Reid K (2014) Managing School Attendance Oxon: Routledge

220 Pages

ISBN: 978 0 415 85447 4

Cost: Unspecified

This book is focussed on school attendance, and as the author Reid states, it takes stock of where we are in the search towards finding effective solutions for improving school attendance and reducing truancy and non- attendance. It also suggests some ways of improving attendance and combatting truancy. The focus is very much about pupils – helping them to succeed, raise self-esteem and value achievement, parents – taking responsibility and ownership, and professionals – securing appropriate training, changing  attitudes and complementing strategies.

The book reviews policy in both England and Wales and for me is a concise and informative handbook for practitioners (school professionals and leaders, teachers, school officers for education, welfare and attendance officers) with an overall aim of raising standards.

The text is split into three distinct sections:

  • Causes of school absenteeism and truancy
  • Management of school absenteeism and truancy
  • Case studies of successful interventions

The book gives a number of perspectives, (mainly Reid, but also Government, DFES and other key writers) about research and activity in this field including insights from the author at local and national level, case studies, latest ideas and evidence on the strategies to manage attendance. There are numerous tables/data, particularly in section one, which help to set the scene and put the problem in perspective.

The last section which presents case studies around the problem is very useful – will help you confirm what you are doing is similar to everyone else but may also give you some new ideas to try out within your work place. The family case studies made an interesting read.

For professional new to the ‘attendance’ role, the book could change both practice and policy. For established professional within the role then the book will give new perspectives on some areas of the whole issue and will also give confirmation/endorsement of current practice. As an experienced practitioner the book, for me, was an interesting read and gave me both new perspectives and confirmation of practice – page 63/64 was particularly interesting (alternative and radical approaches to combatting attendance).

This is a very useful ‘handbook’ with everything around attendance in one place , definitely a resource to ‘dip into’ as suggested by the author. There are a good range of strategies included – especially useful as the author points out that children, their truancy and absenteeism is unique to each of them and that they cannot be all be treated the same.

The book will make you think, reflect and in some cased challenge your practice, with impact on practice. It would be useful if some of the resources were accessible in a photo copiable form.

A very useful read to adopt as a ‘handbook’ for practice, which places the pupil at the centre of everything, which I like. At no point does the book offer solutions but is thought provoking never the less!

Debbie Duncalf

MA AEP Programme Leader