Friday Update – 24 October 2014

This week we highlight new funding for 3 and 4 year olds from low income families and look at whether the rules on unauthorised absence have been making a difference.

NEW FUNDING TO HELP DISADVANTAGED 3 AND 4 YEARS OLDS
The government set out today information on how schools, nurseries and childminders will be given up to £300 for every 3 and 4 year old from a low-income family to help prevent them falling behind before they have even started school. The early years pupil premium, totalling £50 million, is designed to narrow the attainment gap between young children from low-income families and their peers, setting them on a path to a more successful future.

In a response to an Early Years Pupil Premium and Funding for 2 year olds consultation also published today, the Government has announced that 7 areas will share a £1 million pot to trial the new support ahead of its introduction nationwide next April.

ARE THE NEW RULES ON UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The DfE has published data on authorised and unauthorised school absences across primary and secondary schools. The Government reports that the overall rate of absence has dropped more than a quarter since 2009/10 from 6 to 4.4%.

School Reform Minister Nick Gibb said: “Missing lessons can be hugely damaging to a pupil’s education, but today’s figures show more pupils than ever before are getting the best preparation for life in modern Britain.”

The DfE said the change in the law last September to Headteachers only granting leave from school in “exceptional circumstances” meant that “thousands” fewer pupils went on term-time holidays.

In the North East the overall absence rate is 4.6%, with seven out of 12 areas being above this. This makes us nationally the region with the highest overall absence rate. The national average for unauthorised absences is 0.9%, our regional average is 1% with seven out of 12 areas being above the national rate.