There has been much development of support focussing on attendance and support for pupils and their families. Partners have looked to provide a strong foundation for supporting families and schools to address barriers for attendance, and challenging when support is not effective.
However, for a small group of families this is not enough and for some of families, support followed by legal sanctions is ineffective. In ‘Working together to improve school attendance’, the DfE states that, ‘If all avenues of support have been facilitated by schools, local authorities, and other partners, and the appropriate educational support or placements have been provided but severe absence for unauthorised reasons continues, it is likely to constitute neglect.’ The term ‘educational neglect’ is helpful, in that it supports the narrative from professionals and conveys the level of concern the issue should invoke.
Educational Neglect should be considered by professionals when deciding whether to step down a case. It should be fully understood by the Virtual School when working with supporting agencies, and it should be considered as neglect when all other support and challenge has proved ineffective.