Written evidence submitted by Essex County Council


This response is being submitted on behalf of Essex County Council, a local authority (LA) with 600+ schools and academies (including independent schools). There are over 200,000 children and young people within our overall school age population and levels of persistent absence have been noted to have increased in recent years for a variety of reasons which we have set out within our submission, using the Committee’s specified headings, below.


The factors causing persistent and severe absence among different groups of pupils, in particular:  


Disadvantaged pupils  



Pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds 



Pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), and those who are clinically vulnerable to covid-19 



Pupils in alternative provision  



How schools and families can be better supported to improve attendance, and how this affects pupils and families who are clinically vulnerable to covid-19. 



The impact of the Department for Education’s proposed reforms to improve attendance.  



The impact of school breakfast clubs and free school meals on improving attendance for disadvantaged pupils



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



Additional points we wish to share as part of our submission:

February 2023