Tackling Hastings’ attendance challenges
Improving attendance is a key cross cutting priority for Hastings. Attendance at primary schools in Hastings is the lowest of all 324 local authority districts in England and attendance at secondary school is below national averages. Some schools have very high levels of persistent absence – pupils missing more than 10 per cent of school.
The reasons for high levels of absence and persistent absence are complex and vary for different communities. Across Hastings schools and colleges are already engaged in pro-active and creative strategies to support children and young people coming to school. We want to build on this and support schools to develop and test new ideas with families, young people and children to encourage regular school attendance.
We are therefore developing a three-pronged approach to improving attendance within Hastings. This includes:
1) £250,000 attendance fund
Early years providers, schools and colleges can pitch for funding to develop, implement and evaluate creative and innovative approaches to improving attendance within their setting.
2) Hastings wide approach – all schools
Bringing all schools and colleges together to work collaboratively with East Sussex County Council, the police, Hastings Borough Council and other key providers to create a unified approach to tackling attendance. We are aiming to agree and launch this strategy in 2019.
Commissioning an organisation to carry out behavioural insights research with parents and young people. This will help us understand the motivations for attending school or college, the barriers and, what might be helpful to enable young people to overcome these. We will aim to develop a ‘Hastings wide campaign’ based on the findings from this research work.