Reducing unauthorised absence in school: your plan for attendance success

Copy 6 of Untitled design Max Quality | Reducing unauthorised absence in school: your plan for attendance success
By Toby Lester | 18th September 2020 | 8 min read

Schools across the country are trying all sorts of motivational methods to reduce unauthorised absence and improve punctuality. Guaranteeing full classrooms by the time the bell rings isn’t easy and a one-size fits all solution simply doesn’t exist. Instead, research suggests that a mix of strategies for improving attendance is often the best approach. We’ve gathered a few tried and tested methods to reduce unauthorised absence for your school this year.

Digital registration systems

Electronic registration systems manage communication between the classroom and school office efficiently and accurately. A paperless system is both more secure and easier to manage, with all student data gathered in a central location. A digital platform also makes it easy to gain a picture of attendance at a glance, recognise trends and combat potential issues early. 

Most teams use electronic systems to plan next-step communications, by contacting parents of absent students following morning registration. However, digital systems can support office teams with these communications, too. Absence Call, a module of PS Connect, performs first-day contact on behalf of schools and is proven to reduce unauthorised absence. With staff busy with the other important tasks, writing up emails and making phone calls can take up hours of valuable time. Make the most of technology, tailor made for the education sector, to reduce time-consuming administration and ensure parents are contacted efficiently. 

Communicate a clear attendance policy 

A clear attendance policy developed in collaboration with teachers, staff and parents should outline the process in place around attendance and unauthorised absence. 

Parents should understand the actions your school will take if students fail to arrive as well as the repercussions of unauthorised absence. The policy should also explain the strategies your school will use for monitoring attendance; for example, your digital registration and attendance monitoring systems. 

The policy should also express your school’s attendance objectives and outline the methods with which your school will measure the effectiveness of attendance strategies. This is where your electronic attendance system comes into play! Utilise your school’s absence data to clearly communicate the current state of attendance. This information also enables your team to identify achievable objectives that can be easily measured in the future. 

Talk to parents 

Talking about attendance with parents can be tricky, particularly for busy parents unable to receive phone calls or respond to emails. However, communicating about the importance of attendance is important, particularly for parents of persistently absent students. 

Absence Call receives over a third of parent responses out of school hours, allowing hard-to-reach and busy parents to engage with your school at a time convenient for them. In the long term, this can improve responses and strengthen school/home relationships with hard-to-reach parents. The system is also free for parents, ensuring total social inclusivity when it matters most. 

Make the most of your data 

With data drawn dynamically from your school's information management system, PS Connect and Absence Call identifies students who are absent or late and manages first point of call communication. Schools also have the option to filter data, allowing you to remove parents or guardians who don’t require messages. 

Absence Call makes it easy to gain an up-to-date picture of attendance for one student, a class or the whole school. Having this information at your fingertips empowers staff to measure attendance objectives outlined in your policy and plan ahead for individual students or the student population. 

To find out more or to arrange a demo, please get in touch