Issue - meetings

Attendance & Exclusions

Meeting: 11/05/2023 - Education, Youth & Culture Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 6)

6 Attendance & Exclusions pdf icon PDF 116 KB

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(a)       That the attendance and exclusion data for Flintshire schools and the actions undertaken by officers to support increased engagement and the safety and wellbeing of children and young people be noted; and


(b)       That the Committee were pleased to learn that the attendance figures for Flintshire schools were within the upper quartile in terms of comparative data across Wales.


            Introducing this report, the Chair commented that the figures may seem concerning, but this was not just a Flintshire issue, it was a national one.  Children were finding it difficult to re-engage with education with some not wanting to go back to school.   Schools were working hard to address those problems with creative working and establishing better links with the Education Welfare Service and GwE.


                      In presenting the report the Senior Manager (Inclusion & Progression) provided an overview of the key points for 2021/22, which were based on the data held in Flintshire as the national data from Welsh Government (WG) had been paused during the Covid restrictions.  Attendance in Flintshire remained below pre-pandemic levels which was a concern across all authorities with officers and schools working hard to re-engage with those learners.   Flintshire had a slight rise in attendance levels across primary schools with a drop in secondary schools, because of high levels of anxiety and mental health difficulties.  Illness was still the main criteria for absence and discussions had been held with Head Teachers to ensure they challenged parents appropriately on whether, or not, to accept the reasons given for their child’s absence.  The lack of availability of school nurses was challenging and work was ongoing with health colleagues to ensure that appropriate provision was made in schools. 


                      The Senior Manager referred to point 1.04 of the report which highlighted the creative ways that some secondary schools were working to help pupils to make that first step back into education, with alternative provision provided in schools and in external community sites such as the Community Hub. Schools were not able to do this alone and point 1.05 of the report provided information on the range of services who were working to support them.  Referring to the previous 2019 Estyn Report, the Senior Manager provided an update on the pupil data for attendance and the targeted interventions with those pupils who were at risk of reduced attendance or exclusion. An example was given of the piloted work from years 6 to 7 which had resulted in attendance levels being maintained with an overview of the changes made located at point 1.07 in the report.


The Senior Manager confirmed the Fixed Penalty process had been re-established this year and used to support attendance. 10 Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued with some progressing to court proceedings and been upheld. It was hoped that this would impress upon parents that attendance was important and taken seriously by schools and the local authority. Attendance levels were concerning with mental health and anxiety the biggest challenge moving forward and she provided information on the different services supporting schools which included CAMHS. Trauma Informed Practice was being promoted across schools and services to support an understanding of the challenges faced by young people during the pandemic and the long-lasting impacts of it together with other social factors. Referring to the data received from WG the authority was currently in the upper quartile of attendance nationally  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6