Why Kids Miss School (and the support you need to get them through the gates)

3rd October 2022| Blogs

Did you see the BBC Panorama programme Why Kids Miss School on Friday? 

It was an insightful watch that shone a light on something that Thrive is passionate about – improving attendance and engaging children and young people with education. 

The programme examined the reasons behind poor attendance that saw almost 1.7 million children in England miss at least 10 per cent of classes in the 2021 autumn term. It followed the stories of three teenagers who had problems with attendance and considered the strategies that schools use to respond to the issue.

100% attendance this term - the ambition for schools

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, who has set out an ambition for schools in England to achieve 100 per cent attendance this term, was interviewed for the programme. She urged schools to carefully consider the reasons behind poor attendance and what they could do to help, saying: “We need to really look, with each child, at what is the underlying reason for them not coming into school and address that with whatever it takes.” 

Presented by BBC Education Editor Branwen Jefferys, the programme ended with a call for a paradigm shift in the way that attendance is tackled. “Whether it’s being burnt out, a personal crisis or falling out with school, some children need the right support to get them through the gates,” said Ms Jefferys. 

He's had Thrive sessions and is now willing to come to school

Samantha Strange and Vicki Williams, know that they have the right support in place – using the Thrive Approach to create the positive relationships between classroom staff and pupils and their families that can change everything.  

Samantha describes the ‘huge leap forward’ her school had with one pupil who wasn’t attending lessons. 

“Previously, it felt like we couldn’t do anything to help her because she found it so hard to open up, but what I realised as a result of my Thrive training was that we were trying to reach her at a cognitive level but that, at that particular moment, she wasn’t able to engage in this way. We’ve now done a lot of Thrive activities with her to help her to feel safe and to work on things like making eye contact. She’s gone from not being able to look at an adult to being able to sit and have a conversation about what the issue is. She was previously attending hardly any lessons but we’re now in a position where she is going to all her lessons except one,” she said. 

Vicki Williams, from the Fortis Academy, in Birmingham, has seen similar results.  

“We had one school refuser who has not been in school since Year Four because when he was in primary school he was forcibly dragged in and that caused a huge amount of trauma for him. He’s had Thrive sessions and is now willing to come into school because he understands that it’s OK to feel fear before he comes in. His mum has been amazed at how far he has come,” she added. 

Over to you

To find out more about how Thrive could transform attendance in your school, book a Discovery Call with your regional expert. Designed to fit in around your schedule, these free 30-minute conversations via Teams give you a chance to have your questions about any future training answered, decide which path to take next, and identify if you qualify for a £1,200 DfE grant to spend in your setting. 

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