Theme: Audiences: ,

Attendance Support Team

Our Approach

Improving attendance is everyone’s business. The barriers to accessing education are broad and complex, both within and beyond the school gates, and are often specific to individual pupils and families.

We recognise that some children find it harder than others to attend school and therefore at all stages of improving attendance, schools, and partners along with pupils and parents will work together to remove any barriers to attendance by building strong and trusting relationships and putting the right support in place.

Securing good attendance cannot be seen in isolation, and effective practices for improvement will involve a multi-agency approach encompassing children and families’, schools, the local authority, and other local partners.


In order to achieve our ambition of improving school attendance rates for all children in Sutton, the partnership understands that promoting positive school attendance is a shared responsibility.

For the majority of children our aim is that they will achieve at least 95% attendance. We acknowledge that for a small number of children this attendance figure will not be possible due to reasons of ill health, disability, or other social/emotional needs. In these cases, children’s attendance will be viewed within the context of each individual learner’s needs so that they can be supported to achieve their highest level of attendance.

Attendance Principles

Sutton recognises that improvements in overall school attendance rates can only be achieved through a truly collaborative approach across the local area multi-agency partnership. A partnership that includes pupils, families, education, health, social care, police, community, and voluntary sector agencies all working together to bring about positive change using solution focused, restorative and trauma informed approaches. Together WE can make a difference.

Partners understand that promoting positive school attendance is a responsibility that belongs to everyone and is an ethos that is central to achieve our ambition of at least 95% attendance for all pupils and ensure a significant reduction in persistent absenteeism. We acknowledge that for a small number of children this attendance figure will not be possible due to reasons of ill health, disability, or other social/emotional needs. In these cases, children’s attendance will be viewed within the context of each individual learner’s needs so that they can be supported to achieve their highest level of attendance.

As a partnership we commit to addressing the underlying issues families and communities face, including a commitment to working as a team around the family, removing barriers and meeting needs to support excellent school attendance and improve outcomes for all.


  • We believe that school attendance is everyone’s business, and we take collective responsibility to work together to create positive change that enables children and young people to attend school regularly.
  • We commit to working restoratively and using solution focused, trauma informed approaches. Sharing information/data, advice, support, and resources, and where possible, commit to finding alternative ways of working to eradicate systemic and operational barriers that are preventing change.
  • We will use data to support intervention to prevent lost learning. Recognising that patterns of low attendance can form early; we will encourage good attendance from the early years across all phases of education and intervene at the earliest opportunity to support positive attendance habits.
  • Poor attendance can be a safeguarding issue. We will ensure parent/carers, pupils and partners are aware of the importance of school attendance in children staying safe both at home and in the community and achieving their full potential though professional support and challenge.
  • We will work with parents and carers to help them prioritise school attendance and understand their roles as an identified partner, along with the multi-agency professional network. Support will utilise restorative and trauma-informed approaches rather than punitive approaches.
  • We recognise that barriers to attendance are often complex and can include a variety of factors within a family, environment, and the wider community. We are committed to breaking down these barriers.
  • We will hold each other to account when we are not meeting our commitments to improve attendance.
  • We will act as one voice to communicate, champion and create awareness of the importance of school attendance in keeping safe and achieving full potential.

Attendance Support Team

Cognus’ Attendance Support Team support education settings, children and young people, parents/carers to ensure attendance levels are maintained at appropriate levels. We recognise the importance of working holistically with a family to identify and remove barriers to good attendance and working with our multi-agency network to provide support that may be needed.

The service has a statutory obligation on behalf of the London Borough of Sutton to:

  • Comply with all its statutory obligations under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006
  • Fulfil the local authority’s statutory obligations under Section 444(1) 444(1A) and 444(ZA) of The Education Act 1996 and the Children Act 1989

Cognus on behalf on the London Borough of Sutton carry out a range of duties which are to:

  • Rigorously track local attendance data to devise a strategic approach to attendance that prioritises the pupils, pupil cohorts and schools on which to provide support and focus its efforts on to unblock area wide barriers to attendance.
  • Have an Attendance Support Team which provides the following free functions:
    • Communication and advice: regularly bring schools together to communicate messages, provide advice and share best practice between schools and trusts within the area.  We do this by providing termly network meetings and newsletters
  • Targeting Support Meetings: hold termly conversations with schools, using their attendance data to identify pupils and cohorts at risk of poor attendance and agree targeted actions and access to services for those pupils
  • Multi-disciplinary support for families: work together with partners to provide access to early help support workers to work intensively with families to provide practical whole-family support where needed to tackle the causes of absenteeism and unblock the barriers to attendance
  • Legal intervention: take forward attendance legal intervention (using the full range of parental responsibility measures) where voluntary support has not been successful or engaged with. Examples include
    • Education Supervision Orders
    • Issuing a fixed penalty notice
    • Prosecution in the Magistrates Court

Support for schools 

In addition to the statutory support we provide to schools, the Attendance Support Team enables schools to purchase a bespoke service tailored to their individual needs. The level and service offer is negotiated between the school/setting and the Attendance Support Team and can include:

  • Advising on current attendance policies and procedures for ensuring regular and punctual attendance (attendance audits)
  • Support for all staff in promoting and supporting good attendance to ensure a holistic approach within the school
  • Presentations on the importance of good attendance and potential impact of poor attendance and punctuality e.g., New Intake parent talks, parent evenings
  • Support on how to implement good practice and prepare effectively for Ofsted inspections
  • Small group tutorials for school staff offering advice and support on attendance including legislation, staged intervention processes and procedures
  • Working with pupils and families and providing a seamless service from the point of referral to improvement or statutory legal intervention

For further information or enquiries, please call 0208 323 0461 or email

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