The missing link

Think tank: Centre for Social Justice

Author(s): Beth Prescott; Joe Wheeler; Jessica Prestidge

January 7, 2024

This report from UK think tank the Centre for Social Justice looks at restoring the bond between schools and families.

The Centre for Social Justice first revealed the crisis in school absence in 2021 and has since led the charge in understanding and offering solutions to getting children back to school.

New polling for the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) by YouGov has found that nearly three in ten parents (28 per cent) surveyed agree that the pandemic has shown it is not essential for children to attend school every day. Less than 3 in 4 (70 per cent) of parents are confident their child’s needs are being met at school, with confidence dropping to 61 per cent among those with a child in secondary school.

The results of the YouGov poll appear in our new report The Missing Link: Restoring the bond between schools and families. It explores the relationship between parents and schools, calling on Government to prioritise parental engagement as part of a national effort to curb crisis levels of absence. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, disadvantaged children have found themselves at the sharp end of the attendance crisis, with children in receipt of Free School Meals three times more likely to be severely absent than their more affluent classmates.

Given the strong link between attendance and attainment, the absence crisis is compounding disadvantage. It is incumbent upon schools, government and parents to act.