Attendees pictured at the summit which was hosted recently
The Department of Education will today hold an Attendance Summit to discuss the increasing challenges, following the Covid pandemic, to managing pupil attendance at school.
The Summit brought together representatives from the Department of Education, Education Authority, CCMS, Governing Bodies, Schools, Unions, CCEA, other departments and the voluntary and community sector.
Department of Education Permanent Secretary Dr Mark Browne said:
“Attendance at school remains critically important to a child’s learning. Time lost from school has a direct impact on our children and young people, not just academically, but also socially and emotionally.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the views and perceptions of society in many different ways and the message around the importance of school attendance has been diluted. So all of us in education need to work together to help reverse the downward trend in school attendance.”
Dr Mark Browne opening the summit
Attendees at the summit also heard perspectives from a young person and a parent as well as presentations on good practice to promote attendance and support young people through interventions such as the use of social workers and restorative practice in schools.
Dr Browne concluded:
“Everyone has a role to play in encouraging and supporting our children and young people from an early age to develop a positive attitude to learning, recognise the benefits of school and build positive routines.
“We recognise that schools can’t resolve the attendance challenge alone and that often poor attendance results from wider societal and familial challenges.
"Promoting better attendance at school requires practical and affordable solutions which work for schools, families and communities alike. I hope that the Attendance Summit will start a positive discussion about effective ways to encourage school attendance.”