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BWT hosts inaugural ‘Attendance Conference’ to support professionals in the community

“Attendance is everyone's responsibility”

Last week, Brooke Weston Trust hosted the first-ever Attendance Conference at the Northants Teaching School Hub in its new ‘Centre for Professional Development’. The event was led by Callum Reilly, Primary Attendance Lead for the Trust.

Over 50 delegates from schools across Northamptonshire, attended the networking event, which provided an opportunity for Primary, Secondary and SEN School Attendance Leads, along with local authority professionals to collaborate, share good practice and hear key messages and themes from leading keynote speakers.

The day began with Callum leading a session encouraging delegates to share the current landscape for school attendance and the essential components needed to effectively understand and support children and their families. Delegates engaged in a networking opportunity as part of the session, to share current strategies in place within schools and how practice could be further enhanced and developed.

Brian McLaughlin from Northants Education Inclusion Team then led a session around the role of the local authority in supporting schools to manage and improve attendance, focusing on key legislation and partnership working.

Delegates also heard from Jayne Cooper, an experienced Senior Leader within a secondary school in Birmingham. Jane’s session focused on promoting a culture and ethos of high attendance, inferring that attendance is everyone’s business and she provided some extremely thought-provoking strategies.

The BWT Catering Team provided a delicious lunch for delegates to share whilst they enjoyed the opportunity to network and discuss the content of the morning sessions.

The afternoon saw two sessions, with the first session delivered by the OPFCC Early Intervention Team, exploring barriers to attendance and supportive strategies. The team included case studies of support that has been provided for families and showed how they can work with schools and families to provide targeted support.

The day was concluded by an extremely compelling presentation delivered by Christine Franklin, Director of Safeguarding and Inclusion for the Academy Transformation Trust. This session explored recognising barriers to attendance and considered implications for practice, particularly in relation to unmet/unidentified needs for children and their families.

Delighted with how the day went, Callum said: “Today has been a fantastic opportunity to bring together local Attendance Leads from our region. The response from delegates has been very positive.

“We recognise that opportunities are generally scarce for colleagues to collaborate on the topic of attendance and this was therefore the aim of today’s conference. We hope that this can be the start of a valuable network that fosters mutual support and enhanced practices.”

Jane MacDonald, Director of BWT Primary Training Hub echoed Callum’s sentiments: “It was really great to gather attendance leads from schools both within and outside of our Trust. We all benefited from sharing our experiences and listening to valuable expertise on this increasingly important topic.”

Delegates shared their thoughts and ideas throughout the event. One delegate commented: “Attendance is everyone's responsibility, and we need to collaborate and plan strategically to promote a culture of high attendance.”

Another noted that “building relationships with families is key to improving attendance.”

Undoubtedly, this successful event has reinvigorated the conversation and inspired professionals to keep attendance firmly at the top of their agenda.

If you are interested in booking into the Centre for Professional Development, please visit:


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