Council meetings

Agenda item

Annual report on Attendance and Exclusions


The Service Manager Access - Inclusion and Participation introduced the item and invited questions from the committee.


It was noted:

1.    Take up of the attendance service had gone down. While the service offered had become more effective, other attendance services were marketed to schools, and some schools took these up.

2.    While attendance at the PRU had been poor, the committee was given assurances that the new head teacher was tackling attendance and improving outcomes.

3.    Where there was poor attendance due to a family being in temporary accommodation resulting in a long journey to school, officers were liaising with Housing to make sure they understood that they could ask the Attendance Service to liaise with the receiving local authority to speed up the process of getting affected children into local schools.

4.    Elective Home Education numbers were increasing nationally. Schools have to notify the local authority of every child being removed from school to be home educated. Robust procedures were in place.

5.    As regards unauthorised term time absence, the committee heard that schools were skilled at dealing with these attendance issues in a sympathetic way. Schools also employed a range of creative and innovative ways of tackling persistent absenteeism.

6.    One challenge facing Housing was helping families in temporary accommodation outside of the borough realise that keeping their child in a Lewisham school would not increase their chance of being housed back in the borough.

7.    Paragraph 7.3 was headed “Ethnicity” but referred to nationality.

8.    Managed moves were only a very small part of the reason for the decrease in exclusions. Mostly it was due to collaborative working and earlier intervention.

9.    Preventing permanent exclusion was harder with children in out of borough schools, but this was something the service was working to improve.

10.A managed move differed from an in-year application because the latter was a decision by the parent, whereas a managed move was a decision by the school in agreement with the family.

11.Members requested a breakdown of permanent exclusions of Lewisham students in out of borough schools by ethnicity and gender.

12.Referring to the table at paragraph 8.7 of the report headed “Permanent exclusion reasons – Lewisham schools only”, Members asked that more explicit reasons for exclusion were offered for the 3 cases where “other” was recorded.

13.Academy schools in Lewisham did not appear to have higher rates of exclusions than local authority schools.

14.The weapons protocol had been in place for a year and had undoubtedly played a part in reducing permanent exclusions. The protocol offered guidance to schools on what to do it they find a weapon on a pupils. Previously, weapon carrying resulted in automatic permanent exclusion. Now schools are directed to contact the local authority to look at alternatives.

15.Schools agreed the weapons protocol and had ownership of it. They were positive about the effect it was having.



1.    The report be noted;

2.    Officers supply a breakdown of out of borough exclusions of Lewisham children and young people by ethnicity and gender;

3.    Officers provide reasons for the three permanent exclusions under the category “other”.

Supporting documents: