On Tuesday 28 June, our co-chair Tina Emery attended the Attendance Alliance meeting. The Secretary of State, Nadhim Zhawi, chaired the meeting.
The main focus of the meeting was the intention to ensure 100% of all school children would attend school on the first school day in September and to launch the accompanying campaign.
Tina addressed the attendees and expressed concern that the statement could negatively impact children and young people with SEND. She stated that the NNPCF would not be supporting the campaign.
She acknowledged that the target of 100% attendance in school is attainable for the majority of children, however, for some especially those with SEND, school is not always seen as a safe space.
Tina then shared 2 examples of the case studies submitted to the NNPCF. One of the stories included a child for whom school attendance was so challenging and stressful that they wanted to end their life.
Tina reminded the alliance that NNPCF was a solution focused organisation and suggested forming a working group with the other members of the alliance focusing on the attendance issues for SEND children.
She hoped the working group could discuss and work through the issues that our SEND children and young people face. The goal of 100% attendance could be achieved for all children, however, with additional support and understanding.
Other members of the Alliance, including the Council for Disabled Children, a special academy Multi Academy Trust chief executive and Ofsted agreed with Tina’s comments and offered to be part of the working group.
The meeting date for this working group has yet to be confirmed.
To follow up, Tina met with the Children’s Commissioners office 7 July 2022.
The conversation about the attendance audit went well and it confirmed what we have been hearing from our parent carer membership.
Tina iterated that unfortunately, it was not how the document had been received. The audit headlines focused on 100% school attendance, but not how the 100% attendance would be achieved. The conversation was as such, that she really did understand the fundamentals.
Going forward the NNPCF will be having regular catch up with the commissioner’s office. There will be a session with the Children’s Commissioner arranged for Autunm.
Tina told the commissioner of our recent call for evidence and that we received over 50 responses in the first 48 hours.
Please do continue to share our Call for Evidence form with your membership https://forms.office.com/r/sUhNJtb5RY