Council continues work to support learners to attend school

Members of the Education & Learning Scrutiny have heard how the Education Welfare support service is continuing to work with families in the borough to try to reduce persistent absenteeism, and how they are facing some new challenges as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Councillors at the meeting were told how Education Welfare officers, and the Youth Service team, had worked throughout the pandemic with some of the borough’s most vulnerable families. They provided support, reassurance and advice, particularly in relation to the well-being and mental health of the children and young people. They were also a key link between families and schools to encourage and support with remote and blended learning needs during school and learning establishment closures.

Prior to Covid the team had already been working to address issues of persistent absenteeism and, together with partners, were helping to support young people in breaking down barriers to them attending school regularly. There is now a focus on encouraging and reintegrating pupils back into school as some are facing new challenges with their emotional, behavioural and mental health needs as a result of the pandemic. Absenteeism has also been impacted by self-isolation periods or vulnerabilities within the household.

There is a national focus on this too, as the Welsh Government is shortly due to carry out a review looking at the barriers to school attendance and the impact COVID has had on this.

Councillor Joanne Collins, the Council’s Executive Member for Education said:

“Our Education Welfare service has worked hard over the past few years to tackle persistent absenteeism and make sure all children and young people are accessing the teaching and learning opportunities on offer to them. Of course, attention switched during the school closures to supporting these vulnerable families at home and helping with remote and blended learning needs. Now, we are working, together with school leaders, to make sure these learners are fully supported back into the school environment.

“We know that good and regular attendance leads to improved pupil outcomes; enhanced wellbeing, particularly our most vulnerable pupils, and enables pupils to maximise their full potential.”