Mental Health Issues Affecting School Attendance – What schools can do to support and hold to account



1 date


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Course introduction

The government document ‘Summary of responsibilities where a mental health issue is affecting attendance’ published February 2023 states that ‘Schools should set and maintain high expectations for the attendance, engagement and punctuality of pupils who are anxious about attending school. It is important to recognise that, in many instances, attendance at school may serve to help with the underlying issue as much as being away from school might exacerbate it, and a prolonged period of absence may heighten their anxiety about attending in future.

This workshop will help school leaders, pastoral leaders, and those with responsibility for attendance address a number of key questions:

  • What should school staff be doing to support pupil mental health?
  • When is it appropriate for a pupil to be absent from school because of a mental health issue?
  • How to facilitate support for children where mental health issues affect attendance.
  • How to handle situations where parents and carers do not engage with or agree with support offered.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Know government expectations around the support and challenge on mental health issues affecting attendance.
  • Understand responsibilities, accountabilities and inspection expectations around mental health issues affecting attendance.
  • Be able to apply learning from the workshop to produce an affective and impactful mental health attendance strategy for their own school.

Trainers for this course

Steve BurnageSteve Burnage
Steve Burnage

Having spent over 25 years teaching and leading a variety of schools across the UK, Steve is a sought after as an expert practitioner, consultant, and trainer. He specialises in developin...g effective school leadership at all levels; and supporting outstanding and impactful classroom practice, pedagogy, learning and teaching.

Steve is lead quality assurance inspector for The British Council in Egypt, where he also leads successful training programmes for school leaders and teachers. These programmes have now been taken up by The British Council in Nepal and Saudi Arabia where programmes having been piloted with teachers and school leaders and are now due for implementation academic year 2021-2022.

Steve has led teaching and learning development projects in China, Kazakhstan, and Kurdish Iraq.

In China, he worked in partnership with the Ministry of Education to train Chinese teachers in modern classroom pedagogy and practice as part of the Chinese Government’s 2020 Education reforms.

In Kazakhstan, Steve worked with partners from Cambridge University Press to train local teachers to plan, write and implement a series of primary textbooks as a tool for remote education reform.

In Kurdish Iraq, Steve worked in partnership with a large chain of international schools to train teachers and school leaders in modern pedagogy and leadership, quality assurance and inspection. This was part of a larger project to lead education reform across Kurdish Iraq which has had to be put on hold due to the pandemic.

Currently, Steve is co-ordinating leadership development and curriculum development projects for government schools in India, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia. This includes working with a Mumbai based University to plan, write and lead a post graduate diploma in Global Education, alongside leading leadership, and teacher training for many schools across India.

Alongside Steve’s training and education reform projects, he receives frequent invitations to speak at international education conferences, features in a wide range of training videos and online seminars, hosts regular interactive webinar sessions on key aspects of effective classroom practice and school leadership; and coaches and mentors headteachers worldwide.

Steve is a lead trainer for The British Council, and lead trainer and examiner for Cambridge Assessment International Examinations and the International Baccalaureate Steve writes, delivers and hosts training and consultancy in schools, colleges, academies and conference venues throughout the UK, Europe, The Indian Subcontinent, Central and southern Asia and the Middle East as well as supporting organisations in planning, producing and delivering on-line and blended learning education courses.

Steve writes a regular column for several UK education publications and is currently writing a teacher development training manual for an international publisher. In addition to his work in education reform and development, Steve is a professional musician, choral conductor and arranger who leads choral workshops for amateur and professional singers.

See what others have to say about us

Don’t just take our word for it, visit our social media pages for live feedback.

I found that this course gave me a lot of relevant advice about how it improve attendance and promote good relationships between the school and parents.

@nsmtc thank you so much for today's informative course. Feeling ready to get back into school tomorrow and get my attendance high priority and for everyone to understand attendance is everyone's business.

Really good mix of new ideas and making me feel better about what I am already doing. I've been an AO for about four years and this is my first training so thank you, really enjoying it.


About the venue

Stay at home, get comfortable and enjoy our live interactive course via Zoom! You’ll receive the link a few days before the course date so you can get prepared (and excited) ahead of time.

Handy course logistics

  • The course will run via Zoom from 1.00pm – 4.00pm, however, the trainer will be available 15 minutes before and after the course times to answer any questions.
  • You’ll receive an afternoon breaks to re-energise.
  • This course is designed to be interactive and inclusive. We welcome questions and discussions throughout and we want you to be comfortable and stress-free no matter where you join us from!
  • Your course pack includes handouts, an M&S voucher for food, a snack, a pen and a notepad – we’ll send this to you before the day. Please note this is only for UK-based participants, international attendees will receive the pack via email.
  • Additional links and information will be emailed to you before and during the course.
  • This course is also available as an in-house / INSET training session at your school. Contact us for details.

Mental Health Issues Affecting School Attendance – What schools can do to support and hold to account

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Friday 26 January 2024


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