Khulisa, Impetus, and School-Home Support are working together to address the issue of the school attendance crisis by working with Public First who we’ve asked to conduct a major focus group exercise. They will be talking to parents across the country and across socio-economic groups to find out why so many children are now regularly absent from the classroom.
More than 125,000 children spent more time out of school than in school for the first time of this academic year, which is double the number before the pandemic.
Earlier this year, Khulisa responded to the Education Committee’s inquiry into persistent and severe absence. On our Face It programmes, we’ve seen that many of the students are persistently absent due to barriers to engaging such as anxiety, adverse childhood experiences, and a range of mental health issues. We know that these factors have a significant impact on attendance and without investigation into these barriers, the attendance crisis will continue to rise and poorly affect these young people’s potential and future.
Public First will explore how certain factors, including free school meals, geography, and ethnography, can impact different groups or communities who are at risk of permanently disengaging from the classroom.
“Since the pandemic, we’ve seen the well-being challenges young people face rise rapidly. We’ve also seen an increase in both the number and the level of need of young people referred to Khulisa because they are struggling with their mental health. The vast majority are also struggling with school attendance as a result. “From our work, we’ve found that when you invest in young people’s wellbeing; their attendance increases. This research is pivotal in helping us better understand the support needs of young people and their families, from their perspective, so that we can collectively act to mitigate the impact of this crisis.”