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Truancy rates and absenteeism are being scrutinised by the government following a new bill. Can schools be supported properly and can EdTech assist?

Following the Queen’s speech, England’s schools will now be required to publish an attendance policy for their students aiming to crack down on absenteeism. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi outlined his ambitions to improve schools:

“Between the strengthened safeguarding measures and greater accountability in our new Schools Bill, and our Schools White Paper ambitions to embed evidence, tutoring and excellent teacher training in the school system, I am confident we will achieve these ambitions for every child.”

Additionally, the government aims to boost education standards across the country as:

“core school funding will rise by £4 billion in 2022/23 compared with 2021/22, which represents a 7% increase per pupil.”

In a combination of the new bill and increased funding, student truancy and absenteeism are being cracked down.

However, there has been criticism from Labour regarding the bill expressing how the government was “obsessing over structures instead of improving children’s experience in the classroom”.

For improvements to be made, the underlying cause of students truanting needs to be addressed. If it is a legitimate illness then it’s understandable, but if it is because of false sickness then something can and should be implemented to resolve this issue.

Students were even faking Covid tests in a bid to get time off school. This has been an issue but perhaps home learning could be beneficial for some students and schools?

Home learning has increased

According to recent statistics:

“It is estimated that there were more than 115,000 children who were home-educated at some point during the 2020-21 academic year, which is an increase of 34% on the previous year.”

Does it raise the question as to why this is the case? Some students may prefer being home-schooled now after learning in a comfortable setting. Have you got staff absences causing disruption? Are you adequately supporting students learning from home?

Earlier this year there was an “Inquiry launched to find 100,000 pupils absent in England” which raised several questions as to why there were so many in the first place.

Student development can be heavily affected because of truancy. According to 2021 statistics:

“The overall absence rate has similarly remained at a worrying 4.7% this year. This represents 22 million days of learning lost. On top of this, a further 7.0% of school lessons have been lost due to Covid circumstances, this represents 33 million days of lost learning.”

The drastic amount of lost learning has hampered student progression. Exam topics were even released early this year in a bid to support students. This highlights the benefits that online learning and EdTech can provide for students due to the continuation of their education on their terms. 

Nevertheless, truancy can lead to less student progression but also increases the amount of safeguarding incidents.

Truancy leads to safeguarding incidents

Truancy leads to less observation of students from teachers, subsequently creating potential safeguarding risks. According to statistics:

“There were 536 serious incident reports in England during 2020/21, up 87 (19%) from 449 in 2019/20, and an increase of 41% on the number of incidents recorded five years ago.”

An increase in safeguarding incidents has been exacerbated due to the pandemic because of the lack of appropriate adults or teachers monitoring the safety of a student.

Covid has been a massive issue and contributed to truancy levels and despite the number of cases falling, it remains a concerning matter. According to the BBC:

“in total more than 176,000 people have died in the UK since the outbreak of the virus.”

Coinciding with deaths, Covid has caused thousands of legitimate staff and student absences. So it poses the question of how school attendance and truancy rates can be supported?

How EDClass can help boost attendance even when students learn at home

EDClass allows attendance codes to be claimed when students learn remotely. EDClass has even helped some students double their attendance rates when using the platform.

The platform includes registration forms and the students’ IP addresses are tracked to identify if it is them who are learning.

If any irregularities arise then a safeguarding alert automatically prompts the team to deal with it urgently to ensure that the student is safe. The school is notified immediately to help limit any incident that could occur.

The platform also helps regulate truancy as EDClass’ UK-qualified teachers can see the students via video chat to make sure they are at their screen learning.

If you would like some information on how EDClass can help your school boost attendance rates then call the team on 01909 568 338, send an email to or book a free online demonstration here.