Written evidence submitted by Nottingham City Council






The impact of the Department’s proposed reforms to improve attendance. The focus on early intervention is necessary to ensure that any barriers to learning are eliminated.    The impact of the proposed changes that become Statutory in 2023 have been good so far and we have seen improvements in parental engagement, improved attendance, reduction of persistent absence.  The new reforms ensure schools MUST engage with the local authority and work together, with the new responsibilities and duties to work together. It ensures that school attendance is high on the agenda of schools ensuring that senior school leaders and governors take responsibility for improving attendance at their school.



             The impact of school breakfast clubs and free school meals on improving attendance for disadvantaged pupils. This is positive and has a positive effect on attendance.  Children are also getting a healthy start to the day and socialising with peers. Breakfast clubs and free school meals are extremely important in ensuring good attendance of disadvantaged pupils. Schools should be able to offer a free breakfast club for all disadvantaged pupils. Children having the option of attending breakfast club (for free) can only improve attendance, and can only be viewed as a positive system of support. It is something all families can use, but those disadvantaged families would proportionally get the most benefit from. Some schools currently charge £1 per child per day for breakfast club, but when a family with 4 children compares the cost of this (£20 a week) vs the cost of breakfast at home (two loaves of bread a week) it’s obvious why it can be a non-starter. Interactions with schools and families where the offer of a breakfast club for free, has dramatically improved a whole family’s attendance and improved the mental health of the parent, and the attitude towards school of the scholar(s). This does prove other challenges for the school in terms of funding and staffing numbers when breakfast club is “over-prescribed” which one can appreciate, but this (quite common) over prescription is just evidence of high demand.



The role of the Holiday Activities and Food programme and other after school and holiday clubs, such as sports, in improving attendance and engagement with school. These events help to maintain trust in professionals whilst ensuring that the child has access to fun events and food. They also allow the child and parent to stay in a ‘routine’ throughout the holidays.  These are important factors and are really helpful for a lot of families especially families from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Examples of the Holiday Activity Funded Provision from School Head Teachers


“We have had the Holiday Activity Funded provision since 2020 and the response from our school community has been exceptionally positive. Local children have the opportunity to easily access great activities, socialise with others and enjoy a meal during the day. The benefit to many of our pupils who enjoy the routine and structure that the "HAF school day" brings has been invaluable. Children feel safe on a site they know or have seen as they have walked by and parents appreciate the offer which ensures their child is active and engaged with some fantastic providers who go on to inspire children outside of the school term. 


“The Holiday Activity and Food programme is a fantastic opportunity to further develop community relationships. Providing this support for children and families has contributed to excellent engagement in school.”


“As a school who aims to be at the heart of the community, hosting the Holiday Activity and Food Programme has been really positive in providing activities for the children of our community in the school holidays. It’s fantastic that the kids can have fun and also be provided with a meal. I’m sure that this will increase their positive view of school.”


February 2023