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New study links early childhood problems to school absenteeism

New research by the University of Leeds has found that children who are not considered ‘school ready’ are more than twice as likely to become persistently absent at some point in their education.

The study found that 67% of all persistent absentees with attendance below 90% were considered “not school ready” when they entered reception. This contrasted with only 37% of children “not school ready” who were not persistently absent.

The researchers believe their findings indicate that the seeds of absenteeism are sown early in childhood and that school readiness measures already used by teachers could identify children at risk of long-term disengagement from the education system.

Lead author Dr Megan Wood, a post-doctoral research fellow in the School of Psychology, said: “School is where children develop and flourish, academically, emotionally, socially, and physically.

“However, as a society, we are edging towards a school absence epidemic, with many pupils missing out on opportunities to thrive by not attending every day. This has worsened dramatically since the pandemic.”

See the full report here.

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Published on 27th June 2024