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Friday 22 March 2019: School Absences and Satellite Sites

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Grammar schools, school absence, Selective schools

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the latest data on school absences, as well as a story about satellite school sites for Grammar Schools which has received coverage nationally.

School Absences

Yesterday, Thursday 21 March, we released statistics on school absences and parental fines for 2017/18. This was covered by the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, the Mail, the Telegraph, the Star, the Express and the Mirror.

The data shows an increase of 75% in the number of fines issued to parents by local authorities for unauthorised absences. Overall absence however has remained broadly stable, increasing from 4.7% to just 4.8%.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The Education Secretary has made clear, persistent absence from school is a society-wide challenge that we all need to work together to resolve - and while significant progress has been made, today’s data shows that has now plateaued.

High quality education and pastoral care will make a real difference to children’s life chances, and that’s particularly important for those who are most vulnerable, but clearly key initiatives will only work if children are present.

That’s why the rules on term-time absences are clear: no child should be taken out of school without good reason. We have put head teachers back in control by supporting them – and local authorities – to use their powers to deal with unauthorised absence.

Satellite Sites

Today, Friday 22 March, the Mail and the Telegraph have reported on two grammar schools who are bidding for funding from the Selective School Expansion Fund to build satellite sites.

The Selective School Expansion Fund is worth £200 million and is now in its second year, with the goal to help selective schools increase their intake of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The assessment process for satellite expansion bids will consider numerous factors such as arrangements, governance and movement of pupils between sites.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Like any good school, selective schools can expand onto different sites. They must, however, demonstrate that it is a genuine expansion of an existing school and not a new institution.

We have also made clear that selective schools will only receive funding for expansions if they can show how they will improve access for disadvantaged pupils.

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