Behaviour and attendance: To show how a strategically managed intervention can reduce absence

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  • Date: Mar 2005
  • Programme: Behaviour and Attendance (B&A)
  • Focus: To show how a strategically managed intervention can reduce absence
  • Number in series: 17
  • School name: John O’Gaunt Community Technology College
  • Phase: Secondary
  • Key stage: Key Stage 3
  • Local authority: West Berkshire
  • Free school meals (FSM): 3.7%


Location: Small town school in a rural setting with pupils drawn from a wide social and economic range

Number of pupils: 586 with 3.7% of pupils entitled to free school meals (FSM)

Other: The school is a specialist technology college with a small sixth form. It is in an area where the high cost of housing makes it difficult to recruit and retain teachers and this has made it difficult for the college to raise attainment in shortage subjects, such as mathematics. There is a smaller proportion than nationally of students for whom English is an additional language.

Key factors that motivated the intervention

  • Initial review and audit of behaviour and attendance highlighted absence as an issue.
  • Total absence 2002/2003 = 9.10% (8.70% authorised, 0.40% unauthorised).
  • The school had allowed other issues to overtake attendance when agreeing priorities.
  • A significant number of families did not view 'good' attendance rates as important e.g. holidays in term time, condoning absence etc.
  • No one member of the senior staff team held overall responsibility.
  • Electronic registration was partially flawed by inaccurate coding in registers by some tutors/office staff and evidence of insufficient training of some staff on registration procedures.
  • Year heads met with the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) but this was not formalised.
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