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A summary of the group's purpose and how it will work.


Our national mission is to achieve high standards and aspirations for all, supporting every learner to reach their full potential.

Good attendance and engagement are pre-requisites for achieving this. Regular school attendance has a positive effect on children and young people and a strong impact on learner outcomes, standards and progression.

Attendance cannot be considered in isolation. The many interrelated and overlapping causes of absence and the varied nature of the learner experience in school and at home mean that whole school strategies and strong multi-agency working arrangements are needed, designed to support all learners.

Attendance problems are often a symptom of some underlying cause, other than physical health. These other reasons often broadly relate to disengagement from learning, wellbeing or mental health issues and for some learners low attendance can be as a result of a number of interlinked, sometimes complex factors. 

A multi-agency approach, involving families and communities where professionals and services communicate effectively with each other to coordinate the support they offer would target this.


The support of specialist agencies and wider services are required to support children, young people and their families to achieve good levels of attendance. Better joined up working and signposting to the appropriate agencies would ensure that those best placed to offer support were doing so. This can increase the impact that schools and Local Authorities can have when they take focused actions to improve attendance.

The Taskforce will provide strategic direction, set priorities and identify further tangible actions to drive improvements in attendance and re-engage our learners. In doing this we want to draw on and build on the examples already being seen in schools across Wales, sharing best practice, as well as national and international evidence about what works.

Role of the Board

The role of the Board is to:

  • define and steer activities and interventions at local level to support improvements in attendance
  • use their expertise and experience to identify the issues which impede children’s regular attendance at school and the solutions which remove barriers
  • identify innovative and best practice in terms of improving attendance and promote its adoption across Wales
  • engage with communities about the issues that affect it (in the context of attendance) and use this intelligence to inform activity /set priorities
  • serve as a channel of professional advice within the areas of expertise represented on the group
  • offer insights and identify new opportunities and trends
  • provide an insight into the operational and strategic challenges to delivering improvements in attendance and work in partnership at both national and local level to overcome these
  • identify and develop new ideas and solutions in response to the different issues faced by learners and how this impacts on attendance
  • advise the Minister and Welsh Government officials on challenges and solutions to addressing attendance
  • provide advice on how funding should be allocated in future years to support continued improvements in attendance
  • advise on means of measuring improvement against the national priorities and alignment to agreed actions to improve attendance
  • promote and support the identification of good practice from within and outside of Wales and consider how good practice could be widely implemented to deliver improved attendance in Wales


Members of the Board will sit as representing their sector and will support a two-way reporting process (feeding issues from their relevant areas for consideration by the Board and reporting Board decisions and direction back to their relevant areas).

Other officials and stakeholders will be asked to attend the Project Board meetings to provide advice as and when appropriate. For example, additional policy colleagues in relation to the cross-government nature of the work.

Governance arrangements

The Board is directly accountable to the Minister for Education and Welsh Language.

The Board may agree to establish sub-groups to consider and report to it in relation to specific issues and activity.

The Board will consider and take account of the latest analytical and wider evidence of the measures needed to prevent absence and support improvements, early identification and intervention at both a local and national level. In doing so, it will be supported by Knowledge and Analytical Services and academia to monitor and analyse the latest evidence to support the work programme.

Project Board meetings will occur bi-monthly subject to Ministers’ diary commitments. If a member is unable to attend, they may nominate a colleague to attend on their behalf. The agenda and supporting papers will be circulated 5 days prior to Board meetings.

Papers will be circulated within the Board on a confidential basis and must not be shared more widely, for instance with other member bodies of an umbrella organisation. From time to time members may be privy to confidential information, such as research pre-release reports to ensure informed and frank discussions and support the decision-making process, which will also be covered by a confidentiality clause.

Secretariat support is to be provided by Welsh Government officials.


These 'Terms of reference' will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they remain fit for purpose and that appropriate membership is maintained.