How to Improve School Attendance

By Jocelyn Levy | 2nd November 2020 | 8 min read

To improve school attendance, you need to do two things: improve how you record it and improve how you inspire and encourage.

Reliable recording needed

Schools need to get accurate and reliable records on a daily basis of their attendance, whether it is a primary school or secondary school. BioStore have different solutions for each scenario, but both have the same effect. They improve reliability, they cut admin time, and they help the school improve attendance and manage lateness.

In primary schools we tie attendance to the selection of lunch time meals to save time. And in secondary schools, we let the student population record their attendance using either a biometric, smartcard or PIN system. Whichever method your school chooses, recording of attendance is done simply as students enter a classroom. With biometrics, your records are extremely accurate and tamper proof.

And the reason we all want more reliable recording of attendance is because we know how important high attendance is.

Mike Amesbury, labour MP for Weaver Vale, recently said:

“Evidence shows regular attendance at school is an important part of ensuring children fulfil their potential.

“I believe there should be a clear expectation that children should be in school during term time, except for in exceptional circumstances.”

How to improve school attendance

Mr Amesbury made these comments about the need to improve school attendance in the light of more evidence showing the increased use of fines against parents in his constituency. Parents are receiving unprecedented levels of fines, and the reason for that is the increase of term-time holidays. Mr Amesbury said:

“I completely understand the frustration of parents at the rise in the cost of family holidays. In some instances there have been huge increases that have led to many holidays becoming unaffordable.

“I also understand concerns about the level of the fines imposed on those who take their child out of school unauthorised.

“I welcome that the Government has been pressed to work with the travel industry to try to mitigate the cost of holidays for families who have already withstood austerity and are living on the breadline.”

What’s causing this growth in reduced levels of attendance is not something that is really in schools’ control. We will have to wait and see until next year if this works. If similar numbers of unapproved holidays absences are reported, we will know that fines haven’t worked, and a better solution is needed.

The only other thing schools can really do to improve school attendance, is try and make their school as open and welcoming place for students and parents as possible. It is students who struggle in school academically, that generally have poor attendance. It of course makes for a vicious cycle.

To improve attendance, schools have to introduce new technology. There is no one technology that will turn bad school attendance records around. It takes an amalgamation of good leadership, good teachers, strong solutions, government support and funding.

Related links & news stories

Nantwich News: Parents slam soaring number of school attendance fines in Cheshire