools to help them to improve. Hubs will also facilitate an ongoing professional dialogue about attendance amongst school leaders on a peer support basis.
Attendance hubs are led by schools with effective attendance practice, through their hubs, these schools will share, in-depth, their strategies and resources for improving attendance.
Schools who join the hub will have access to half termly virtual hub meetings run by the school as an opportunity to share practice and discuss shared challenges with others. Participants will be expected to use learning and approaches from the hub to revise their schools’ existing systems for managing attendance to drive improvement.
Support is open to all state-maintained schools including primary, secondary, special schools and alternative provision providers. The programme is intended for senior leaders with oversight of attendance.
Bluecoat Wollaton Academy is located in Nottingham City and serves a diverse range of pupils with above average levels of deprivation; it serves pupils of all faiths and of none. The school has been judged by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’ in all areas and, despite high deprivation and PP levels, pupils’ attendance is above national average in all pupil groups. The school’s approach is for high standards for all pupils irrespective of their starting point, based on a culture of hard work, respect and care.
Through our work hard; show respect philosophy, we hold unapologetically high standards for and of the students in our care at Bluecoat Wollaton. We have clear boundaries, rules and routines because students deserve to feel safe and calm in school. We are strict about these things because we care about the children; if we let these things go, we would fail them. We apply this rigorously to attendance, we strive to have every child in school every day.
Attendance at Bluecoat Wollaton is everybody’s responsibility, we have developed a culture where all stakeholders share our unapologetically high expectations of attendance. Attendance at Bluecoat Wollaton is built on clear policies, systems and procedures are implemented which are understood by all and applied consistently.
Our approach is centred on relationships and early intervention we work in partnership with both parents and students with the aim to understand barriers and work with families to remove them.
Creating a culture / BWA Expectations
The minimum expected attendance for all students is 98%, although we aim for children to be present 100% of the time.
We are proud of the culture that we create at Bluecoat Wollaton and work hard to ensure everyone is involved in Attendance at the academy. The senior team are pro-active in ensuring warm and welcome starts to all students in the morning and then tutors follow this through in tutor time, having 1-1 discussions with students about their attendance and punctuality.
Staff are given training on their use of positive language to ensure they use a warm approach and greet students in a positive way. Students knowing they are really wanted in the academy every day, because staff care about them and have positive relationships with them makes all the difference.
At Bluecoat Wollaton we expect all parents/ carers to work with us in achieving excellent outcomes for the children. Parents are expected to be involved by attending meetings, events, progress review evenings and by supporting decisions that staff make, ensuing their child makes the most of every opportunity by attending the Academy every day. Parents have a designated area on the website about attendance and are sent regular information from the academy about how their child’s attendance is progressing or invited in should they need to be.
Parents know that if their child is absent, even if they have called the absence line they will have a follow up call from the child’s year leader. The language here is also of nature and care but encourages students back in the next day with year leader keeping an eye on the student should they struggle to be in the academy, parents knowing and trusting that staff would contact them.
The assistant principal with oversight for attendance and behaviour writes personally to students who have had 100% attendance all term and no behaviour incidents. This is a personal letter that congratulates and celebrates a full terms attendance. At the academy we also promote the importance
At Bluecoat Wollaton we believe early intervention is key to understand and remove any barriers, we seek to find creative solutions. At this stage, we may identify attendance barriers that are common to many families and put in place universal strategies for pupils and parents/carers. If early intervention and relational work does not improve a child’s attendance, we work to formalise the approach further. This may involve the Education Welfare service.
It’s always key to review data and as a staff team we do this on a regular basis. We share the weekly data as a team and have some healthy competition around this. Data is also scrutinised weekly in line management meetings looking at any students that have had a day off in the academy. This is tracked to prevent students dropping to a low percentage. Lots of the work we do as an academy is to ensure students do not reach low thresholds. We hold half termly meetings with students so they are aware of their own attendance marks, this is with the year leader and attendance officer so that they are encouraged with a personal target.
We also invite parents into the academy for meetings when students meet certain thresholds. As we are part of a trust we can also compare data to other schools in the trust and have some competitive conversations with others.
This folder contains links to research that has underpinned our work and current issues concerning attendance nationally.
Attendance Hub Meetings