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Managing school attendance: the professional perspective

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This paper presents the findings obtained from a detailed questionnaire completed by selected head teachers (n = 129), deputy heads (n = 81), middle managers (n = 178) and form tutors (n = 91) in schools within local education authorities located throughout England and Wales. The questionnaire focused upon the respondents' views on the best ways to manage school attendance. Additionally, semi-structured follow-up interviews were conducted with 30 respondents from each category. The respondents' views are mainly presented in tabular form and the results obtained from the four groups are compared and contrasted. The findings indicate that a clear majority of staff had received 'none' or 'very little' professional development training on the management of school attendance. Staff considered that the introduction of more alternative/vocational curriculum schemes was the best single solution to improve pupils' attendance. Parents condoning their children's absence and taking them out of school for holidays during term time were the two most serious issues in the management of school attendance which presently face all grades of teaching staff. Respondents varied in their opinions of which member of staff was in the best position to help absentees and truants to reintegrate back into school successfully. Findings are considered in the context of recent work and the need for further research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Swansea Institute of Higher Education, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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