English councils cite anxiety and lack of support as key sources for the rise in school absences since Covid lockdowns began. The trend has been particularly noticeable among Year 11 students preparing for their GCSEs, many of whom feel increasingly overwhelmed and unsupported by the current situation. Schools have reported more instances of truancy and long-term absences linked to mental health issues caused by the pandemic.
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In response, local councils seek to address the issue through targeted initiatives designed to reduce anxiety levels and provide additional pastoral care. These include providing other psychological support services, increasing access to well-being resources, or offering one–on–one mentoring with teachers or counsellors. Councils are also encouraging schools to keep parents and carers better informed about the curriculum and their children’s progress, which can reduce some of the stress associated with schooling.
The pandemic has created a unique set of circumstances for schoolchildren, teachers, and parents alike—but it is clear that local councils are doing everything they can to address the issue of rising absences and ensure our young people have all the support they need to succeed.
In addition to the measures already mentioned, councils are improving communication between schools and parents. This includes ensuring that home-learning materials are easily accessible, setting up online meetings with teachers or counsellors, providing additional advice and guidance on preparing for exams, and offering support over the phone. Taken together, these measures should help reduce stress levels among students and create a more supportive learning environment for them.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that rising school absences due to anxiety are a symptom of the pandemic—and we all must work together to ensure our young people receive the best possible outcomes in such challenging times. With local councils leading by example in their efforts and initiatives, hopefully, this disruption won’t be too damaging to our children’s educational prospects.
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