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A multi-disciplinary approach to the management of non-school attendance.

By Ileta Hermina Sherriff


The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of school-based projects on the behaviour of secondary school persistent absentees. The research was divided between two school-based projects: (a) Project X, based at School X, consists of seven Subject pupils who are non-school attenders; (b) Project Y, based at School Y, consists of 16 Subject adolescents who are non-school attenders, they were matched with two control groups who attend the mainstream curriculum - 16 Control A adolescents who are non-school attenders and 16 Control B adolescents who are good school attenders. The behaviour of the School X Subject pupils were evaluated via a within-subject design in order to compare their progress during pre-intervention (i. e. mainstream curriculum), intervention (i. e. Project X programme) and follow-up (i. e. return to mainstream curriculum) phases. In the case of School Y, the progress of the three groups were evaluated via both within-subject and between-subject designs during three phases: a one-year pre-intervention period (i. e. when all three groups attended mainstream lessons); first year of intervention (i. e. Project Y programme for the Subject adolescents) and the second year of intervention (i. e. Project Y programme for the Subject adolescents). The analyses of the main results indicate that:\ud 1. Persistent absenteeism is significantly associated with social deprivation (e. g. poor housing) and poor scholastic progress. The findings also show that both parents and teachers believe that there should be greater contact between the home and school.\ud 2. The two school-based projects were successful in significantly increasing school attendance among persistent absentees, although they were unable to generalise this over time (e. g. during the follow-up phase at School X). Nevertheless, some of their curricular approaches which appear to contribute to combating disaffection include an emphasis on behaviour therapy, academic-orientated lessons, individual attention, pupil being the focus of adult attention, close proximity between teacher and pupil during interaction, teacher praise, indirect, teaching where pupils are allowed greater freedom of expression, direct, teaching where pupils receive regular lectures and directions in relation to task-work, small classes, extra adult helpers, high levels of teacher-pupil interaction, and regular contact with local community. Therefore, despite the limitations, the importance of this thesis lies in the fact that not only does it show data on the actual classroom behaviour of persistent absentees and their teachers, but it also presents data on the type of classroom atmosphere which appear to be related to positive pupil outcomes among disaffected school children. Thus, the present study concludes that persistent absenteeism is effectively interpreted within a multi-disciplinary framework which reflects both home and school factors

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 1990
OAI identifier:

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  1. At least two teachers refused to complete a questionnaire Chapter 9c Methodolog II: The Schools, Intervention Programmes and counselling, self-awareness work and behaviourktherapy.,
  2. Control A adolescents are more likely to come from large single-parent families than the Control B adolescents.
  3. Some teachers misplaced their questionnaires which the author promptly replaced.
  4. The author had to make four follow-ups in which she requested the respondents to return their questionnaires completed.
  5. The Subject and Control A adolescents are more likely to suffer poor home conditions and are also more likely to have a family history of truancy than the Control B adolescents.
  6. The Subject and Control B Groups' parents will show greater satisfaction with, their childrents school work than the Control A Groups' parents will feel about their children's school work. Questionnaire PP2(b) also test other hypotheses
  7. The Subject pupils will tend to come, from single-parent families.
  8. The Subject pupils will tend to have special problems (e. g. delinquency) and will also tend to be involved will 'outside' professions (e. g. educational psychologist or social worker). (e. g. alcoholism) than the Control B adolescents.
  9. To create a 'positive, image of the, project by involving parents and mainstream teachers.

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