Capita has launched Attendance Collection Tool (ACT), a cloud-based software solution, to help local education authorities (LEA) in the UK monitor school attendance of vulnerable children and provide appropriate support where required.
Tracking school attendance is an ongoing challenge for LEAs as schools use a variety of systems and methods for collecting this information, such as spreadsheets. An additional challenge is that children can attend schools both within and outside of their LEA that adds a layer of complexity in tracking them.
ACT helps LEAs collect the data they need from schools to ensure that the most vulnerable children, including looked after children who are under the care of local authorities as well as those with a special educational need or disability – have access to appropriate and relevant education provision.
Schools can use ACT to record whether each child was present that day. If a child has been marked as absent it will be immediately flagged to the child’s designated case worker through the system. This enables the case worker to follow up to investigate and determine if additional support is needed.
Using ACT, LEAs will be able to monitor the attendance of their ‘out of county’ children, who attend schools in other counties to get support not available within their own authority, for example, to provide for a special educational need.
LEAs will also be able to use ACT to identify children who have received ‘fixed-term exclusions’, for example, for bad behaviour or aggression. Following these alerts, the council can work with the school and social worker to support these children and try and prevent further exclusions.
Additionally, ACT alerts notify LEAs if there has been a ‘placement breakdown’, for example if a child needs to be moved from a foster carer, enabling the council to act quickly and offer advice on next steps.
Early adopters of ACT include Staffordshire County Council supporting 2,200 vulnerable students from 229 schools, Devon County Council supporting 1,690 vulnerable students from 134 schools and Wirral council supporting 97 vulnerable students from 39 schools.