Increasing Attendance And Lowering Exclusions

Evidence suggests that a number of variables contribute to low attendance and exclusion among looked after and formerly looked after children. This section investigates some of the root problems and potential solutions.

Editorial, back to school
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In accordance with statutory guidelines on exclusions from maintained schools, academies, and pupil referral units in England, head teachers should avoid excluding any looked after children to the greatest extent practicable. When a child is at risk of exclusion, the DT should inform the Virtual School as soon as possible to assist the school in deciding how to support the child in improving their behavior and avoiding exclusion where feasible.

What Factors Contribute to Low Attendance And/or Exclusion?

Attitudes Toward Education in the Birth Home Environment:

Some looked after children may not attend school due to behaviors formed before joining the care system. The parent's personal school experience will likely impact the example of school behavior and academic learning they set for their child. Poor attendance children may have grown up with fluctuating parental attitudes toward education and frequently consider their parents as not having accomplished academically.

Rigid Behaviour Policies:

Zero Tolerance Behavior Policies and the like are not flexible enough to respond to problematic behavior in looked after and formerly looked after children in the most effective way for those children.

Formerly Interrupted School Attendance:

Looked After and previously looked after children frequently have long-standing school attendance concerns and frequently change schools. As a result, kids may have learning gaps and have slipped behind their peers before becoming cared for. These learning gaps make arriving to school challenging since the kid may struggle to participate in the assigned work and is continually reminded that they are not doing at the same level as their peers. This frequently results in problematic behavior when they do attend.

Peer Pressure:

Research has indicated that peer pressure, which may lead to bullying, is one of the causes of low school attendance among looked after and formerly looked after children. This must be addressed as soon as possible since peer pressure can lead to exclusion, disengagement, and underachievement.

Behavioural Issues:

One of the most common causes of exclusion is chronic disruptive behavior. Early intervention to prevent undesirable behaviors from growing to a crisis point is critical to addressing this issue. See our sections on Coaching of Emotion, Wellbeing and Learning Readiness.

Underlying Social And Personal Issues:

CLA who have lost a parent or who have underlying parental drug or alcohol problems may have low attendance rates and exhibit problematic behaviors. See also our sections 10 Things Foster Children Wish You to Know and Coaching of Emotion.

Personal issues such as low self-esteem and poor social skills might contribute to more excellent absence rates. Personal variables might also include learning disabilities and Special Educational Needs.

Contact With Birth Parents:

Contact with birth parents can lead to increased attendance rates among looked-after youngsters. However, contact with a child's biological family can potentially negatively influence school attendance, both short and long-term.

Socioeconomic Factors:

Data shows that the higher the rate of disadvantage in a school, the higher the incidence of absence. According to the literature, children from disadvantaged socioeconomic situations have fewer favorable views about school and learning than their classmates from more affluent places.

Age at Which a Kid Joins the Care System:

Studies suggest that children who enter care before the age of 12 outperform those who receive care at or after the age of 12. One reason for this might be that individuals who were looked after as children tended to reside in foster homes and therefore have more established lives. As the children in care get older, there may be concerns with placement stability.

Placement Type And Stability:

Research indicates that children in foster care have higher attendance rates than children in residential care settings. Pressure from their classmates who are not attending school may impact attendance in the latter group. Additionally, children in long-term or stable situations had higher attendance rates than other categories of Children Looked After.

Strategies for Improving Attendance And Behavior Among Looked-after Children And Lowering the Risk of Exclusion: