Leading strategic attendance in your school
Improving attendance is about doing things differently and getting your team on board.
Attendance strategies should be ambitious. They should seek to bring about lasting transformative changes. It should be guided by a long-term vision, shared values and the insights gained from your evidence. It will require a multi-dimensional approach that gets the best out of data, teaching, technology and the way you work. This level of change does not happen by chance; it requires planning and the buy-in of the executive team.
As a school leader, you should ensure you have:
- Endorsement and commitment: those at a senior executive level within the school will support you in achieving the desired results.
- Acceptance: seeking acceptance from those involved and affected, directly or indirectly.
- Involvement: involving the right people in the design and implementation of changes, to make sure the right changes are made.
- Impact: assessing and addressing how the changes will affect people.
- Communication: letting everyone affected by the changes know.
- Readiness: getting people ready to adapt to the changes by ensuring they have the right information, training and help.
A strategic approach must be evidence-based
It should bring together a concise collection of high-level evidence that can be easily communicated, to demonstrate the reasons for change and the risks of not changing.
This evidence should be used to appeal to different perspectives and drivers for change. Give thought how you could gather evidence to understand how the current school context is impacting students, teachers and the community.
Make sure your research into the goal of improving attendance does not pre-empt the solution. For example, if your goal refers to new school procedures, it suggests that developing a new guideline is the solution to the problem.
Pre-empting the solution may lead you away from other causes and a more successful or accurate solution.