Louise Casey, the head of the government’s new £448m troubled families programme, has said she is not worried about the prospect that academy schools may hamper the scheme’s progress by refusing to share data on pupils’ attendance.
Under the troubled families programme, launched by prime minister David Cameron in December, councils will appoint a “troubleshooter” to support families that face multiple problems. Low school attendance is one of the criteria for identifying the families that a council should work with, and improving attendance is one measure of the scheme’s success.
However, academy schools are not required to share attendance data with councils, and only about half currently do so.
Speaking at a conference this week, Ms Casey said: “Two local areas are saying anecdotally that they are worried about whether their academies will share data on school attendance, so at the moment I don’t see it as a huge problem. Let’s not create problems before they even exist.”
Ms Casey also said, however, that if academies did refuse to share data, she would be keen to discuss the issue with them. “I’d love to have the conversation with headteachers if they were really resistant,” she said. “I defy people to take us on.”